Spanish Idioms for the DELE Exam

spanish idioms dele exam

If you have the DELE exam coming up then you’ll already know that the DELE is split into four sections: reading, listening, writing an speaking. (If you want to learn more about the DELE exam read our commonly asked questions here.) And the one people are normally most nervous for is the speaking exam. Normally, not because they can’t speak well, but because it just seems so daunting.

If you have the DELE speaking exam coming up, then you’re probably already practising the different sections, but you may also be looking for ways to improve your grade even more.

A great way to get higher marks in the oral section of the DELE exam is to include idioms. Now obviously we don’t mean for you to learn ten and try and stick them all in because that’s not a natural way of speaking in any language and part of the marking for the DELE exam is how naturally you speak.

However, if you can learn one or two relevant idioms and work them into the speaking part of your DELE exam, then that is going to count for extra points. We have selected some great Spanish idioms that we think would be perfect for the DELE exam and we’ve explained how you can use them.

Check out the best Spanish textbooks to help you with the DELE exam.

Spanish Idioms For The DELE Exam

IMPORTANT: Make sure the idiom you’re using fits the task and don’t use it unnaturally. Different DELE levels have different tasks that require different things from you. So make sure it fits and makes sense, or it could hurt your overall grade.

Estoy entre dos aguas

I’m in between two waters

This is our favourite expression for the DELE and it means to be on the fence.

Depending on the level you’re taking, you’ll probably be asked to compare things, or to give your opinion on different suggestions to a problem. If you’re in this kind of situation, then this is a really natural way to tell the examiner you’re on the fence, before you explain in detail the advantages and disadvantages.

Ser como echar agua al mar

It’s like throwing water into the sea

This would translate most closely to the English phrase, it’s a drop in the ocean, which almost means it’s pointless, you can’t achieve anything by it.

Again this phrase could be useful when talking about proposed solutions to different problems. You may like a suggestion but you don’t think it can change anything and you could use this suggestion here.

Un arma de doble filo

A double edged sword

This phrase has the same meaning as the English expression, but in case you’re unfamiliar with it, a double edged sword is something that can have both positive and negative consequences.

Again, this would be a great idiom to use when talking about suggestions to a problem. You could talk about although there are advantages to the suggestion, it also poses disadvantages, like a double edged sword

Al Mal Tiempo Buena Cara

In English, this phrase translates to when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, which is another of saying to make the best out of a bad situation.

This could be a good one to use for the picture task of the DELE. If you get a picture to talk about, and the people seem to be in a difficult situation, you could use this phrase to express that you think they should try and make the best out of the situation.

Dar la vuelta a la tortilla

to flip the omelette

This is used to describe when a situation changes rapidly. You can use this idiom in you DELE exam when you’re describing the picture. If you’re describing what it happening you can use this phrase to indicate that next you think the situation is giong to reverse and then you can explain what is going to happen next.

Sin pelos en la lengua

Without hair on the tongue

This indicates that someone does not like to mince words. In the DELE if you have a picture where soeone is having an argument or they look like they’re speaking very directly, then you may want to use this phrase to express that that person doesn’t like to mince their words and instead says it as it is.

Ser pan comido

It’s a piece of cake

This phrase is used to indicate that something is very easy. You could use this phrase in the DELE exam in the picture section, for example if two people are attempting to do a task and the task looks easy you could express this with the phrase ‘ser pan comido.’

IMPORTANT: The phrases have all been given in the infinitive. Remember to conjugate them appropriately and not just repeat the phrase exactly as you see it. For example if a task is a piece of cake, you would say ‘es pan comido’ and not ‘ser pan comido.’

Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve enjoyed our useful Spanish idioms for the DELE exam. Are there any other idioms that you think could be useful for someone taking the DELE? If so tell us what they are in the comments below.

Or have you yourself taken the DELE exam and would like to share your experiences? Remember we’re always interested in hearing what you have to say.

If you want to practise your Spanish reading skills in a more fun relaxed way, then check out our Spanish Graded Readers for FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Finally, if you do have the DELE coming up soon then we wish you the best of luck. The exam is tiring and can be difficult but it’s definitely worth it if you want to improve your Spanish fluency.

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