Sunday, May 19, 2024

Unwrapping English idioms: A friendly guide to their Spanish equivalents

Hey language lovers! Some say you only truly master a language when you start cracking jokes in it, and as much as this might be true, I would also say that you also only really embody it culturally when you learn to throw in some idioms into conversation too. 

Idioms are a big part of a country’s culture and Mexico is no different. So today, let’s dive into some cool ways to communicate and convey a message in a more natural (and local) manner! 

  1. You can’t have your cake and eat it too: “No se puede todo en esta vida.” (literally: you can’t do everything in this life)

Essentially it means that you can’t have it all. So, how do you use it in Spanish?

Context: Career Choices

  • English: “I want to work from home, but I also want the structure of an office job.” Spanish: “Quiero trabajar desde casa, pero también quiero la estructura de una oficina,  no se puede todo en esta vida.”

Context: Healthy Lifestyle

  • English: “I want to indulge in delicious desserts every day, but I also want to be in shape.”
  • Spanish: “Quiero disfrutar de postres deliciosos todos los días, pero también quiero estar en forma. -No se puede todo en esta vida. 


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  1. Spill the beans: “Soltar la sopa” (literally: dropping the soup)

How can you bring this expression about revealing a secret or disclosing information to life in Spanish?

Context: Office Gossip

    • English: “Okay, spill the beans. What’s the big news around the office?”
    • Spanish: “Bueno, suelta la sopa. ¿Cuál es la gran noticia en la oficina?”
  1. Sleep on it: “Consultar con la almohada” (literally: Consulting the pillow)

Here are some Spanish scenarios where you might want to convey that you need time to think before making a decision.

Context: Job Offer

    • English: “The job sounds great, but I want to sleep on it before accepting.”
    • Spanish: “Sí, el trabajo que me están ofreciendo suena genial, pero quiero consultarlo con la almohada antes de aceptar.”

Context: Moving to a New City

      • English: “The opportunity is tempting, but I’ll sleep on it before committing to a big move.”
      • Spanish: “La oportunidad es tentadora, pero voy a consultarlo con la almohada antes de comprometerme a un gran cambio.”

There you have it! These three idioms are ones we use a lot in our daily conversations. 

Try them next time you have the opportunity and shock your friends into believing you’ve finally become Mexicano. ¡Buena suerte!

Paulina Gerez is a translator-interpreter, content creator, and founder of Crack The Code, a series of online courses focused on languages. Through her social media, she helps people see learning a language from another perspective through her fun experiences. Instagram: paulinagerezm / Tiktok: paugerez3 / YT: paulina gerez 


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