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Old 14th October 2007, 10:33 AM   #1
DerekD
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Default Common Spanish Expressions

I thought it might be useful if we could list some common expressions that are heard all the time in spanish but which dont translate directly into english. I have such a mental block with these it is unreal! For example

Por lo tanto - so, therefore
Por lo visto - apparantly
A lo mejor - perhaps

Anyone have any others?
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Old 14th October 2007, 11:55 AM   #2
Beckett
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¡Uff! ¡Hay un montón! Aquí tenéis algunos:

pues, nada = well, anyway
antes que nada = first of all

en cambio = on the other hand, whereas
a cambio de = in exchange for

me da igual = it's all the same to me
a partes iguales = fifty-fifty

a ver = let's see
tener que ver = has to do with
no tener nada que ver = has nothing to do with
(Ese libro no tiene nada que ver con esta película. That book has nothing to do with this movie.)

estar al tanto = to be up-to-date
poner al tanto = to put somebody in the picture
a las tantas = the wee hours of the morning
entre tanto = meanwhile
no es para tanto = it's not such a big deal
¡y tanto! = and how!
tanto....como... = both
(Tanto Madrid como Barcelona tienen mucha historia y cultura. Both Madrid and Barcelona have a lot of history and culture.)

Last edited by Beckett; 14th October 2007 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 14th October 2007, 11:58 AM   #3
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I was thinking about starting this thread myself only yesterday Derek (great minds and all that) Por lo visto annoyed me for a long time because I saw it a lot but never got round to checking it out,apparently/evidently: I suppose the closest to the words would be 'by the looks of things'

Another one in that category is a lo largo meaning along, along the length/throughout-for time phrases ie a lo largo del tiempo -throughout history


Por lo tanto - so, therefore
Por lo visto - apparantly
A lo mejor - perhaps
A lo largo -along/throughout

Para nada(!) -no way!

Last edited by tad; 14th October 2007 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 14th October 2007, 06:35 PM   #4
Fearful Symmetry
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Great thread. Keep 'em coming!!

When learning German years ago, I had a small book of such idiomatic phrases that I carried around with me. Just a huge list like you've posed above: bit by bit they sunk in and the veil gradually lifted. Nothing brings a beginner to a screaming halt more quickly than an odd, untranslatable combination of known words.
Thanks
FS
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Old 14th October 2007, 08:27 PM   #5
motley
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Default love it!

a la orden = at your service
hacer caso = to pay attention (No hace caso) he doesn't pay attention
por eso = therefore
a la vez = at the same time
a pesar de = in spite of, despite, even though
hacer falta = to miss (me hacen falta los niños) I miss the children
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Old 15th October 2007, 03:55 PM   #6
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a lo lejos =in the distance
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Old 15th October 2007, 05:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motley View Post
hacer falta = to miss (me hacen falta los niños) I miss the children
Isn't hacer falta more like; to need? lit.: it makes a 'lack'

Nos hace falta un reloj - A watch lacks to us - We need a watch

To miss in idiomatic form might be: Echar de menos

Echo de menos los momentos que pasamos juntos :I miss the moments that we spent together.

Last edited by tad; 15th October 2007 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 15th October 2007, 06:00 PM   #8
eldeano
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tad View Post
Isn't hacer falta more like to need? lit.: it makes a 'lack'

Nos hace falta un reloj - A watch lacks to us - We need a watch

To miss in idiomatic form might be: Echar de menos

Echo de menos los momentos que pasamos juntos :I miss the moments we had together.
Perhaps it's 'I miss the children... because they duck when my hand swings round'. .. but I think that's no doy en..
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Old 15th October 2007, 06:14 PM   #9
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When I was in Salamanca in an exchange program, my teacher taught me this frase:

Estar hasta los cojones de todo - In the US, this would mean "I am up to my neck in everything", Or "I have had it with everything!" But instead of neck, they use balls. Quite interesting eh?

Correct me if I am wrong!
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Old 15th October 2007, 06:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norcald View Post
When I was in Salamanca in an exchange program, my teacher taught me this frase:

Estar hasta los cojones de todo - In the US, this would mean "I am up to my neck in everything", Or "I have had it with everything!" But instead of neck, they use balls. Quite interesting eh?

Correct me if I am wrong!
They have long legs.
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Old 15th October 2007, 06:45 PM   #11
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tener ganas de - to want to/ to feel like
me toca - it's my turn
tener razon - to be right (about something)
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Old 15th October 2007, 06:48 PM   #12
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Como el gato que comió al canario - like the cat that got the cream.
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Old 15th October 2007, 08:24 PM   #13
Don
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These are probably more Latin American:

Ni modo - Oh well. Whatever. What can you do?

Ni modo que... - There's no way that...


Common phrases that change word order in Spanish like, "Peor es nada" - "Worse is nothing" as opposed to "Better than nothing", which is sometimes used to refer to a spouse. Mi peor es nada - My husband/wife. Any more of these you can think of?

A fun idiom:

Te agarraron con las manos en la masa - They caught you with your hands in the cookie jar.
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Old 16th October 2007, 11:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eldeano View Post
Como el gato que comió al canario - like the cat that got the cream.
Gran Amo, no sería:

Como el gato que se comío el canario

is that a personal a ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don View Post

Te agarraron con las manos en la masa - They caught you with your hands in the cookie jar.
o, a lo mejor:
Te agarraron con las patas en la jaula de parajos
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Old 16th October 2007, 11:52 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Doubtfire View Post
Gran Amo, no sería:

Como el gato que se comío el canario

is that a personal a ?
According to the book I'm reading, it's al not el. Take it up with Clive Cussler's translator.
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Old 16th October 2007, 01:22 PM   #16
Beckett
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tad View Post
Gran Amo, no sería:

Como el gato que se comío el canario

is that a personal a ?

Yes. The personal "a" is used when referring to animals that are considered household pets.
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Old 16th October 2007, 01:35 PM   #17
Ben
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Great list. This could make a good sticky thread if we can add even more, definitely a useful resource. Anyone got some more?

Meanwhile, our list of typical Spanish phrases is done (same ones as used in our Facebook app. - the first 88 for now). Here are some examples from the list:

¡Qué mandón eres!

You are really bossy!

Wife to husband… sister to brother… you get the picture!

Nos hemos zampado todo

We’ve eaten the lot!

Used at the end of a particularly good meal (when there is absolutely nothing left!)

¡Ya era hora!

It was about time!

… you showed up… you did this… you called her… etc…

------

Click on the link above to get the rest, and meanwhile, keep the common phrases and expressions coming below (if we can stay on topic for a minute!)

Last edited by Ben; 16th October 2007 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 16th October 2007, 05:55 PM   #18
Don
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tad View Post
o, a lo mejor:
Te agarraron con las patas en la jaula de parajos

Eso me gusta también.

Tampoco puedo esperar hasta febrero!!!
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Old 17th October 2007, 08:50 AM   #19
José Miguel
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El chocolate del loro (chicken feed)
Mas raro que un perro verde (as scarce as hen's teeth)
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Old 17th October 2007, 11:35 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckett View Post
Yes. The personal "a" is used when referring to animals that are considered household pets.
Hmmm....the cat that ate the canary that happened to be the family pet. Well I think as a saying that you would be talking about the canary as a general concept, how does that work if you see a dog for example for the first time in a park? would you use 'a' on the basis that it is someones pet though not necessarily yours -but anyway; what about the se comío vs comío thing. I've seen both and I've come to think of the se form as 'ate up' or 'polished off' as opposed to the act of eating and would be better suited to the act of canary eating.
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