Spanish quotes 1 – Inspirational

Inspirational Spanish quotes motivational

Looking for inspirational quotes in Spanish?

Famous or inspirational quotes can be a great help when it comes to remembering new vocabulary.  Feel free to download these images or save them to Pinterest.

In this first series of Spanish quotes we’ve chosen a selection of inspirational phrases which you should find fairly easy to understand, whatever your level of Spanish.

We provide a translation for each quote and a brief explanation of grammar points where necessary. You can find more free resources in our Spanish vocabulary section.

One for the travellers

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  • Un viaje de diez mil kilómetros empieza con un sólo paso
    A journey of ten thousand kilometres starts with a single step. 

This quote is generally attributed to Buda, who probably didn’t speak Spanish, but you never know.  In any event, the quote is nice and simple, and a good example of the presente del indicativo.

One for the procrastinators among you

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  • Un deseo no cambia nada, una decisión lo cambia todo.
    A desire changes nothing, a decision changes everything. 

The Spanish pronoun ‘lo’ tends to pop up in unexpected places.  It has a variety of different uses, some of which are slightly mysterious. Watch out for our advanced class on Spanish pronouns where we’ll go into more detail on the uses of ‘lo’. ¡Es lo mínimo que podemos hacer!

If only…

famous phrases

  • No necesitas alas para volar, solo imaginación.
    You don’t need wings in order to fly, just imagination.  

If you’ve ever taken a flight with Ryan Air, you’ll know that this isn’t true!

Don’t give up!

aphorism spanish

  • Lo difícil no es llegar a la cima, sino jamás dejar de subir.
    The difficult thing isn’t reaching the summit, but to never stop climbing. 

This phrase provides another example of the use of ‘lo’. However, let’s concentrate on ‘dejar de’. This means to stop doing something, or to give something up.

  • Mi padre quiere dejar de fumar.
    My father wants to give up smoking.
  • No puedo dejar de reírme.
    I can’t stop laughing.

Notice how Spanish uses the infinitive form in many situations where English prefers the gerund (-ing)?

Move the masses

nice quote spanish

  • Una gota en el mar no es nada, ¿Pero y si todas las gotas se ponen de acuerdo?
    A drop in the ocean is nothing. But what if all the drops come to an agreement?

Wise words in an age of individualism. When you are writing Spanish, make sure you distinguish between:

  • sí – Yes
  • si – If

Notice that accent on the letter I?

Encouragment for students.

phrases in spanish 1

  • El aprendizaje es experiencia, todo lo demás es información.
    Learning is experience. Everything else is information. 

I’m not sure I agree with this, but heck, our graphic designer liked it!

Minutes v Moments

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  • La vida no se mide en minutos. Se mide en momentos.
    Life isn’t measured in minutes. It’s measured in moments. 

A great quote for fans of alliteration. Notice, too, how the reflexive verb ‘medirse’ is used? We’ll have a class on reflexive verbs ready later on in 2017. Sign up for the Hablarama newsletter and we’ll keep you posted whenever new classes are published.

Another Spanish quote for travellers

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  • El final de un camino es el inicio de uno nuevo.
    The end of one path is the start of a new one. 

The word ‘camino’ could be translated into English as either ‘path’, ‘track’, ‘trail’ or ‘unpaved road’.  Perhaps the most famous ‘camino’ in all of Spain is the Camino de Santiago which runs across the whole of northen Spain, ending in Santiago de Compostela, capital of the Spanish region of Galicia. An ancient pilgrims’ route, walkers can still stay free-of charge in church-run hostels along the way.

If Latin America is more your thing, then get yourself down to Cusco in Peru and walk the mythical Camino Inca (Inca Trail) to the ‘lost’ city of Machu Pichu.  Those Andes are pretty high, so make sure you acclimatise before your trek!

Was this one in Rocky?

positive quote spanish

  • Fracasar no es caer, fracasar es negarse a levantarse y seguir.
    Failure isn’t falling, failure is not getting up and continuing.  

This phrase provides yet another example of how the Spanish language just loves those infinitives. And did you notice the two reflexive verbs?: negarse & levantarse

Go with the flow

phrases and quotations

  • No puedes cambiar el viento, pero sí, ajustar las velas para llegar a tu destino.*
    You can’t change the wind, but you can adjust the sails in order to get to your destination.. 

We’ve seen this quote attributed to James Dean.  Anyone know if that’s true? Leave a comment at the bottom of the article!
* Yep, even our Spanish graphic designer gets confused sometimes. That ‘si’ should be ‘sí’ (as in YES).

More Spanish resources

If you’re looking for phrases which are a bit more useful in everyday life, then check out our section on Spanish Phrases. Alternatively, take a look at our Basic Spanish course, with loads of audio files featuring native Spanish speakers from Spain and Latin America.