What are some popular/commonly used idiomatic phrases in Spain?
I’m actually not a fan of open-ended questions like this. I feel like they force me to lump together many expressions, in a rush, without being able to get into the nuances or give enough examples.
That said, I am not letting you go empty handed! Here’s one as Spanish as it gets:
El que [se] fue a Sevilla, perdió su silla.
He who went to Seville, lost his chair.
It’s used in a situation where a person was absent so they lost their place or chance. Since it’s a very known idiom, you’ll frequently hear just the first half – and saying it in full might even sound childish.
For example, it can be used when you literally lost your seat:
– Hey, ¡yo estaba sentado ahí!
– ¡Ya no! El que se fue a Sevilla…
– Hey, I was sitting there!
– Not anymore! You lost your seat.
But of course there are some metaphorical uses:
Estaba hablando con un chico muy mono, y fui a por una copa, y cuando volví me encontré otra chica hablando con él. No tendría que haberme ido, la que se fue a Sevilla…
I was talking to a very cute guy, and then I went for a drink, and when I came back I found another girl talking to him. I shouldn’t have left, I lost my opportunity.
Now, since this is a woman speaking, I changed the gender of the sentence to the femenine. I would do the same if I was using it to refer to a girl friend. But this is not something that everybody does, so do not be surprised if people use the original masculine version even when talking about women.
Here’s another example:
– Ya he vuelto, ¿está la jefa en su despacho ya?
– Sí, pero ahora está reunida con Pablo.
– Joder, el que fue a Sevilla…
– Hey, I’m back, is the boss in her office yet?
– Yeah but now she’s meeting with Pablo.
– Fuck, I left for one moment and…
Originally published in Talk like a Spaniard.