Using ir + y / coger + y to introduce something unexpected and sudden

Note that this is a Europe focused lesson. Your active focus is Latin America.

In colloquial Spanish, to introduce somethingthat the speaker finds unexpected or something that occurs very suddenly, we can use these structures:

ir + y coger + y

This usually happens in a context with El Presente histórico/narrativo, i.e., using El Presente to tell anecdotes that refer to the past, but it can be used in other tenses too.

In this usage, the verbs ir and coger are interchangeable. They must be conjugated.

For example:

Y el idiota de Pedro va y le dice a Joaquín que yo estoy enamorada de él.And Pedro, the idiot, goes and tells Joaquín that I am in love with him.

Y el mecánico coge y me dice que son 200 euros, no 150.And the mechanic goes and tells me that it's 200 euros, not 150.

Después de echarle la bronca cogí y me fui.After giving him what for I upped and left [US: up and left].

Mi jefa ha cogido y me ha dicho que tengo que ser más agradable con los clientes.My boss went and told me that I had to be more friendly with the clients.

Verás, el chico se va a enfadar y va a coger y le va a dar un puñetazo.You'll see, the guy is going to get cross and he's going to go and give him a punch.

Ella fue y se puso a bailar encima de la mesa.She went and started dancing on the table.

Y Marisa, muy emocionada, va y empieza a dar saltos.And Marisa, very excited, goes and starts jumping around.

Notice how the verb that follows is conjugated in the same tense as ir/coger.

The "y" isn't always placed immediately after ir/coger; sometimes other elements of the sentence can be placed between them, for example:

Después de haber preparado todo para la boda, coge Luis y rompe con ella.After having prepared everything for the wedding, Luis goes and breaks up with her.

...y el ladrón, va con mucho disimulo y mete la mano en su bolso....and the thief, goes very carefully and puts his hand in her handbag [US: purse].

Remember that when used this way, these verbs, ir and coger, don't have their literal meaning; i.e., nobody literally "goes" anywhere or "takes" anything.

Want to make sure your Spanish sounds confident? We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Ella fue y se puso a bailar encima de la mesa.She went and started dancing on the table.
Después de haber preparado todo para la boda, coge Luis y rompe con ella.After having prepared everything for the wedding, Luis goes and breaks up with her.
Y el mecánico coge y me dice que son 200 euros, no 150.And the mechanic goes and tells me that it's 200 euros, not 150.
Y Marisa, muy emocionada, va y empieza a dar saltos.And Marisa, very excited, goes and starts jumping around.
Después de echarle la bronca cogí y me fui.After giving him what for I upped and left [US: up and left].
Mi jefa ha cogido y me ha dicho que tengo que ser más agradable con los clientes.My boss went and told me that I had to be more friendly with the clients.
...y el ladrón, va con mucho disimulo y mete la mano en su bolso....and the thief, goes very carefully and puts his hand in her handbag [US: purse].
Y el idiota de Pedro va y le dice a Joaquín que yo estoy enamorada de él.And Pedro, the idiot, goes and tells Joaquín that I am in love with him.
Verás, el chico se va a enfadar y va a coger y le va a dar un puñetazo.You'll see, the guy is going to get cross and he's going to go and give him a punch.
I'll be right with you...