Chapter 25   --   Idioms

 

An idiom is a way of using words to convey an idea which is different than the literal meanings of the words, or from the grammar of a language.   Iin English, when we say “It is raining cats and dogs.”, we mean that it is raining heavily, not that animals fall from the sky.   Every language has a large number of idioms that are used in ordinary speech and nontechnical writing.   Some common idioms follow.

acabar de + infinitive, to have just done something Acabo de bañarme. I have just bathed.
acabar por + inifintive, to finally do something Acabó por llegar. He finally arrived.
     
andar por decir, to be determined to speak Ella va por decir su opinión She is determined to say her opinion.
     
cuidar a, to take care of a person Cuide a su madre. Take care of your mother.
cuidar de , to take care of thing Debe cuidar de su carro. You must take care of your car.
     
dejar caer , to let fall, drop Roberto dejó caer su libro.   Roberto let his book fall.
dejar de + infinitive, to stop Él dejó de trabajar por una ora. He stopped working for an hour.
     
With the verb dar, the basic meaning is to give    
dar a , to face La ventana que da a la calle. The window that faces the street.
dar con , to meet Dimos con Juan en el cine. We met John at the movies.
dar cuerda a , to wind Cada mañana doy cuerda a mi reloj. Each morning I wind my watch.
dar de beber a , to give a drink to Él dió de beber a su amigo. He gave his friend a drink.
dar de comer a , to feed Ya dí de comer a ellos. I already fed them.
dar en , to strike against, hit Se cayó y dió en el suelo. He fell and hit the floor.
dar ganas de , to make one want to do something La música me da ganas de cantar. The music makes me want to sing.
dar gritos , to shout Los niños dieron gritos de alegria. The children shouted with joy.
dar la hora , to strike the hour El reloj ya dió las siete. It is past seven o’clock.
dar una vuelta , to take a stroll Doy una vuelta por la tarde. I often take an afternoon stroll.
darse cuenta de , to realize No se dió cuenta de su error. He did not realize his error.
darse la mano , to shake hands Al encontrarse, se dieron la mano. Upon meeting, they shook hands.
darse por + past participle, to consider oneself No me dí por vencido ya. I am not beaten yet.
darse prisa , to hurry ¡Debo darme prisa! Ya son las ocho. I must hurry! lt is already eight o'clock.
     
With echar, the basic meaning is to throw or toss    
echar a correr , to break into a run El caballo echó a correr. The horse broke into a run.
echar a perder , to spoil something Él echará a perder la fiesta. He will spoil the party.
echar a reir , to burst out laughing Eché a reir al chiste.   I burst out laughing at the joke.
echar al correo , to mail Eché al correo dos cartas. I mailed two letters.
echar de menos . to miss a person Yo echo de menos a mi esposa. I miss my wife.
echar de ver , to notice Lo eché de ver. I noticed it.
echar en cara , to insult Me echó en cara el error. He insulted me to my face.
echar la culpa a, to blame Él echó la culpa a su amigo. He blamed his friend.
echar para adelante , to get on with Eches para adelante. Get on with your life.
echarse atrás , to move back Por favor, échense atrás. Please, move back.
     
 With estar, the basic meaning is to be in a condition or state    
a cuántos estar , to be how far ¿A cuántos estamos de Sevilla? How far are we from Sevilla?
a cuánto estar , to be how much ¿A cuánto está la gasolina? How much is the gasoline?
estar al llegar , to be about to arrive El capitán está al llegar. The captain is about to arrive.
estar a punto de + infinitive, to be ready to do s.t. Momentito, estoy a punto de irme. Just a moment, I am about to leave.
estar con, to be down with an illness Está con el gripe. He is down with the flu.
estar de, to be in a mood Está de buen humor. He’s in a good mood.
estar de acuerdo con, to be in agreement with Estoy de acuerdo con la acción. I agree with the action.
estar de vuelta, to return Estaré de vuelta el próximo lunes. I’ll return next Monday.
estar para + infinitive, to be about to do something Estoy para terminar mi trabajo. I am about to finish my work.
estar por, to be in favor of Estoy por ir al teatro. I am for going to the theater.
estar sin + infinitive, to be without Las ventanas estaban sin lavar. The windows were not washed.
estarse, to stay Yo puedo estarme por una hora. I can stay for an hour.
estarse así , to be the same to one Así me estoy. It is all the same to me.
     
With haber, the basic meaning is to have to do something or to have a condition    
haber de + infinitive, to have to do something He de salir a las nueve. I have to leave at nine.
haber que, to be necessary Hay que estudiar . It is necessary to study.
haber sol, to be sunny Ayer, hubo sol todo el día. Yesterday, it was sunny all day.
          haber luna, to have moonlight    
          haber lodo, to be muddy    
          haber neblina, to be cloudy    
          haber polvo, to be dusty    
haberse con, to be up against, face Nos hemos con un problema grave. We face a grave problem.
     
With hacer, the basic meaning is to do, to make    
hacer buen o mal tiempo , to have good or bad weather Hoy hace buen tiempo. Today, we have good weather.
          hacer calor, to have or be hot weather Hace calor. It is hot.
          hacer frío, to have or be cold weather    
          hacer niebla, to have or be cloudy weather    
          hacer sol, to have or be sunny weather    
          hacer viento, to have or be windy weather    
hacer caso de , to pay attention Hize caso de las reglas. I paid attention to the rules.
hacer daño , to damage El viento hizo daño a las casas. The wind damaged the houses.
hacer de , to act as José hacía de jefe Joseph acted as the boss.
hacer el papel de , to play the role Ella hizo el papel de la reina. She played the queen.
hacer pedazos , to break into pieces Él hizo pedazos el record. He smashed the record.
hacer su agosto, to feather one’s nest Él hacía su agosto. He feathered his nest.
hacer una pregunta , to ask a question Le hice una pregunta. I asked him a question.
hacer un viaje , to take a trip Voy a hacer un viaje a Chile. I am going to take a trip to Chile.
hacer una visita , to pay a visit Vamos a hacer una visita a José. Let’s pay Joseph a visit.
hacer fiesta , to take a holiday Nosotros haremos fiesta en españa. We will holiday in Spain.
hacer mal a ~, to injure someone Ella hizo mal al esposo. She hurt her husband.
hacer saber , to make known Él hizo saber las reglas. He made the rules known.
hacerse , to become by effort Por estudiar, se hizo pianista. By studying, he became a pianist.
hacerse a , to get used to ¿Te has hecho ala idea? Have you gotten used to the idea?
hacerse con , to get hold of Él logró hacerse con una copia. He managed to get hold of a copy.
hacerse un lío , to get mixed up Se hizo un lío con los nombres. She mixed up the names.
     
ir a + infinitive, to be going to do something Voy a escribir. I am going to write.
The expression vamos a + infinitive is translated “Let’s + infinitive. Vamos a jugar. Let’s play.
     
With jugar, the basic meaning is to play, ~ around, ~ with, or ~ at    
jugar a favor de , to work in favor El juego jugaba a favor de nosotros. The play worked in our favor.
jugar a ser , to play at being something Ella juega a ser estrella. She’s playing at being a star.
jugar con , to play, toy, fiddle with   Él juega con el lápiz. He’s fiddling with the pencil.
jugar contra , to work against El sol jugaba contra de nosotros. The sun worked against us.
jugarse , to bet, stake Me jugaré diez dólares.    I will bet $10.
     
llamar a voces , to shout Te estaba llamando a voces.   I was shouting at you.
llamarse , to be named   Yo me llamo José. My name is Joseph.
     
With llegar, the basic meaning is to arrive at or in a place, to reach    
llegar a , to arrive at or in   Llegamos al aeropuerto. We arrived at the airport.
llegar a casa , to arrive, get home Llegó a casa a las diez. She got home at 10.
llegar hasta , to come up to El água me llegó hasta las rodillas. The water came up to my knees.
llegar al corazón , to touch the heart La película me llegó al corazón. The film touched my heart.
     
With llevar, the basic meaning is to carry or take    
llevar ~ a , to be older than María lleva diez años a él. Mary is ten years older than he.
llevar a cabo , to complete Los obreros ya llevan a cabo. The workers are already done.
llevar libros , to keep ledgers El contador lleva libros. The accountant keeps books.
llevar la ventaja a ~, to have an advantage Él lleva la ventaja a conocer el país. He has the advantage of knowing the country.
     
mantener + expression, to keep something Ella mantiene la linea.   She keeps her figure.
mantenerse + expression, to keep, stay Mantengase a la derecha. Keep to the right.
     
mentir por la barba , to lie through one’s teeth Miente por la barba. He’s lieing through his teeth.
     
With meter, the basic meaning is to put into action    
meter de cárcel , to be put into prison Le metió dos años de carcel. He was given two years in prison.
meter el acelerador , to accelerate ¡Meta el acelerador!   Step on it!
meter miedo , to scare someone El ruido metió miedo a ella. The noise scared her.
meter prisa , to hurry someone ¡No me metas prisa!   Don’t rush me!
meter ruido , to make noise El motor mete ruido. The engine makes noise.
meterse a , to become Ella se metió a monja. She became a nun.
meterse + infinitive, to start    Él metió a escribir una carta. He started to write a letter.
meterse en , to go into a place or condition Se metía en política. He got involved in politics.
     
morirse de + expression, to die of something (a person) Ella se murió de cáncer. She died of cancer.
morirse de + expression, to exaggerate a condition Me muero de hambre. I am dying of hunger.
morirse por , to be dying for something Me muero por una cerveza. I’m dying for a beer.
     
nacer para , to be born for something Nació para médico. He was born to be a doctor.
nacer con estrella , to be born under a lucky star    
nacer de , to spring from, originate La idea nace del libro. The idea comes from the book.
          nacer de pie , to be born lucky    
     
parar de + infinitive, to stop doing something Pavarotti nunca para de cantar. Pavarotti never stops singing.
parar en , to stay at a place Siempre paramos en el hotel Dorado. We always stay at the hotel Dorado.
     
pasar a + infinitive, to pick up someone Pasaré a buscarte a las dos. I will pick you up at two.
pasar de , to go beyond Esta pasa de ser humorosa. This goes beyond being humorous.
pasar por , to pass, go by some place Paso por aquí diariamente. I go by here daily.
     
pensar de , to think of ¿Qué piensas de este libro? What do you think of this book?
pensar en , to think about Pienso mucho en la idea. I think a lot about the idea.
     
poder con , to manage ¿Puedes con el peso? Can you manage the weight?
     
ponerse , to become Ayer, el se puso furioso. Yesterday, he became furious.
     
resultar que , to turn out Resultó que los Rojos ganaron. It turned out that the Reds won.
     
With tener, the basic meaning is to have in the sense of possession    
tener calor, to be hot Yo tenía calor y me quité el suéter. I was hot, and took off my sweater.
tener cuidado, to be careful ¡Tenga cuidado!   Be careful!
tener éxito, to be successful Los Yanquis tienen éxito. The Yankees are successful.
tener frío, to be cold El viento del norte tiene frío. The north wind is cold.
tener ganas, to be in the mood No tengo ganas de nadar. I don’t feel like swimming.
tener hambre, to be hungry Él siempre tiene hambre. He is always hungry.
tener la culpa, to be at fault   El capitán tenía la culpa. The captain was at fault.
tener miedo, to be afraid Yo tengo miedo de alturas.   I am afraid of heights.
tener pocas barbas , to be inexperienced Tiene pocas barbas. He’s inexperienced.
tener prisa , to be in a hurry Él siempre tiene prisa. He is always in a hurry.
tener que + infinitive, to have to do something Tengo que irme. I have to go.
tener razón, to be right El juez tiene razón. The judge is right.
tener sed, to be thirsty Tengo sed. I am thirsty.
tener sueño , to be sleepy Al fin del día, tengo sueño. At the end of the day, I am sleepy.
tener suerte, to be lucky Tenías suerte.   You were lucky.
tener vergüenza , to be ashamed El criminal tenía vergüenza.   The criminal was ashamed.
tratar de + infinitive, to try to do something Trato de aprender español. I am trying to learn Spanish.

 

This book is available from lulu.com under item number 3352644. Books purchased from Lulu are accompanied by a complete list of irregular verbs and all of their forms.                 

Chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Index

To send an electronic message to the webmaster, click here: