Idiomatic Uses of Spanish Verbs  

Spanish Resources Spanish Idioms

Caer has several idiomatic uses:

  • Este vestido le cae bien: This dress fits her well.
  • Caer en gracia: To fall into the good graces of one.
  • La puerta cae a oriente: The door is on the east side.
  • Ya caigo, ya caigo en ello: Now I understand.
  • Caerse redondo: To fall flat.


  • Dar en el clavo (= acertar): To hit it, to get it right.
  • Dar por concedido: To grant for the sake of argument.
  • Lo doy por bueno: I consider it as good.
  • Dar los naipes: To deal cards.
  • Dar la enhorabuena, el pésame, los buenos días: To congratulate, to condole with, to wish good day.
  • Dar la hora: To strike the hour.
  • Dar en caprichos: To give oneself up to whims.
  • Dar en un error: To find an error.
  • Darse preso: To give oneself up.
  • Darse al estudio: To apply or devote oneself to study.
  • Dar a creer: To make believe.
  • Dar con una persona: To find or come across a person.
  • No se me da nada: I do not care a bit.
  • Ahí me las den todas: I do not care a bit.

Many other idioms are formed with dar for which a good dictionary should be consulted.

dejar de - to cease from, to omit, to fail to.

  • Dejemos de hablar: Let us cease talking.
  • Dejó de hacerme la remesa que me había prometido: He omitted (stopped) to send me the remittance he promised me.
  • No dejaré de ejecutar su orden: I shall not fail to execute your order.

Echar - to throw. Forms also many idioms for which the dictionary should be consulted:

  • Echar a correr, a reir, etc.: To start running, laughing, etc.
  • Echar a perder: To spoil, to ruin.
  • Echar de beber: To pour out drink.
  • Echar de ver: To perceive, to notice.
  • Esto se echa de ver: This is obvious.
  • Echar menos o de menos: To miss, to feel the want of.
  • Echar la llave, el cerrojo, la tranca: To lock, to bolt, to bar (the door).
  • Echar la culpa: To lay the blame.
  • Echar mano: To lay hold, to lay hands upon.
  • Echar un cigarillo, un puro: To smoke a cigarette, a cigar.

Estar - to be.

  • Estar en que: To be of opinion.
  • Estar por: To be in favour of.
  • Estar para: To be on the point of.
  • Estar por hacer: To be yet to be done.

Faltar - to fail, to be wanting.

  • Faltó a la promesa: He failed to his promise.
  • Me faltan cinco duros: I am short of five dollars.
"Me hacen falta cinco duros" is "I need five dollars."
Guardarse de - to take care, to guard against
It carries with it a negative meaning.
  • Me guardaré bien de hacerlo: I shall take care not to do it.
    ("I shall take care to do it" would be translated "cuidaré de hacerlo.")

hacerse - to become
ponerse - to become
volverse - to become
llegar a ser - to become
when this is not rendered by turning the English adjective into a verb, as:

  • Se hizo todo un inglés: He became quite an Englishman.
  • Se puso colorado: He became red in the face.
  • Se volvió loco de contento: He became mad with joy.
  • Llegó a ser famoso: He became famous.
  • Se enriqueció: He became rich.

hacer una cosa - to have a thing done.

  • Me hice enviar los bultos: I had the packages sent to me.
  • Hice escribir una carta: I had a letter written.

Llevar - to carry, to wear.

  • Llevar a mal: To take amiss.
  • Llevarse bien con todos: To get on with everybody.
  • Llevarse chasco: To be disappointed.
  • Llevar puesto: To wear.
  • Llévese usted estos valores: Take these securities with you.

Meter bulla - to make a noise, to shout, to clamour.

Volver - to return, i.e., to come or go again is used before an infinitive to denote a repetition of its action:

  • Volver a decir: To say again.
  • Decir otra vez: To say again.
  • Decir de nuevo: To say again.

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