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Spanish Expression of the Day: ‘¡Al grano!’

Here’s a short but sweet expression that will help you save time when talking to Spaniards. 

Spanish Expression of the Day: '¡Al grano!'
Ir al grano means to get straight to the point, to cut to the chase or to spit it out. Photo: Dan Burton/Unsplash

The word grano has many meanings in Spanish. 

It can refer to a grain, bean or seed, such as un grano de arroz (a grain of rice), un grano de café (a coffee bean) or un grano de mostaza (a mustard seed). 

It can also be used to speak about a zit or blemish that you get on your skin in the sense of acne, such as tengo un grano en la frente (I’ve got a spot on my forehead). 

There’s even the expression aportar tu granito de arena, which in the literal sense means to give your small grain of sand, but actually means to do your bit or to give your two cents. 

But in today’s Spanish Expression of the Day, we’ll focus on another very handy expression which includes the word grano al grano to be exact.

Ir al grano means to get straight to the point, to cut to the chase or to spit it out.

So if you want someone in Spain to stop beating about the bush with what they’re doing or saying and get to the nitty-gritty, this is the expression to use. 

Obviously it’s an informal expression which, just like in English, you should use with someone you know well and can afford to tell them to ‘get on with it!’. 


¡Deja de andarte por las ramas, hombre! Vete al grano y dime que te pasa.

Stop beating about the bush, man! Spit it out and tell me what’s up with you. 

¡Ya basta de andarse con rodeos! ¡Al grano!

Enough with the messing around! Get on with it!

Juan ha ido directo al grano y le ha dicho a María que está enamorado de ella.

Juan got straight to the point and told María that he is in love with her. 

For extra brownie points from your Spanish friends and family, you should learn the most famous lines of the catchy (and raunchy) 1991 hit Estoy Por Ti by Spanish pop duo Amistades Peligrosas, who sing: “Pero basta ya de tanta tontería, hoy voy ir al grano, te voy a meter mano” (Enough with all the silliness, today I’m cutting to the chase, I’m going to feel you up). 

Different times the nineties, we’re not so sure that today’s political correctness would have allowed the duo to cut to the chase and sing about their true intentions.

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Spanish Expression of the Day: Llueve sobre mojado

Rain may often be welcome in Spain, but this commonly used Spanish expression isn’t quite so optimistic. 

Spanish Expression of the Day: Llueve sobre mojado

Llover is the verb ‘to rain’ in Spanish, and lluvia is the noun ‘rain’.

Even though rain may not be as common as in other European countries, there’s certainly a whole host of expressions to do with precipitation. 

READ MORE: Ten phrases to talk about cold and wet weather like a true Spaniard

But one expression which is used in Spain often and which we haven’t covered yet is llueve sobre mojado

Its literal meaning is ‘it rains on what’s already wet’, in the sense of it’s raining where it’s already been raining. 

You’ll often hear Spanish meteorologists say it when talking about ongoing bad or rainy weather. 

However, it has another more common metaphorical use. 

This is to imply that when one bad thing happens, others tend to follow it. 

In that sense it’s a bit like saying ‘when it rains it pours’ in English.

However, it can also be used to say that a bad situation hasn’t changed, it continues to be difficult, it’s more of the same, it’s one thing after another. 

Popular Spanish singer-songwriter Joaquín Sabina has a famous song called Llueve sobre mojado, which goes:

Hay una lágrima en el fondo del río (There’s a teardrop at the bottom of the river)

De los desperados (of the desperate ones)

Adán y Eva no se adaptan al frío (Adam and Eve don’t get used to the cold)

Llueve sobre mojado (It’s one thing after another)

Interestingly, Spanish has other expressions to do with water which are used to describe tough situations.

For example, there’s la gota que colmó el vaso, which is like ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ but translates literally as ‘the drop which filled the glass to the brim’.

There’s also estar con el agua al cuello (to be in dire straits or literally ‘with water up to your neck).


¿Han mejorado las cosas? – Have things improved?

¡Qué va! Llueve sobre mojado – Not at all! More of the same. 

Paco no levanta cabeza. Llueve sobre mojado. 

Paco can’t catch a break. It one thing after another. 

READ ALSO: Ten very useful Spanish expressions with the word ‘water’