Common Spanish Phrases...

Maxims and Aphorisms

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Maxims and aphorisms are pithy, often astute statements of principles, general truths and rules of conduct. Examples of such are the following common Spanish phrases...


Alcazar de Segovia
Enrique López Suárez

Sólo una vez se vive
We live only once
This Spanish sentence is used either to exhort to use time in the best way possible or to excuse oneself for an excess one is about to indulge in.

Querer es poder
Where there's a will there's a way

Rectificar es de sabios
To rectify is the way of the wise
An English sentence similar in meaning: A wise man changes his mind, a fool never
Upon discovering one has erred, the proper reaction is to strive to undo the damage.

Nunca des consejo al que no te lo pide
Don't give your advice before you're called upon
This sentence, attributed to Desiderius Erasmus, tells us not to believe we are cleverer than others and to abstain from giving advice except when explicitly asked for it.

Nadie da lo que no tiene
No one gives what he doesn´t have
No use demanding of others – or of one's self - more than they or we can give.

El sabio siempre quiere aprender, el ignorante siempre quiere enseñar
The wise always want to learn, the ignorant to teach
Pride and pretentiousness stand in the way of acquiring knowledge. The wise are humble and continuously learn ever more.

El hombre es el único animal que tropieza dos veces en la misma piedra
Man is the only animal to stumble twice on the same stone
Curiously enough, and in spite of our intelligence, all too often we fail to learn from experience.

El amor tiene razones que la razón no entiende
Love has reasons that reason does not understand
Doesn´t love have a funny way of overpowering reason?

Nadie puede ser juez y parte
Nobody can be judge in his own trial
Don't even hope to be an impartial judge when your own interests are at stake.

Los malos tragos hay que pasarlos pronto
If the drink is unappetizing, swallow it fast
Whenever you have an unpleasant task to tackle, don't procrastinate. Get it over and done with!

A los osados, favorece la fortuna
Fortune favors the daring
Prudence is no doubt a praiseworthy virtue. And yet...boldness will often take you farther.

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