This lesson explores Spanish idioms, or phrases, used to talk about the weather. Emphasis is placed on translating ideas and phrases rather than translating each word from one language to another.
What are Idioms?
It's raining cats and dogs. Can you imagine saying this to someone who doesn't speak English as their first language? They might not understand that this is an idiom we have to describe a torrential downpour. On the other hand, an English speaker probably wouldn't understand the Spanish idiom Está lloviendo a cántaros (Literally, 'It's raining pitchers,' but it means 'It's pouring.') An idiom is a phrase whose meaning is not easily predicted by analyzing its literal meaning. In this lesson, we will look at some idioms used to describe the weather, and we will explore the concept of translating words versus ideas.
Weather Idioms Using 'Hacer'
In Spanish, there are many idioms that describe the weather using the verb hacer, which means to make or to do.
Hace sol. (It's sunny.)
Hace frío. (It's cold.)
Hace viento. (It's windy.)
If we translate these phrases literally, they mean 'it makes sun,' 'it makes cold,' and 'it makes wind.'
Translating literally may lead us to imagine an assembly line where the weather is made. Generally speaking, it is not a great idea to translate literally - or word by word - from one language to another. A better idea is to learn the idioms as set phrases, which then translate to an idea.
Let's look at the weather phrases that include the verb hacer.
It's sunny. Hace sol.
It's hot. Hace calor.
It's cold. Hace frío.
It's windy. Hace viento.
It's cool. Hace fresco.
When speaking generally about nice weather, we can say 'Hace buen tiempo,' or if the weather outside is pretty bad, we would then say 'Hace mal tiempo.'
Weather Idioms Using 'Llover' and 'Nevar'
Sometimes to say the weather in Spanish, we simply conjugate the correct verb. For example, llover means to rain. If we wanted to say, 'It rains a lot in Florida during the summer,' we would say Llueve mucho en Florida durante el verano.
We use the verb nevar (to snow) in the same way. Nieva mucho en Minnesota durante el invierno. It snows a lot in Minnesota in the winter.
Weather Idioms Using 'Estar' and 'Hay'
Another way to construct sentences about the weather is with the verb estar (to be).
It's cloudy. Está nublado.
To say it's foggy; we use hay. Hay niebla.
Review of Weather Idioms
It's really just a matter of getting familiar with each phrase to describe the weather, as opposed to translating from English to Spanish. Let's look at the seven-day forecast as we review the weather. Try saying the phrase as we go through each day's weather.
El lunes, hace buen tiempo. = On Monday, it's a nice day.
El martes, hace calor y hace sol. = On Tuesday, it's hot and it's sunny.
El miércoles, bajan las temperaturas. Hace fresco y hace viento. = On Wednesday, the temperatures drop. It's cool and windy.
El jueves, hace frío y nieva. = On Thursday, it's cold and it's snowing.
El viernes, hay niebla. = On Friday, it's foggy.
El sábado, está nublado y llueve. = On Saturday, it's cloudy and it's raining.
El domingo, hace mal tiempo. = On Sunday, there will be bad weather.
So remember, if you want to tell your friends it's raining cats and dogs, don't translate! Instead, use the Spanish idiom: ¡Está lloviendo a cántaros!
When you have finished this video, you should know that when it comes to idioms, word by word translation does not work as well as learning the appropriate phrases.