My Spanish teacher used to say “claro” in conversation all the time, but I was never quite sure what she meant by it. In context, it seemed she used it to mean “Of course,” but it might have just been a filler word like “Well.” Are there regional differences in the use of the word “claro”? What does it mean to you?
It means more or less “Sure,” “Right.” It’s often used the same way those words are used in English, as positive conversational filler, to express general agreement with what someone is saying (like nodding your head). I’m not aware of regional differences.
It can also be used more emphatically to express strong argeement ("Of course!). Often the phrase then would be ¡Claro que si!
I am also not aware of regional or national differences in Spanish-speaking countries. Most of the Spanish-speaking TV stations from across the world use “Claro” in the same way we in Mexico do. As Colibri said, it’s used in the same way we in the US say “Sure!” or “Of couse.”
The stereotypical Spanish “filler” word is “pues.”
Often you’ll hear Hispanohablantes saying “claro que si,” and I suspect “claro” is the shortened version of just that.
Yeah, my Spanish-speaking buddy used “pues” as a filler, meaning “well…” It also doubles as “then”, but not in that context, just as no one is confused and thinks that Reagan was talking about holes to get water from all the time.
Literallly, claro means clear. I assume it’s clear how that produces a usage equivalent to “sure.”