“O sea” is an expression that crops up in spoken Spanish with a surprisingly high frequency.
Literally meaning “Or would be…”, it could be translated to mean any number of things including: “I mean…”, “In other words…”, “That is to say…” or “It’s like…”.
Therefore, it functions as an expression when explaining, introducing or rephrasing an idea.
In addition to this, the expression “o sea” also acts as a filler
phrase in Spanish.
To explain this better: have you ever noticed how some people in English appear to use the word “like” excessively? This is quite a common trait with younger people, although for many, it continues well into adulthood. I have to admit peppering my own speech with the odd “like” from time to time. However, for some it can manifest itself almost as an uncontrollable tick.
We use filler
words like “like” in English all the time in conversation and “o sea” can be consider a Spanish version of this very concept.
Whilst expressions like “o sea” may only come up in written Spanish from time to time. It is something you are likely to encounter regularly in the day to day spoken.