If that’s a yes (and we hope it is!), then prepare to fall in love with Spanish!
We’ve gathered some of the most remarkable, inspiring, and life-affirming statements penned in Spanish. Joining the best Spanish language classes is the best means of becoming fluent in Spanish.
If you’re starting with Spanish or are rusty, don’t worry: all quotations include English translations.
1. “Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar” — Antonio Machado
English translation: There is no road; you make it as you go.
This quotation comes from one of Spain’s most celebrated writers of the ’98 generation (1898). Antonio Machado’s poetry is significantly impacted by his life experiences, particularly a terrible episode where he fell deeply in love with a young woman who died.
As a result, his poetry is sometimes dripping with sadness. Still, it also has an overarching love and passion for his nation and the individuals he encountered along the way. This phrase is from Machado’s book “Campos de Castilla” (“Fields of Castile”), Proverbios y Cantares (Proverbs and Cantos).
His works are regularly mentioned in pop culture, and his impact may be seen in cinema, literature, and even music. Furthermore, think of him as Spain’s George Orwell or Nathaniel Hawthorne: his work is in nearly every Spanish high school curriculum. If you ask any Spaniard if they’ve read Antonio Machado, you’ll get a grunt and a hesitant yes.
The phrase se have Camino, which translates to “a route is constructed,” is the most challenging section of this quotation for beginners. She uses the reflexive pronoun to make a passive sentence in this statement. It’s an impersonal form that frequently appears in Spanish.
2. “La muerte no existe, la gente solo muere cuando la olvidan; si puedes recordarme siempre estaré contigo” — Isabel Allende
Death has not existed; people only die when they are forgotten; I will always be with you if you remember me.
This statement is in Isabel Allende’s fantastic novel “Eva Luna.” Allende is one of Chile’s most provocative and dynamic current writers. Her personal life was a difficult journey fraught with losses and personal hardships, often mirrored in her works, after losing her daughter Paula to cancer and being politically exiled. “Eva Luna” is a profoundly inspirational book that any Spanish learner who likes literature should read.
Suppose you’re having problems deciphering the Spanish grammar in this statement. In that case, you should go over your Spanish pronouns and how they vary from Spanish articles.
3. “Es feliz el que soñando, muere. Desgraciado el que muera sin soñar” — Rosalía De Castro
The one who dies while dreaming is joyful, in English. The person who dies without dreams is disgraced.
While my translation does not do this extraordinary remark justice, I’m sure you get the point. It’s all about being happy and following your ambitions to the finish.
While this poet is well known for her works in Galician, her works in Castellano (Castillian) are as beautiful. Rosalia de Castro is today regarded as a feminist heroine and a literary hero in both Galicia and Spain for her commitment to her languages and people.
4. “Nunca tendré compasión por los que no supieron morir a tiempo” — Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (El Cid Campeador)
I will never sympathize with individuals who do not die on time in English.
While the English translation may be overly literal, the historical significance will illuminate El Cid Campeador’s simple aim. The quote takes on a new meaning when you read about El Cid’s bravery and dedication (particularly to his horse).
Morir a tiempo (to die on time) may be more accurately translated as “to die when you’re intended to” and, in this situation, “standing up for what you believe in.”
According to legend, El Cid won a fight with his corpse while riding his horse even after death. After witnessing a miraculous resurrection in front of their eyes, the Moors fled in horror, and the area was regained. Whether or not this indeed happened, it’s a terrific remark and an entertaining tale to learn about.
5. “Hay que sentir el pensamiento y pensar el sentimiento” — Miguel de UnamunoYou must feel your mind and think about your sensation in English.
Unamuno, a fellow member of the Generación del 98, worked in various literary genres and was regarded as a severe thinker during Spain’s volatile political periods in the early twentieth century. At first, he supported the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco but changed his mind after witnessing violence in his own country.
He made a rousing speech in front of Nazi followers, criticizing their views. This political backdrop may help interpret the above phrase, which is about carefully analyzing your viewpoint and following your genuine inner morals wherever they may lead you.
This quotation is also an excellent method to recall the ubiquitous Spanish phrase hay que (it is necessary). It is an example of periphrasis verbal (verbal periphrasis), a construction in which a conjugated verb is connected with a conjunction, followed by an infinitive, gerund, or participle. The word having generally indicates “to be” or “to have,” but hay que expresses obligation in this statement.
For example, You must learn Spanish. (You must learn Spanish/You must learn Spanish.)
6. “Aprender a dudar es aprender a pensar” — Octavio PazLearning to doubt is the same as learning to think.
In the same line as Miguel de Unamuno’s phrase, here is a thinking and feeling quote from one of Mexico’s most beloved poets. Octavio Paz was born in Mexico but served in the Spanish Civil War and led a vibrant life that included time spent in several places.
His remark is not only excellent guidance for living a happy life, but it is also a fantastic guideline to follow when learning a new language (Spanish, perhaps).
The Spanish infinitive has several applications, as seen by this passage.
In this situation, Aprender (to learn) has assumed the form of what we would call a -ing noun in English. Although “learning” would be appropriate in this situation in English, the gerund aprendiendo is incorrect in Spanish (learning). The verb should instead stay in its infinitive form.
7. “Un hombre solo tiene derecho de mirar a otro hacia abajo cuando tiene que ayudarlo a levantarse” — Gabriel García Márquez
English translation: A man should only look down on another when he has to lift them.
Gabriel Garcia Márquez, maybe Colombia’s finest modern writer, has woven mysticism, comedy, and passion into his literary masterpieces.
Márquez effectively twists the meaning of “to look down upon another” in this remark to encourage readers to think differently about those who view themselves as “better” than others.
Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s writing is filled with insightful social insights like these. While his books are well-known worldwide, his short tales should not be missed. Short tales are also a good resource for beginner Spanish learners since they expose them to real-world Spanish writing even if they aren’t ready to handle an entire novel.
8. “La incertidumbre es una margarita cuyos pétalos no se terminan jamás de deshojar” — Mario Vargas Llosa
Uncertainty is a flower whose petals you will never be able to remove thoroughly.
Mario Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian author whose works won the highest literary prize, the Nobel Prize, in 2010. Vargas Llosa’s moving works frequently criticize power systems.
This remark displays his lyrical flair with some challenging words, such as the verb deshojar (to tear off petals) and the noun margarita (daisy flower)—not to be confused with the renowned drink, of course. In cases like this, you can utilize an online dictionary like WordReference. Still, you’ll get more out of your Spanish reading activities if you first try to use context clues. You might be able to figure out deshojar if you know the Spanish term hojas (leaves or petals).
9. “El mundo hay que fabricárselo uno mismo, hay que crear peldaños que te suban, que te saquen del pozo. Hay que inventar la vida porque acaba siendo verdad” — Ana María Matute
English translation: You must construct your world: design the stairs that will lead you up and out of the well. You must invent life because it will ultimately become real.
What a way to end! We’ll close with a quotation that touches on creativity, desire, and conquering life’s challenges. While it’s a mouthful, this phrase is undeniably fantastic.
It also illustrates how Spanish writing is frequently more complicated than English, with lengthier sentence patterns and phrases separated by commas. Try reading this statement aloud! It’s acceptable to take a breather now and then when reading Spanish—you’ll need it! Slowing down will also allow you to enjoy the beauty of Spanish fully.
When it comes to studying Spanish, there is simply no path. You need to get out there and investigate on your own. What better place to start than with the magnificent collection of poetry, books, and history at your disposal? Have a good time!