Hola, hola amigos, ¿qué tal?
How is your learning going?
I know that learning a language can be a frustrating process. You study really hard and try to memorize everything, but then you read a book or (sometimes even worse) you watch a movie and… the horror! You can’t understand anything even after several months of study.
Despite the fact that this situation can be quite upsetting, don’t worry, it’s completely normal. The reason for this is that every language has its own unusual expressions that you simply can’t understand just by learning the individual words. Spanish is no exception to this. There are many Spanish expressions that are quite common in everyday conversation, but which might be confusing to someone who is new to the language. For this reason, I would like to review some typical Spanish expressions with you today. So, get ready for some Spanish immersion!
Here are seven Spanish expressions that are a must when travelling to Spain:
Salir de marcha
This expression can be said in many different ways, including salir de fiesta, salir de copas and salir a divertirse. However, salir de marcha is the most universal.
In Spain, we use marcha to mean “party,” so if you want to know how the nightlife is in a particular place, make sure to ask:
- ¿Cómo es la marcha allí? / ¿Qué tal es la marcha allí? (How is the nightlife there?)
This beautiful word, which probably won’t end up being your favourite (or perhaps it will), is used quite often and can mean two different things.
Meaning #1: Estar de coña
We can use this to indicate surprise:
- ¿Estás de coña? (Are you kidding me / joking?)
We can also use it in a positive way to let someone know that you are kidding, especially if they are beginning to take a joke too seriously:
- !No me hagas caso! Estoy de coña (Do not take it seriously! I’m kidding!)
Meaning #2: Ni de coña
In this case, we use coña to mean a big, fat “no.” For example, imagine that you are out with friends and they ask if you are going to the gym tomorrow. A bit weird I know… but isn’t this a perfect example of where someone might want to use a very strong “no”? Here’s an example of a possible response:
- Ni de coña voy al gimnasio mañana (No way am I going to the gym tomorrow).
I am sure you have heard this word sooo many times before. However, you may not know exactly what it means, especially if you have just started your Spanish journey. In essence, this word is used in the same way that “OK” is in English. But, don’t you want to sound more Spanish? If so, just remember to say vale instead!
Let’s look at an example: if you are meeting a friend on Saturday and he has a great plan and you want to go, you can say:
- ¡Vale! Suena bien (OK, sounds good).
This is a popular word, though be careful! It is very colloquial! In general, it refers to something silly, and it is basically another word for tontería (which is a bit more polite) or algo que no tiene importancia (which means “something that is not important”). So once again, we have two different meanings for the same word!
Meaning #1: Silly things
If one of your friend is talking nonsense, you could try to make him stop by saying:
- deja de decir chorradas (stop talking nonsense).
You could also use it if it’s your sister birthday and someone asks what you are getting her. If you are not sure, and don’t really care too much, you might say:
- no sé, cualquier chorrada (I don't know, just some little thing).
Meaning #2: Something that is not important
If one of your friends is getting mad about something stupid, you could say:
- no te enfades por una chorrada así (don't get angry over a silly little thing like that).
¡Ser la leche!
You use this when something is really great or hilarious and you would like to recommend it to your friends. For example, if you went to a concert last night and your coworker asks you how it was, you could reply by saying:
- ¡Genial! Fue la leche (Great! It was awesome!)
This will indicate to them that you had a great time (and you might make them a bit jealous too!).
However, be careful! When talking about things, ser la leche always means that something is good. However, if you are talking about or to people it can either mean that they are amazing or that they are a bit different (not as good a meaning, but also not terrible). For example:
- ¿Has arreglado la televisión? ¡Eres la leche! (Have you managed to fix the TV? You are awesome!)
- !No me digas que te has vuelto a olvidar las llaves! ¡Eres la leche! (Don’t tell me you forgot your keys again. You are unbelievable!)
No te rayes
This is one of my favourites! It can also be said as no te comas la cabeza, and it means “don’t get crazy.” It is often used when someone is worrying too much or becoming obsessed with something.
For instance, if your friend spends the weekend obsessing over something he thinks he did wrong at work, you can tell him:
- No te rayes, seguro que no es tan malo, seguramente nadie se dará ni cuenta (Don’t worry/overthink/get paranoid. Surely it’s not that bad and nobody realised).
Similarly, you can say that someone who cannot stop worrying about things is rayado.
For example, if your obsessive friend comes to you quite often with the same issue, you can say:
- No empieces, eres un rayado, disfruta del fin de semana (don’t start this, you are just a worrier, enjoy the weekend).
Finally, we can also use the expression ser un disco rayado (to be a broken record). This refers to repeating the same song (or in this case, subject) over and over again.
This is an important one, so write it down in your holiday notebook because you will definitely use it. Caña means cerveza, and it is a glass of beer. It is not as big as a pint, being that we do not usually drink pints in Spain. Instead, we salimos de cañas (go out for small beers). In most places, you can also get a tapa with your caña. This is actually why we drink cañas: so that we can drink it quicker and then move on to the next bar for the next round of cañas and tapas!
So, if you ever go to Spain, don’t forget to order a few cañas!
Obviously, there are many more expressions out there, but I think these would be the most useful if you are going to Spain.
Now, it is your turn...
Pick one of the expressions above and make it yours. Use it every chance you get, learn to feel comfortable with it, own it, and once you have mastered it, come back to this post and choose another one! Just repeat this until you have been able to use all seven of these expressions like a pro.
Also, be sure to share which expression is your favourite in the comments below.
That’s it for now guys. I hope you have enjoyed this article and that you’ve learned something new!