Hola chicos, ¿cómo va? Aquí estoy de nuevo (I am back here again), and today we will be talking about something quite common. Well, I should say I will be writing (and you will be reading) about small sentences that you may struggle to understand.

These sentences are key for day-to-day conversations in both English and Spanish, but (surprise!) they can not be translated exactly from one language to the other. So, get your notepad and brain ready and let’s examine ten of these Spanish sentences that you need to know.


Para siempre (For good)

If a friend gives you the news that someone you both know is leaving the city to move somewhere else and you kind of can’t believe it, you will want to learn whether it is para siempre (for good).


  • ¿Has oído? !Pedro ha vuelto a EE.UU! (Have you Heard? Pedro has left for the States!)
  • ¿Qué dices?¿Para siempre o de vacaciones? (What are you talking about? For good or just holidays?)


Como siempre (As usual)

If everytime you go on a day out with friends there is someone who you know will always be late, while you are waiting you could say:


  • Como siempre María llega tarde, un día vamos a perder el tren (María is late, as usual. One day we are going to miss the train.)


En el peor de los casos (In the worst case scenario)

If you are planning a BBQ but your friends are not quite sure about it because the weather could be bad, you can say


  • A ver, en el peor de los casos, podemos asar en el horno en lugar de en el jardín (Look, in the worse case scenario we could roast food in the oven instead of in the garden.)


De vez en cuando (Every so often/once in awhile/every now and again)

When suddenly you find out one of your colleagues was riding a horse during the weekend, you might want to express your surprise:


  • No sabía que montabas a caballo (I did not know you could ride a horse)
  • Habitualmente no, aprendí de pequeña y de vez en cuando me gusta hacerlo (Not usually, I learned when I was a kid and every now and again I enjoy doing it!)


Hace un tiempo (A while back)

When someone tells you something you already knew, you can simply say:


  • Eso no es nuevo, yo lo sabía desde hace tiempo (That is not new, I knew that a while back/ago)


But watch out! If it is not long ago in the past, we will say hace un rato, for example:


  • He llegado a casa hace un rato (I arrived home a while ago)


Remember not to mix the two words tiempo and rato, as their meanings are quite not the same and mixing them might mean you don’t look the good speaker that you are.

When we use hace tiempo, the time being discussed was long ago in regards to the conversation we are having; we compare the time from the present till the action took place. When we use rato, the time being referred to is shorter; the action has recently taken place.

Let’s comparemos (compare):


  • Hace tiempo Juan consiguió su licencia de conducer (a while ago Juan got his driving licence)
    • It might have happened years ago (we are not sure when) but it was a long time ago.
  • Carla se ha marchado hace un rato (Carla has left a while ago)
    not long ago; the action is normally recent.


We can also say después de un rato (after a while) and still mean that the time being referred to is not too long.


  • Quedé con Sofía y después de un rato en la cafetería apareció Laura (I met Sofia at the cafe and after a while Laura came)


And, much the same, we can say después de un tiempo (after a while) if the time after is longer.

If this is still not quite clear, have a look at this example.


  • Me mudé a Edimnurgo y después de un tiempo mi familia se mudó también (I moved to Edinburgh and after a while my family moved as well)


A partir de ahora (From now on)

If you make the resolution to just healthy food, you will be lying to yourself (if you are anything like me) when you make the following affirmation


  • A partir de ahora no más chocolate, solo voy a comer sano (From now on, no more chocolate; I will only eat healthy food)


Repeat it a couple of times when you have a craving for chocolate, hopefully ot works better for you than it does for me.


Desde cero (From scratch)

If you are completing a puzzle and you are almost done but suddenly your little niece destroys it, you will probably be annoyed that you have to...


  • Tú tendras que empezar desde cero de nuevo (You will need to start from scratch again)


!Date prisa! (Hurry up)

If you are going to the cinema but your flatmate is taking ages to get ready, you could try to hurry them up by saying


  • !Date prisa! La pelí habrá acabado para cuando lleguemos (Hurry up! The movie will have ended when we get there!)


!Ya era hora! (About time!)

If a friend who always wanted to take a photography course finally joined one, you could cheer for her by saying:


  • !Enhorabuena! ¡Ya era hora! Solo te ha costado 10 años (Congratulations! It was about time, it only took you 10 years!)


Note that in this phrase, the time will usually be too much;the Spanish like to exaggerate, so every time that you want to express time, just add some on to it.


¡Lo digo en serio! (I mean it!)

If you are telling your friend that her family can stay in your spare room and your friend accepts but does not look sure, you can say:


  • !Te lo digo en serio!Tengo una habitación libre y para mí no es ningún problema (I really mean it! I have a spare room, it is not a problem for me.)


And that, my friends is all for today’s article!

Well…kind of. You know that before you leave I am going to ask you for something actionable. Learning a language is all about practice, practice, practice. The more the better.

But, just in case you left this page scared about the thought of homework, I want to say that I hope you enjoyed this article and it has been useful for your Spanish language.



Today’s homework is: practice! Feel free to leave a comment below and I will get back to you saying whether it is correct or not. Also, have a look at the rest of the comments so that you can learn from your fellow students too.

I would love to hear from you… and lo digo en serio (I mean it)! Leave me a comment below and let me know if you learned something new. And, of course, if you know any other sentences that you think should be in our “MUST know list” leave a comment!

If you have any other questions, feel free to post them in the comments too. I will try my best to help.

Gracias for reading, and I will write to you again pronto.

Hero image by mark sebastian (CC BY-ND 2.0)