SPANISH IDIOMS THAT USE NUMBERS You are probably tired of me talking about how much I like idioms (in every language) and how impact can they have on your fluency, that is why today I won’t wander around those points. And I will just introduce you straight away some Spanish idioms that use numbers.

Numbers is one of the first things you learn in Spanish, that  is why I thought it would be a good idea giving you some idioms using them, so you won’t have any excuse to not remember them, so if you are ready let’s dive into 8 Spanish idioms that use numbers.

SPANISH IDIOMS THAT USE NUMBERS

 

 

1-BUSCAR TRES PIES AL GATO

 

 

Literally:

To search for three feet in the cat

Equivalent:

To split hairs or to complicate things

When to use it:

When you overcomplicate things

Example:

If you want to go to a dinner with friends but you already had plans with your family and you are thinking your friends could be annoyed because of that and you try to look for an excuse instead, “le estás buscando tres pies al gato” (you are complicating things), you just need to say the truth and do not think in advance what if…

Or when we go to the cinema and you like the movie but we think it has a secret meaning that we haven’t found yet but we think about it, we try to explain to friends and they simple will say “no le bisques tres pies al gato, el significado de la peli es sencillo,  entretener…”-“do not split hairs, the meaning of the movie is just to entertain”

 

2-CADA DOS POR TRES

 

 

Literally:

Every two in three

Equivalent:

Every other minute

When to use it:

When something happens very often

Example:

If you start to drink a lot of water and you visit the toilet more often every time you probably have to say to yourself –“Necesito dejar de beber agua, si quiero dejar de ir al baño cada dos por tres”-“I need to stop drinking water if I want to stop going to the toilet every other minute.”

 

3-DAR IGUAL 8 QUE 80

 

 

Literally:

To be the same eight than eighty

Equivalent:

It is all the same to him/to not care

When to use it:

When

Example:

If you are trying to save but your partner go to the supermarket and buys the most expensive thing, (to your horror)you will say to him –“!pero cómo has comprado todas estas cosas!!Estamos intentando ahorrar para ir de vacaciones, pero veo que a tí te da igual ocho que ocenta!”-“How have you bought all those things!We are saving to go on holidays, I see you do not care!”

 

4-ESTAR A DOS VELAS

 

 

Literally:

To be at two candles

Equivalent:

To be broken

When to use it:

When you are broken

Example:

If your friends want  you to go out this weekend but it is the end of the month and you do not have any money,  your excuse will be –“Imposible, estoy a dos velas, no puedo hacer nada hasta que cobre”-Impossible, I am broken, I can not do anything until I get paid”

Or after Christmas it s quite common to hear “estoy a dos velas, después de comprar todos los regalos, no sé que voy ha hacer en enero” (I am broken after buying all the presents, I do not know how I am going to do it in January)

 

 5-NO HAY MAL QUE CIEN AÑOS DURE

 

 

Literally:

There is no pain which last hundred years

Equivalent:

Pain never stays more than hundred years

When to use it:

When you are passing through hard times

Example:

If you are not having an easy time, imagine you just lost your job and you are finding it difficult to get a new one, when people ask you how are you getting on, your answer might be-“He estado mejor, pero ya sabes, no hay mal que cien años dure”-“I have been better, but you know pain never stays more than one hundred years.” –positive thinking guys! Positive thinking!

 

6-PRIMERA Y ÚLTIMA VEZ

 

 

Literally:

First and last time

Equivalent:

First and only time

When to use it:

When you do/agree something and you regret later so you promise next time not to do it again

Example:

If you volunteer yourself to help with something in the office, thinking it would be easy and it would just take 10 more minutes but then you realized it will be during the weekend and for a few hours you will probably say to yourself “primera y última vez que hago algo parecido”-“First and only time I do something like this”.

 

7-QUIEN ROBA A UN LADRÓN TIENE CIEN AÑOS DE PERDÓN

 

 

Literally:

The person who steal from a thief is forgiven

Equivalent:

It is not crime to steal from a thief.

When to use it:

To forgive someone who has done something bad against something who is evil. It is quite relative, and normally used by small things.

Example:

If one of your colleague at work is always getting your pens and never gives them back, and one day you realize you kept one of his pens, you will joke “bueno…quien roba a un ladrón tiene cien años de perdón”-“Well it is no crime to steal from a thief”

 

8-SER UN CERO A LA IZQUIERDA

 

 

Literally:

To be a zero on the left side

Equivalent

To be useless

When to use it:

When someone is useless, not important, or they are just not a big help

Example:

If you need to finish a project with your team but your are angry and moaning you do not have enough people to do it because-“la mayoría de ellos no saben lo que hacen, son un cero a la izquierda, tengo que guiarles todos los pasos.” –“ most of them do not know what they are doing, they are a waste of space I need to walk through everything with them.”

 

And these are the expressions for today. I hope you enjoyed and at least one of them has put a smile in your face, also if you liked them and you want to find more, these  expressions are from the Spanish idioms book that you can get it on  amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018IJSVSM for only  $ 2.66.

 

Now it is your turn, if you enjoy this blog please share it with a fellow learner who can take advantage and learn something new from it, help me to spread the Spanish word around 🙂

Also do not think I forgot about your homework today, I would like you to leave a sentences in the comments below where you can use any of these Spanish idioms that use numbers that you have just learned.Also I would love to hear from you

 

-which idiom from today is your favourite?

-do you know any other idiom which uses numbers in Spanish?

 

Leave a comment and let me know!

 

I am looking forward to reading from you.

 

¡Hasta pronto!

 

 

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