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Archive for the ‘Spanish Idioms’ Category

by Jake Beus

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November 8th, 2011

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Spanish slang should not be a focus of your Spanish study, but it can helpful and fun to learn. It is a part of conversational Spanish that can’t be ignored. It’s important to learn the basics of conversational Spanish and learn bits of Spanish slang here and there in the process. For today, here is a list of Spanish slang expressions using the word “cada”. Remember that some of these expressions may not be too common in certain countries and regions, but they are more popular in others. Be sure to ask the natives if what you said “tiene sentido”, or makes sense.

a cada rato | all the time, frequently
Me pides la hora a cada rato. (You keep asking me what time it is all the time.)
Mis hijos se enferman y estornudan a cada rato. (My kids get sick and sneeze all the time.)

cada muerte de un obispo | once in a blue moon
Tomo cerveza cada muerte de un obispo. (I drink beer once in a blue moon.)
Trabajo más de cuarenta horas cada muerte de un obispo. (I work more than 40 hours once in a blue moon.

a cada instante | every other minute, constantly
A cada instante se le ocurre una buena idea. (He is constantly coming up with good ideas.)
A cada instante necesita ir al baño. (Every other minute she needs to go to the bathroom.)

cada oveja con su pareja | in twos, all paired up, everyone with a partner
Pasamos tres días en México y cada oveja fue con su pareja. (We spent 3 days in Mexico and all of us paired up.)
Salimos a la ciudad y cada oveja fue con su pareja. (We went out to the city and everyone paired up.)

cada loco con su tema | It’s his/her hobbyhorse, he’s/she’s running it into the ground, expression used when someone is too insistent about something
Dejémoslo que hable; cada loco con su tema. (Let’s let him talk; it’s his hobby horse.)
Mi jefe siempre habla de su idea; cada loco con su tema. (My boss always talks about his idea. He’s too insistent about it.)

cada quien se rasque con sus propias uñas | Everyone for himself or herself, alone without support
No les vamos a dar de comer, cada quien se rasque con sus propias uñas. (We aren’t going to feed you. Everyone for himself or herself.)
No hay transporte al congreso. Nos han dicho que cada quien se rasque con sus propias uñas. (There’s no transportation to the conference. They have told us everyone for himself or herself.)

The Spanish phrase I have heard the most out of all of these is “a cada rato”. Which one have you heard the most? Which is your favorite?

by Jake Beus

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October 26th, 2011

Brazo means arm, and broma means joke. Those are 2 very common words on their own. They are also commonly used in Spanish idioms and expressions. I’d like to teach you a few Spanish expressions involving bromas and brazos:

no dar su brazo a torcer | not to let someone twist one’s arm, not to give in, to hold one’s ground

A pesar de todas las amenazas, no dio su brazo a torcer.
(In spite of all the threats, he stood his ground.)
Esperamos que no dé su brazo a torcer.
(We hope that he doesn’t give in.)

luchar a brazo partido | to fight bitterly, to fight tooth and nail, to go at it hammer and tongs

Los soldados lucharon a brazo partido contra sus enemigos.
(The soldiers fought tooth and nail against their enemies.)
A pesar de sus lesiones, Ana luchó a brazo partido.
(In spite of her injuries, Ana gave all that she had.)

quedarse con los brazos cruzados | to sit back and do nothing, to sit on one’s hands

Se enojó y se quedó con los brazos cruzados.
(He got angry and did nothing.)
Debido a su flojera, Roberto suele quedarse con los brazos cruzados.
(Because of his laziness, Robert usually sits back and does nothing.)

no estar para bromas | to be in no mood for jokes/laughter

Debido a la muerte de su madre, Juán no esta para bromas.
(Because of the death of his mother, Juán isn’t in the mood for joking around.)
José no esta para bromas porque tiene mucha tarea.
(José isn’t in a joking mood because he has a lot of homework.)

estar de bromas | to be in a joking mood

Nelson siempre esta de bromas.
(Nelson is always in a joking mood.)
Suelo estar de bromas.
(I’m usually in a joking mood.)

entre bromas y veras | half-jokingly and half seriously

Lo dijeron entre bromas y veras.
(They said it kind of half-jokingly, half-seriously.)
Es difícil entender porque habla entre bromas y veras.
(He is difficult to understand because he speaks half-jokingly.)

by Jake Beus

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October 18th, 2011

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Spanish Idioms

Humans say the weirdest things sometimes. I’m not talking about babies and little kids, I’m talking about humans in general. Every language seems to have their own idioms, expressions, and sayings that don’t really make sense when they’re literally translated. It can be very difficult to learn and understand Spanish idioms or idioms from any foreign language. It is important that you learn to speak Spanish in sentences and get a good base before you start learning Spanish idioms. Also, if you are learning them, be sure to use them in context and ask people if it makes sense. Think about it, how often have you heard some English idiom and been confused? Be sure to ask a native speaker, if you can, if your new idiom makes sense and if it sounds right. Here is a video about an English idiom that got me laughing:

I hope you were able to laugh about that. The idiom doesn’t really make sense, but it’s used anyway. Here are a few Spanish idioms for you to learn:

meter la pata | to say or do the wrong thing at the wrong time, to put your foot in your mouth
Ejemplo: ¿Por qué dijiste eso, Juan? ¡Metiste la pata!
Example: Why did you say that, John? You put your foot in mouth!

aburrirse como una ostra | to be bored as an oyster, to be or get very bored
Ejemplo: Esta fiesta fue un desastre. Nos aburrimos como una ostra.
Example: That party was a disaster. We were bored stiff.

aflojar el billete | to loosen the bill, to loosen up and spend money
Ejemplo: Para salir de ese apuro, el jefe tuvo que aflojar el billete.
Example: To get out of that jam, the boss had to loosen up and spend money.

ahogarse en un vaso de agua | to drown in a glass of water, to sweat the small stuff, to worry about something unimportant
Ejemplo: No te preocupes. No te ahogues en un vaso de agua.
Example: Don’t worry. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

I use “meter la pata” more than any of these Spanish idioms. I use it often because I tend to put my foot in my mouth on occasion. I will tell some embarrassing story about myself and say, “Metí la pata”. I would love to hear your experiences of putting your foot in your mouth.

Challenge: Cuéntame de la última vez que metiste la pata. (Tell about the last time you put your foot in your mouth.)

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