It is possible that you have not realized the set phrases that you say a day. In fact, you are sure to say more than you are aware of right now. Set phrases are a fundamental part of everyday language since they help us to communicate better and to be able to convey an idea with just a few words.

Sometimes set phrases can be given a negative meaning since there are people who do not tolerate their use with a double meaning or to save money an explanation… although its use is quite comfortable.

These phrases are treasures of our language and if someone who does not speak Spanish tried to translate their meaning, they would simply… not understand anything! Because they are phrases that we understand, that we know their meaning and that say a lot in a few words.

The set phrases

A set phrase, it is an expression that is used without alteration in its content and that has a figurative sense. It is commonly used among people who belong to the same place because they are a linguistic community. These phrases are often used in the middle of sentences or a context that they fit in depending on what is happening at a given moment, such as: “’I’m going to knock on wood’ because I want to pass this exam” or also: “’Don’t rest on your laurels’ otherwise you’ll be late”.

The set phrases have fixed forms and words cannot be substituted because then they would lose all their meaning, Even if the words are synonyms. They must be said as they are and how the Spanish language has them, cataloged as set phrases.

Difference between set phrases and proverbs

Standard phrases do not have nothing to do with proverbs. Sayings, which should also be said as they are and should not change the words or synonyms because then they would lose their meaning, have a moral that set phrases do not have. Proverbs are used to exemplify and reinforce a specific statement.

Examples of proverbs:

  • “Do not look at the teeth of a gift horse”
  • “A skinny dog, everything is fleas”
  • “Who he has much, more comes to him”

Common phrases and its meaning for children

30 examples of set phrases

Next we are going to show you a selection n set phrases so you realize that you are more than likely to use them every day, and also what each one of them means.

  1. Have a salt shaker. A person who is funny.
  2. With you bread and onion. It means that with someone you love you don’t mind being poor as long as you’re by his side.
  3. Give a cat for free. When you have been deceived and made to believe that something is better than it really is.
  4. At the first opportunity. Person who takes advantage of the first opportunity to achieve something even if it is not morally accepted.
  5. Have the upper hand. When you have control of a specific situation.
  6. Like someone who doesn’t want the thing. Someone who hides so as not to raise suspicions when they do something that others don’t want them to do.
  7. Get out of hand. When someone loses control of a situation and it overflows.
  8. Having something on the tip of your tongue. You want to say a word you know but you can’t say it and you have to think hard to retrieve it from your memory.
  9. Add fuel to the fire. It means strengthening a conflictive situation by creating controversy.
  10. You are on the Moon of Valencia. It means that you are not where you are, that your mind is somewhere else, as if you were in the clouds
  11. Riding a chicken. When you start a fight without coming to mind with some physical or verbal violence.
  12. You’ve messed it up brown. It’s another way of saying that a chicken has been mounted, the meaning is the same as the previous point, although it could be understood with a little more aggressiveness.
  13. Cheats. When there is infidelity in a couple, that is, when a person is cheated on in a sentimental relationship with another.
  14. Take the hair. When he teases of another person or is deceived by telling a lie.
  15. Keep your mouth open. It is a way of saying that you have been surprised by something that has happened or that you have been saying.
  16. Spending a sleepless night. When you’ve stayed up all night without sleeping.
  17. Losing your mind. When a person is not in their right mind or behaves out of the ordinary.
  18. Cost an arm and a leg. It means that something has a very high price, it is I mean, it’s very expensive.
  19. Lend a hand. It is said that you lend a hand to someone when you help a person to do something.
  20. To kill the worm. It is used when you are hungry and snacks between meals (without it being the main meal) so that you are not so hungry when it is time for lunch or dinner. It is a way to satisfy hunger quickly.
  21. Meter la pata. It is used when a person has made a mistake or has made a mistake.
  22. Be in Babia. When a person is distracted, does not pay attention or seems absent.
  23. Not mince words. It is used when a person says things clearly and directly, in the vast majority of cases, without taking into account what others may think or feel about it.
  24. Talk through the elbows. It is used this expression when a person talks a lot and is not able to shut up even at times when they should.
  25. Put on your batteries. Put energy into something or a situation so that it can be done soon or find a solution to a problem.
  26. Have a salt shaker. It is used when a person has grace or people skills.
  27. Go to fry asparagus. It is said when someone in is bothering you a lot or you are fed up with someone else and you want to get away from him because he makes you feel bad.
  28. Iron the ear. It is used when you go to sleep because you are totally exhausted.
  29. Speaking truths like temples. It refers to a person who says things clearly, always with truths, regardless of whether or not it may offend someone. The truth always ahead.
  30. Be involved in the mess (or in the scrubbing). It is used when referring to a person who is always in trouble.

These are some set phrases that you probably use every day without realizing it. Now that you know what some of the more common ones are, you’ll probably notice when you say them or someone else pronounces them.