Learning Spanish sayings is an excellent way to see the Spanish language in action. It helps you to learn new words and put the verb conjugations and other grammatical rules that you have learnt into practice. It is much easier to remember new vocabulary and understand grammar when you can see it in context, and sayings are a great practical example of the way the language is used.
Knowing sayings and common expressions in Spanish will also help you to communicate with people in an informal, casual situation. Sayings are fun and can often express feelings about a particular situation more accurately than other descriptions can.
Similarities between English and Spanish sayings
As you learn new sayings in Spanish, you will often notice that they are very similar to common English sayings. For example, you may be familiar with the English saying: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. There is a similar Spanish version of this saying which is: “Más vale pájaro en mano que cien volando” (its worth more to have one bird in the hand than 100 flying).
Another example of a similar saying in Spanish and English is “No todo lo que brilla es oro” (not all that shines is gold). This is similar to the English saying “not all that glitters is gold”.
Differences between English and Spanish sayings
While some English sayings have similar versions in Spanish, it is important to note that not all sayings will make sense when they are translated directly. For example, the English saying “To let the cat out of the bag” makes no sense at all when translated to Spanish and saying this to a native Spanish speaker will create a lot of confusion. This is why you must take care to learn which sayings are common in Spanish and not assume that all sayings will be the same as they are in English.
Other common Spanish sayings
Some common sayings that are used regularly throughout the Spanish speaking world include:
- Quien no tiene, perder no puede – He who doesn’t have anything can’t lose.
Eso es harina de otro costal – That’s wheat from a different bag. This is similar to the English saying: “a bird of a different feather”.
De tal palo, tal astilla – From such a stick, such a splinter. This is similar to the English saying: “a chip off the old block”.
Si quieres el perro, acepta las pulgas – If you want the dog, accept the fleas. This is similar to the English saying: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”.
Because Spain and Latin America have traditionally been very catholic countries, a lot of the common sayings have a connection to religion. Examples of these include:
A Dios rogando y con el mazo dando – Praying to God and using the mallet. The sentiment of this is similar to “God helps those who help themselves”.
Cada uno lleva su cruz – Everyone carries his cross. This is similar to the English saying: “We all have a cross to bear”.
If Spanish sayings inspire you to learn this rich language, try this free introductory course here.