Spanish Proverbs About Love & Life

Instructor: Elena Sacramento

Elena teaches Spanish as a foreign language and has a PhD in linguistics.

To speak Spanish like a native, you'll have to be able to understand common sayings and proverbs that can hardly be literally translated. Check out this lesson to learn some interesting Spanish proverbs about love and life.

What Are Proverbs?

Proverbs are short well-known sentences that give advice or refer to situations that are generally true. The Spanish language is full of creative and ingenious proverbs and wise sayings. Speakers use lots of them in daily conversations, for example, when telling an anecdote or a story or when giving advice to a relative or a friend.

Keep reading to find out the meaning of different proverbs about love and life that you might come across when overhearing Spanish speakers' conversations or reading magazines or books. You'll learn how to use them in context through a conversation among friends.

Proverbs about Love

Take a look at the following table, where you'll find some of the most popular love proverbs in Spanish. You'll see their literal translations and their English equivalents.

Spanish Literal translation English equivalent
El amor todo lo puede. Love everything can (survive). Love will find a way.
Del amor al odio hay un paso. From love to hate there's one step. There's a fine line between love
and hate.
El tiempo lo cura todo. Time cures everything. Time heals all wounds.
Un clavo saca otro clavo. A nail takes out another nail. In order to forget about a lost love,
you have to find someone else.

As you may have observed, some of these expressions are quite similar to their English equivalents, but their literal translations wouldn't make sense to most English native speakers.

Before moving on to the next section, think about the situations in which you might hear or say these sentences to a friend. Then, read the conversation below to check the use of these proverbs in a real-life context.

El tiempo lo cura todo: Time heals all wounds.
time

Example Conversation

Roberto is going through a rough patch. He's lost his job, and his girlfriend has broken up with him. Luckily, he's an optimist and has his friends to cheer him up. Let's hear them talking about this.

Roberto: No entiendo qué pasó con Marta, pero se ve que del amor al odio hay un paso. (I don't understand what happened with Marta, but it's shown that there's a fine line between love and hate.) Ahora no quiere ni verme. (Now she doesn't even want to see me.)

Nuria: El amor todo lo puede. (Love will find a way.) Si no aguantó los momentos difíciles, significa que no era amor verdadero. (If she couldn't go through the tough moments, it means that it wasn't true love.)

David: Tranquilo, Roberto, que el tiempo lo cura todo y en unos meses estarás bien. (Easy, Roberto, time heals all wounds and in a few months, you'll be fine.)

Nuria has another solution for Roberto's broken heart.

Nuria: ¿Recuerdas a mi amiga Paula? (Do you remember my friend Paula?) Viene al pueblo este fin de semana. (She's coming to town this weekend.) Si quieres te la presento y ¿quién sabe? (If you want, I can introduce you to her, and who knows?) Un clavo saca otro clavo. (You'll forget a lost love with a new one.)

Un clavo saca otro clavo means that you have to find someone new to forget about a lost love.
nail

Proverbs about Life

Now let's look at some frequently used proverbs about life.

Spanish Literal Translation English equivalent
Al mal tiempo buena cara. To bad weather good face. Look on the bright side./
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Más vale pájaro en mano
que ciento volando.
More is worth a bird in hand
than a hundred flying.
A bird in the hand
is worth two in the bush.
El que no arriesga no gana. The one that doesn't risk doesn't win. No pain, no gain.
De tal palo, tal astilla. Of such a stick, such a splinter. Like father, like son./
Like mother, like daughter.
El mundo es un pañuelo. The world is a handkerchief. It's a small world.
Estar a dos velas. To be at two candles. To be hard up.

Note: The expression De tal palo, tal astilla is invariable in Spanish, so we use the same sentence for both male and female referents. In the expression, estar a dos velas we have to conjugate the verb estar depending on the subject.

Like father, like son. / Like mother, like daughter.
mother

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