• Alejandra Dubeibe y Belén Vázquez

8 Catchy Phrases to Show Off Your Spanish


Have you ever felt your communication in Spanish sounds a bit flat? Would you like to spice it up a little? Say for example you are incredibly hungry. You can say “tengo mucha hambre” of course. But maybe you wish you could say in a different way, to really emphasize how hungry you are and make your Spanish friends laugh. Why not using a Spanish idiom? Perhaps…

(Tengo tanta hambre que) me comería un elefante: I’m so hungry I could eat an elephant. Exaggeration is the Spanish way to go and make life entertaining. This phrase will make your point across more than eloquently. Plus, we guarantee no elephants were harmed in the making of this sentence.

Idioms are one of the more fun aspects about learning a new language. If you are living in a Spanish-speaking country chances are you will hear them around very often. Would you like to learn a few more? Then, keep reading. Here it’s our 8 Spanish Idioms that will make you sound native:

  1. Más vale tarde que nunca: “Better late than never”. You may not have a good excuse to be late, but at least you managed to arrive. Didn't you?

  2. Al que madruga, Dios lo ayuda: literally, “God helps the one who wakes up early”. In English we use a rather different expression “the early bird catches the worm”. The message remains the same, though. However, some might argue that…

  3. No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano: “the sun is not hurried by early risers”. This time the translation a tiny bit closer, don’t you think?

  4. Más vale pájaro en mano que ciento volando: “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. This one might come handy when you are advising someone else about handing a resignation letter too soon.

  5. A buen entendedor, pocas palabras bastan: “a word to the wise is enough”. There is always someone in your life who does not need long explanations to understand you. Am I wrong?

  6. Andar como Pedro por su casa: we could translate this one differently depending of the contest. It could mean someone acts “as if they owned the place”, for example if a friend of yours opens your fridge without your permission and eats all your food. But it also could mean they make themselves feel at home “like a fish in the water”.

  7. Estar en las nubes: to have your head in the clouds, or to be “away with the fairies”. If you have ever spoken with someone and they did not answer you back, sometimes they don’t mean to be rude - they are just in the clouds! Now you can bring them back to earth with this phrase.

  8. Dormirse en los laureles. We all have that friend who “sleeps on the laurels”, losing the notion of time, forgetting deadlines, appointments or birthdays, and so on. Sometimes you must point that out to them! It is time to practice! Could you fill this sentences with the right idiom? A: ¡Juan aprende todo muy rápido! No sé cómo lo hace... B: Bueno, ya sabes lo que dicen ____________________________ No he comido nada desde hace 8 horas, ¡______________________! No ____________________________ o perderás tu sitio en la conferencia de esta tarde. A: ¿Cómo conseguiste las entradas al concierto de Beyoncé? ¡Me dijeron que se agotaron a las 7 de la mañana! B: Me tuve que levantar a las 4:30 de la mañana pero bueno, ________________________________ Yo no me arriesgaría si fuera tú, _________________________________ Estoy cansada de María siempre ____________________________, ni siquiera pide permiso para abrir el refrigerador. Carlos _____________________, no sabe ni cuándo es el examen de matemáticas.

For more Spanish idioms, do not forget to check out our Facebook Page. Every Wednesday we share a new Spanish idiom to amuse our readers. Follow us in Facebook!

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