Expresiones con colores (II)

¡Hola a todos!

Some time ago, I published some Spanish idioms related to colors (you can read it here in case you didn’t!), and I’m here today with the second part of these idioms!

 

Estar al rojo vivo

In Spanish, we say “to be in live red color” when something is at its peak, in the most interesting part. It could be similar to the English “to be on fire”.

No puedo dejar de mirar, el asunto está al rojo vivo.

 

Ser un rojo

I don’t know if this is used out of Spain, but Spanish people talk about “being a red” when we talk about Republicans during the Civil War.

En la Guerra Civil, todo era sobre rojos y fascistas.

 

Tener sangre azul

Those “having blue blood” were people belonging to nobility, wealthy people in ancient times. Once a teacher told me we use this expression because they didn’t have any kind of sunbath, and their skin were so clear that you could see the veins, and instead of red blood it looked like blue blood.

Antiguamente, si no eras de sangre azul, tenías que trabajar muy duro.

 

Poner verde a alguien

We “turn somebody into green” when we badmouth him/her.

No dejaba de poner verde a su hermano: decía que era un maleducado, estúpido…

 

Chiste verde

A “green joke” is, simply, a dirty joke. The most usual ones in Spain are about old people.

Me contó un chiste verde sobre un viejo y una chica joven.

 

A buenas horas mangas verdes

We say “good time, green sleeves” when something happens too late and is not useful anymore. This one has an historical origin, as the members of the Santa Hermandad (15th Century) were usually late when they were called to solve a problem. And yes, they used to wear clothes with green sleeves.

Sí, a buenas horas, mangas verdes. Has llegado cuando todo ha terminado.

 

Prensa rosa

The “pink press” is about gossips: fights, divorces, weddings…

La prensa rosa no deja en paz a Antonio Banderas.

 

Novela rosa

The “pink novel” is, obviously, a romantic novel.

Esta novela rosa lo tiene todo: romance, ruptura, drama, infidelidades…

 

Dinero negro

The “black money” is the same than in English: that money that has been got in a dirty or illegal way.

Tenía una cuenta en Suiza con millones en dinero negro.

 

Ponerse negro

We “turn into black” when we are tired, when we can’t bear anymore with something or somebody. Usually, it also includes some rage.

No te aguanto más, me estás poniendo negro.

 

Novela negra

The “black novel” is a thriller, a novel about detectives or police solving crimes.

Me encanta la novela negra, siempre resuelven los crímenes.

 

Pasar la noche en blanco

When we “stay the night in white”, means that we didn’t sleep at all during the night.

Estoy muy cansada, he pasado la noche en blanco.

 

Estar sin blanca

If you “are without a white”, you’re broke, you have no money at all.

No puedo ir de vacaciones este año, estoy sin blanca.

 

Do you want to know other Spanish idioms related to something specific? Let me know and I’ll prepare it for you!

 

I hope that you liked it and that it’s been clear. All week long you will find some pictures on my Instagram and Facebook profiles to review this, so if you don’t follow me yet, follow me now!

If you have any question about this, don’t hesitate to ask me. Remember that you can study Spanish online with me, you can ask for a 30 minutes free trial lesson, where we will get to know each other and start your Spanish adventure!

Also, if you like my job and you want to support me so I can keep sharing all this with you, kindly have a look to my Patreon page here.

¡Hasta la próxima!

False friends (II)

¡Hola a todos!

Do you remember the false friends post some months ago? As I told you, they are very tricky, and there are a lot! We could even say it is an endless topic, so here we are again with some other false friends when English speakers learn Spanish!

 

English word: ONCE -> Spanish meaning: una vez

Spanish word: ONCE -> English meaning: eleven

 

English word: PIE -> Spanish meaning: tarta, pastel

Spanish word: PIE -> English meaning: foot

 

English word: SENSIBLE -> Spanish meaning: sensato

Spanish word: SENSIBLE -> English meaning: sensitive

 

English word: ULTIMATELY -> Spanish meaning: finalmente

Spanish word: ÚLTIMAMENTE -> English meaning: lately

 

English word: SOAP -> Spanish meaning: jabón

Spanish word: SOPA -> English meaning: soup

 

English word: SEVERAL -> Spanish meaning: various

Spanish word: SEVERO -> English meaning: strict

 

As you see, some false friends are written not only similar, but even the same in both languages, and they have absolutely nothing to do with each other! I already said this, but I will repeat it: false friends are very important to know! If you know other false friends, write them in the comments!

 

I hope that you liked it and that it’s been crystal clear. All week long you will find some pictures on my Instagram and Facebook profiles to review this, so if you don’t follow me yet, follow me now!

If you have any question about this, don’t hesitate to ask me. Remember that you can study Spanish online with me, you can ask for a 30 minutes free trial lesson, where we will get to know each other and start your Spanish adventure!

Also, if you like my job and you want to support me so I can keep sharing all this with you, kindly have a look to my Patreon page here.

¡Hasta la próxima!

Prepositions of place in Spanish

¡Hola a todos!

This week I’m talking about place prepositions. Yes, those words we always get confused with because they are kind of different in English. I’ve prepared a visual illustration about them, so you only need to have a look at it and you will know which preposition you need.

I hope that you liked this short post and that it’s been clear. All week long you will find some pictures on my Instagram and Facebook profiles to review and practice this, so if you don’t follow me yet, follow me now!

If you have any question about this, don’t hesitate to ask me. Remember that you can study Spanish online with me, you can ask for a 30 minutes free trial lesson, where we will get to know each other and start your Spanish adventure!

¡Hasta la próxima!

La casa (short story)

¡Hola a todos!

This week I’d like to post something different, not grammar or idioms, but a short story. I’ve picked some words related to home vocabulary and I’ve built a short story so you can practice your reading. Here it is!

 

Me llamo Miguel, y soy de Cádiz, una ciudad costera del sur de España. Pero ya no vivo en Cádiz, me mudé la semana pasada por el trabajo de mi padre. Ahora vivimos en Barcelona, pero no me gusta, porque esta casa es mucho más pequeña. De hecho, no es una casa, sino un piso.

Puedo sentir mi casa de Cádiz con los ojos cerrados: miro por la ventana y veo la playa, escucho el mar y siento la brisa con olor salado. Vivíamos en un chalet con jardín, piscina y dos plantas. En la planta baja teníamos un salón muy amplio, con un sofá muy grande y muy cómodo en el que nos tumbábamos para ver la televisión o echar la siesta. A mi madre le gustaba mucho nuestra cocina, decía que podía cocinar muchas cosas a la vez porque tenía mucho espacio y muchos electrodomésticos, y no hacía falta limpiar la cocina para poder comer, ¡porque teníamos un comedor! Y nuestras habitaciones eran enormes, de verdad, ¡¡enormes!! Yo jugaba en mi habitación a todo lo que quisiera, y además, tenía un escritorio y una silla en mi dormitorio, así que también estudiaba ahí.

Pero ahora todo es muy distinto. Nuestra casa en Barcelona es muy pequeña, y vivimos en un edificio de pisos, así que no es una casa, es un piso. No tenemos piscina, y el jardín es de todos los vecinos, así que no podemos jugar en él. Tampoco puedo ver la playa, porque este piso está en el centro de la ciudad, así que el paisaje es muy diferente. Pero lo peor es que ahora comparto habitación con mi hermano: dormimos en literas (yo me pedí la litera de arriba) porque no hay sitio para tres dormitorios, solo para dos: el de mis padres y el nuestro. La cocina es mucho más pequeña, igual que el sofá (¡ya no podemos echarnos la siesta porque ocupamos el sofá entero!).

Mi padre dice que los pisos en Barcelona son mucho más caros que las casas en Cádiz, así que nos ha prometido que iremos de vacaciones a casas más grandes tantas veces como podamos.

 

I hope that you liked this story! I’ll be posting some questions on my Instagram profile to review and practice this vocabulary, so if you don’t follow me yet, click here and follow me! You can also find them on Facebook. And if you liked this story, let me know so I can keep writing short stories like this!

Do you have any question? Don’t hesitate to ask me! Remember that you can study Spanish online with me, you can ask for a 30 minutes free trial lesson, where we will get to know each other and start your Spanish adventure!

¡Hasta la próxima!

Spanish idioms with cats! – Aquí hay gato encerrado

Hello everyone!

I would like to show you today some idioms. Last time, I talked about Spanish Idioms with Spanish Cities, but now I’m going to talk about idioms with one of my favorite animals: the cat.

Cats have been adored since ancient times; Egyptians and people from China and India loved him, and even some gods in the ancient Egypt were made up of cats, like Bastet, goddess of warfare in Lower Egypt.

Nowadays, some people all over the world, including Spain, think that black cats are a symbol of bad luck, as they are linked to witches and horror stories, like The Black Cat, by Edgar Allan Poe.

But this is not a blog about cats (I should reconsider to create one about animals, I think), so here we go with the cats’ expressions I collected in Spanish!

  • Aquí hay gato encerrado.

We use this expression when we mean that something is fishy.

For example: somebody you don’t get along with invites you to his birthday party, with an evil smile at his face; then you think “aquí hay gato encerrado”.

What’s the origin of this idiom? Well, we must go back to sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when it was typical to use the word “gato” referring to the rucksack where the money was kept. To avoid robberies, some people hid the sack behind the clothes, so the thieves created a code to express they found somebody with a hidden bag. This code was “gato encerrado” (enclosed cat).

  • Llevarse como el perro y el gato

“To get along like dog and cat”. This one is very easy to guess, and it means to get like dogs and cats, that is, bad.

It has no other origin that the real relationship between dogs and cats in real life, although there are many homes where dogs and cats are best friends forever! But to understand this idiom, we must stick to the classic bad relation among these animals.

As an example, we can think about two siblings who fight every day, and I’m sure a Spanish mum would say “¡se llevan como el perro y el gato!”.

  • Buscarle tres pies al gato

You literally look for three cat’s feet when you are complicating your life or looking for trouble.

For example, you saw somebody doing something wrong and you try that person to tell you by herself, but she starts giving you bad excuses. At the moment you get tired of those excuses, you say: “deja de buscarle tres pies al gato, te vi ayer”.

But, why three feet instead of five, which would be the logical? I mean, 99% of the cats have four feet, so it makes more sense looking for the fifth foot, which is an extra. Indeed, originally that was the expression: “buscarle cinco pies al gato”. Well, it is said that this is due to Miguel de Cervantes, the illustrious writer mostly known by his work Don Quijote de la Mancha, who is said that modified the expression to use it on his work. Some people say it was a mistake, some other people say he did it deliberately to add an irony note to the text. The only true fact is that the expression changed since then.

  • Tener más vidas que un gato

Why do we say that somebody would have more lives than a cat? Nobody has more than one life, then, why? We must go back in time to understand this.

As I said before, cats were considered gods in the Ancient Egypt, but later on, Catholics prosecuted cats because they thought cats were a Devil’s symbol. As a result of this swinging of the cat’s superstitions, along with cats’ ability to came out unhurt of a high fall, the myth of cats’ resurrection was created. In Spain, we also say that cats’ have seven lives (“siete vidas tiene un gato”). Not five nor eight, but seven!

So, for example, we will say that somebody has “más vidas que un gato” when, after a car accident, the person is completely or almost uninjured. And it may even not be the first time!

  • El gato escaldado, del agua fría huye

We use this expression to talk about somebody who runs away from a situation that once hurt him. Literally meaning “a scalded cat runs away from cold water”, it could be translated as “once bitten, twice shy”.

We don’t need to think too much about its origin, as it is an action-reaction fact: you trust in something, you get hurt, you don’t trust in that anymore. For example, a kid at school is told to go to the gym because a teacher wants to talk to him, but once there he finds the big guys who want to humiliate him. That kid will never trust those guys again, and even other boys who have something in common, so that kid will became the cat who runs away from cold water.

  • De noche, todos los gatos son pardos

This expression would be literally translated as “at night, all cats are grey-brown”, but it basically means that everything looks the same in the dark.

It is used to talk about people who are about doing bad businesses, like committing a crime or cheating on someone, and they do it at night so they won’t be recognized by the victim.

For example, think about a couple with two kids. Everyone is supposed to be sleeping, but the dad wants to drink water, so he heads to the kitchen. But he sees a kid running to the bedroom and finds the evidence: a chocolate paper on the kitchen table! With sunlight, he might have known who was the kid who ate the chocolate, but as it was dark, he doesn’t know either it was one or the other boy. So, he will say to his wife “¡No lo vi! De noche, todos los gatos son pardos”.

  • Dar gato por liebre

This idiom has its origin in ancient times, when it was said that some innkeepers served cat meat instead of rabbit or mutton as offered. This was also said about people selling hare pies at the street markets. Customers complained about it because they were supposed to pay for hare or mutton meat, but they got cooked cat instead.

So, when we “give a cat instead of a hare”, we are conning somebody by giving a lower quality article than expected. For example, if you go to a second-hand shop to buy a new phone but don’t really know about the features that you need, the person in charge will try to convince you that the worst phone is the best one for you. Then you get home and you proudly show it to your brother, and he laughs at you because you got a really bad phone for an extremely high price, so he says to you “te han dado gato por liebre”.

  • Haber cuatro gatos

Els Quatre Gats was a hostel located in Barcelona built by the end of the nineteenth century. It was usually frequented by some of the most important Modernism figures. Unfortunately, they used to be few people, so the place had to close seven years later.

But seven years were enough to settle down a new idiom in our language. As the place used to be almost empty, people associated the four cats to an empty place, and nowadays we say “hay cuatro gatos” when there is hardly anyone somewhere.

For example, you go to a pub that usually is full of people, but today you can see that is almost empty, so you say “hay cuatro gatos, vámonos de aquí”.

From gods to demons in different cultures, if we consider them a language resource, cats are so versatile! Of course, they are way much more than a resource; personally I love cats, but you can’t deny they give place to many issues in language and history!

I hope you liked it! If so, please share it and tell me if you know other idioms with cats, both in Spanish or your own language. 😊

¡Hasta la próxima!

False friends (English – Spanish)

Hello again!

If you ask me about something tricky when learning Spanish, I’ll definitely say that the trickiest thing when learning every language are the false friends (falsos amigos). And I think this is very important, because you may think that the other person understood you, but maybe what you just said makes no sense.

And I’m not only talking about beginners or self-learners, but also about professionals. I like reading so much, and sometimes I find sentences with no sense because of the false friends, and it drives me crazy!

So today I’m going to give you some false friends (compared to English) and explain you what word would be the correct one for every one of them.

 

English word: ACTUALLY -> Spanish meaning: realmente

Spanish word: ACTUALMENTE -> English meaning: nowadays

 

English word: ATTEND -> Spanish meaning: asistir

Spanish word: ATENDER -> English meaning: to pay attention

 

English word: CARPET -> Spanish meaning: alfombra

Spanish word: CARPETA -> English meaning: folder

 

English word: ROPE -> Spanish meaning: cuerda

Spanish word: ROPA -> English meaning: clothes

 

English word: EXIT -> Spanish meaning: salida

Spanish word: ÉXITO -> English meaning: success

 

English word: EMBARRASED -> Spanish meaning: avergonzado

Spanish word: EMBARAZADA -> English meaning: pregnant

 

These are some of the most frequent mistakes my students use to make. But as I told before, is not only a beginner’s matter: professionals also make mistakes.

As an anecdote, I will tell you that I was reading a very famous book in Spanish some months ago (I don’t want to say the name of the book, respect, you know) and I got shocked when reading a paragraph. There was a sentence saying “muy embarazado”. Can you find the mistake? Yes! “Embarazado” means pregnant, so you can’t be very pregnant; you are pregnant or you are not, but it isn’t something you can measure. And there’s something more: “embarazado” is a male adjective… Boys don’t (usually) get pregnant, so it was so weird for me because it doesn’t make sense!

And that’s an example of why it’s important to know the false friends.

If you liked it, please share it! And remember that you can book online lessons to learn Spanish online! 😉 

See you next time!