What better way to get into learning Spanish than to look at and interpret some of the best linguistic maestros to have ever spoken the Spanish tongue? From the Argentinean Jorge Luis Borges to the Spanish adventurer Don Quixote, there are many popular sayings and quotes from some very passionate and fluid writers.


Don_QuixoteTo start, let’s look at the aforementioned Don Quixote. He is a character from a book written by Miguel de Cervantes Saaverdra, titled ‘The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. Don makes it his mission to revive chivalry, along with his squire Sancho Panza, whom is known for his many sanchismos, quotes that use wit and humor and ironic Spanish proverbs. While there are many quotes, we shall look at only a few, to start:

“El que lee mucho y anda mucho, ve mucho y sabe mucho.” – He whom reads a lot and walks a lot, sees a lot and knows a lot.

“Es natural condición de las mujeres desdeñar a quien las quiere y amar a quien las aborrece” – It is a natural condition of women to disdain whose who want them and love those who hate them.

“Mientras se gana algo no se pierde nada” – As long as something is gained nothing is lost.

“Señor, una golondrina sola no hace verano” – Sir, one solitary swallow does not make a summer. (To mean that one instance of something does not make it a condition)

“Ladran Sancho, señal que cabalgamos” – Let the dogs bark Sanco, it is a sign that we’re moving forward. (To receive criticism is a sign that your doing something)



Jorge Luis Borges, born in Buenos Aires in 1899, is a famous writer of many short-stories, essays, and poems that continuously tackle themes from dreams, mirrors, labyrinths, libraries, animals, philosophy, god and more. He died in 1986 at the age of 86, but he left behind a body work that will not be soon forgotten, among which, are these quotes:

“No hables a menos que puedas mejorar el silencio.” – Don’t speak unless you can improve on silence.

“La literatura no es otra cosa que un sueño dirigido.” – Literature is nothing more than a directed dream.

“Hay que tener cuidado al elegir a los enemigos porque uno termina pareciéndose a ellos.” – One must choose one’s enemies carefully as one ends up resembling them.


picassoThese are two heavyweights of Spanish virtuosity, but there are of course many more; take for instance Pablo Picasso, who you might already know as a painter:

“Todo lo que puede ser imaginado es real.” – All that can be imagined is real.

“Para dibujar hay que cerrar los ojos y cantar.” – To paint one must shut one’s eyes and sing.

“Yo hago lo imposible, porque lo posible lo hace cualquiera.” – I do the impossible, because the possible anyone can do.


To finish off, I’ll leave you with a couple of other quotes by some other incredibly talented Spanish linguists:

“Hay un cierto placer en la locura, que solo el loco conoce” – There’s a certain pleasure in madness that only the madman knows – Pablo Neruda.

“Sólo un idiota puede ser totalmente feliz.” – Only an idiot can be totally happy – Mario Vargas Llosa.

“El que busca la verdad corre el riesgo de encontrarla” – Who searches for truth runs the risk of finding it. – Isabel Allende.


Can you think of any other well known or popular Spanish quotes and sayings? Have you read any of the material from the mentioned writers?