Spanish phrases with my coffee

18 Jun

When I visit Spanish cafes, many of the packets of sugar that accompany my coffee contain a phrase or saying. Here’s two that I saw recently…

“Cuando creíamos que teníamos todas las respuestas, de pronto, cambiaron todas las preguntas”.

This translates as…

“When we thought we had all the answers, suddenly, they changed all the questions”.

I prefer the observation made by my friend Jaime Gandiel

“When they finally had all the answers, they died”.


The 2nd phrase is attributed to Confucious…

Exigete mucho a ti mismo y espera poco de los demás. Así te ahorrarás disgustos.

Push yourself a lot of yourself and expect little of others. This will save you trouble.

more blogs by Robert Bovington…

“Photographs of Spain”
“Spanish Impressions”
“postcards from Spain”
“you couldn’t make it up!”
“a grumpy old man in Spain”
“bits and bobs”
“Spanish Art”
“Books About Spain”



El mal entra a brazadas y sale a pulgaradas

29 Feb

The  literal translation of this proverb is:

    “The evil enters with strokes and leaves in pinches.”

An equivalent English saying is:

    “Mischief comes by the pound and goes away by the ounce.”

Another Spanish expression

14 Feb

Al desdichado hace consuelo tener compania en su suerte y duelo.


Literal translation: The unlucky one finds consolation in being accompanied by his luck and in his pain.


Meaning of the phrase: Two in distress makes sorrow less.

Hello world!

2 Feb

Hi everyone

Welcome to my Spanish Expressions blog.

This blog will consist of a series of postings of popular Spanish sayings including proverbs (refranes) and idiomatic phrases (modismos).

Please feel free to add your comments.

A otro perro con ese hueso.

18 Sep

Give that bone to some other dog.


This is something that Spaniards might say when they do not believe an explanation that someone has given them.


We might say ‘Come off it’, ‘Don’t give me that’ or ‘tell that to the marines’.

Monto un circo y me crecen los enanos.

17 Sep

The literal translation of this Spanish proverb sounds stupid. It is ‘Mount a circus and I grow dwarf’.

It simply means, ‘to get a lot of bad luck’. An English proverb with similar connotations is ‘it never rains but it pours’ or even ‘misfortunes usually come in large numbers’.

A muertos y a idos no hay más amigos.

17 Sep

A muertos y a idos no hay más amigos.

To the dead and gone no more friends.

It suggests that death or absence of a person can cool the friendship, to the point of forgetting their bond.

‘Long absent, soon forgotten’ would appear to be an equivalent English proverb.