When learning a language it is often useful to have a little stock of common phrases. Instantly understood and helpful in many circumstances, memorising a few of these short phrases builds confidence in your ability to communicate naturally in various situations.They are also often quite amusing and although they can not all be directly translated they all have their equivalent sayings in English.

A largo plazo/a corto plaza

In the long term and in the short term – used just as they would be in English.

Quien mal anda, mal acaba

He who lives in disorder comes to a bad end. This could be comnpared to live by the sword, die by the sword.

Poner el grito en el cielo

Literally this means shouting loud enough to reach the sky but in English one would only hit the roof.

Morir con las botas puestas

While the saying literally means to die with one’s boots on, it can be compared to the English phrase to die in the saddle. In other words, to die while working hard.

Bueno es hablar, pero mejor es callar

Speech is good, but silence is better. Similar to ‘silence is golden’ in English where the advice means to keep your own council. thought.

No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano

Just like the fable of the tortoise and the hare, this saying has the meaning of slow and steady wins the race.

año nuevo, vida nueva

New year, new life — as you would expect this saying is used to welcome in the New Year.

A mucha hambre, no hay pan duro

This sentiment is similar to beggars can’t be choosers or hunger makes a good kitchen the more direct translation is for the very hungry no bread is too hard.

Algo es algo; menos es nada.

Something is something, less is nothing or as we might say in English half of something is better than nothing at all.

Como (que) dos y dos son cuatroThis literally translates to as two and two make four though we might be more likely to say as sure as the day is long or as sure as gun is iron or any of the similar phrases that there are for this sentiment in English.

I hope this short sampling of popular Spanish phrases encourages you to stick with whichever Spanish language course you have chosen to follow.


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