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Seguro / fijo

You might already be familiar with seguro, since it can be used at all levels of registry and has a longer history, but fijo has been on the rise as a colloquial synonym, so you should be aware of its existence as well. Here’s a rundown of some uses in everyday speech.

Seguro means “safe” or, in the context for today’s entry, “sure”:

Estoy seguro de que todo saldrá bien.
I’m sure everything will be alright.

Fijo, on the other hand, means “fixed” in the not-moving sense (like fijado):

El armario no se mueve, está fijo con unos tornillos.
The wardrobe cannot be moved, it’s fixed with some screws.

But it can also be used to refer to what you consider a likely thing, just like seguro, in some expressions.

The first of them that you should be familar with is seguro/fijo que + the fact you are confident on:

Mario no responde, fijo que se ha quedado dormido.
Mario is not picking up, he probably feel asleep.

Tengo hambre pero mejor vamos yendo, seguro que de camino encontramos un bar.
I’m hungry but we’d better get going, we are bound to find a bar on our way anyway.

It works also as a response:

– ¿Crees que podremos ir a la gala en vaqueros?
– Fijo que sí.
– Do you think we’ll be able to go to the ceremony in jeans?
– Yeah, most likely.

– Creo que Sara se tomó a mal lo que dije.
– Seguro que no.
– I think Sara took what I said in the wrong way.
– Nah, probably not.

Isolated, you can use them to ask if somebody is sure of what they’re saying:

– La tercera pregunta del examen era complicada, pero al final la resolví, era 42.
– ¿Fijo?
– The third question on the exam was hard, but eventually I solved it, it was 42.
– Hm, are you sure?

Conversely, you can use them to assert confidence in a reply:

– ¿Entonces vienes a la fiesta, no?
– Seguro, allí estaré.
– So you’re coming to the party, right?
– Sure, I’ll be there.

Here’s an example where you can find fijo in both the question and the answer (you can swap in seguro and it works exactly the same):

– ¿Fijo que no quieres más ensalada?
– Fijo, tranquila.
– Sure you don’t want any more salad?
– Sure, don’t worry.

If the surety hasn’t quite reached that level yet, you can also use them in the negative:

No es fijo, pero creo que el martes no voy a venir.
It’s not settled yet, but I think on Tuesday I won’t be coming.

Este verano quizá compre un coche nuevo, pero no es seguro [que lo haga].
This summer I might buy a new car, but it’s not a sure thing [I will].

Another similar but slightly different use is as a reply to agree and reafirm a hypothesis somebody suggested:

– Podemos ir a la otra playa, es menos conocida y seguro que hay menos gente.
– Fijo.
– We could go to the other beach, it’s less known and there’s probably less people there.
– Yeah.

– Decidí mudarme a Bilbao porque creo que allí será más fácil encontrar trabajo.
– Seguro.
– I decided to move to Bilbao because I think it will be easier to find a job there.
– Probably, yeah.

And lastly, as an extension of the above, fijo (but not seguro) can be used for those situations when somebody reminds you of a fact you had forgotten:

– No te olvides que mañana tenemos reunión a las 8.
– ¡Fijo!
– Don’t forget we have a meeting tomorrow at 8.
– Oh, you’re right!

– Además, no podía pasarle la bola porque estaba en fuera de juego.
– Ah, fijo.
– Plus, s/he couldn’t have passed her/him the ball because s/he was offside.
 – Oh, right.

Wow! This was a lot to process, but now you’re familiar with their existence, which is what matters. Once you start hearing them in the wild, you’ll get the hang of them quickly.

Originally published in Talk like a Spaniard.