Hay de dos sopas

The expression Hay de dos sopas is used to clarify that there are only two possible courses of action in the particular situation at hand. The dos sopas part is usually followed by an o … o … construction. Let’s look at an example:

  • AquĆ­ hay de dos sopas. O me regresas mi dinero de una vez o voy con Profeco. The way I see it, you have two choices: you can either give me back my money right now or I’ll report you to Consumer Affairs.

As an English speaker, you may be tempted to leave out the first o in the o … o … construction. Don’t. Also, be sure to include the de after hay to emphasize the idea of availability.

Hay de dos sopas can be used either aggressively or humorously, depending on the context. It would be unusual in a low-stakes situation, for example, if a waiter were actually about to tell you which soups are available at the moment. The options offered are usually unattractive and are imposed either by the speaker or by the situation itself.

I’ve also heard Tienes de dos sopas and Te quedan de dos sopas. It’s the same idea.

To emphasize that there really only is one realistic choice, you can repeat the same element in both parts of the o … o … construction: O te quitas o te quitas. Get lost, get out of here (or I’ll harm you).

When I first heard this expression I misanalyzed it as *dos opas, with *opas being short for options, since the last sound of dos elides with the first sound of sopas. The funny thing is that it didn’t matter. The important part is knowing what the expression means when you hear it and how to use it appropriately, if you choose to do so at all.