Spanish Language Blog

Spanish Set Expressions: You’re in Good Hands (I) Posted by on Sep 15, 2016 in Spanish Culture, Spanish Vocabulary

In the process of acquiring any foreign language the importance of set expressions cannot be underestimated. You have to invest time in learning and implementing these expressions if you want  to sound more natural and also to understand the natives better. Spanish has many of these expressions and today we will practice those related to the word “hand”, la mano. The title for this post declares: Estás en buenas manos.

Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay

Estar en buenas manos (to be in good hands) – this one couldn’t be easier, the expression is translated word for word and carries the same meaning.

Example: No te preocupes. Con ella estás en buenas manos. (Don’t worry. With her you’re in good hands).

Pillar (Spain)/ Agarrar (LatAm) con las manos en la masa (to catch someone with their hands on the dough) – A very graphic representation of the moment when you discover someone doing what they shouldn’t be doing.

Example: No disimules, no tiene sentido si te agarré con las manos en la masa. (Don’t pretend you didn’t, it’s useless since I caught you with your hands on the dough).

Se puede contar con los dedos de una mano (You can count them with your fingers [lit. with the fingers of one hand]) – To say something was done very few times, less than five, to be more precise.

Example: Puedo contar con los dedos de una mano cuántas veces me ayudaste a lavar los platos. (I can count with the fingers of one hand how many times you’ve helped me do the dishes).

Le das la mano y te toma/agarra el brazo (You give them your hand and they grab your arm) – This is also very graphic: you offer your help to someone and they take advantage of the situation beyond what you expected.

Example: Juan es terrible. Cada vez que le das la mano, te agarra el brazo. (John is terrible. Every time you give him a hand, he grabs your arm).

Lavarse las manos (To wash one’s hands [of something or someone]) – As Pontius Pilate with the problems the Romans had to face with the appearance of Jesus Christ, to end all involvement with someone or something.

Example:  Como jefe deja mucho que desear. Si hay un asunto complicado, se lava las manos. (As a boss, he could be much better. When facing difficult issues, he washes his hands of them.



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About the Author: Paula

Born in Buenos Aires, living in Barcelona, I mostly write about cultural topics in Spanish from Spain and Latin America.


  1. Angeline Lallathin:

    I love that this pointed out some expressions that you most often will hear. In my travels to Mexico so far, I have learned that there are so many expressions that don’t often translate but definitely you would need to know! I would be interested in seeing them by country and I know that things vary from Spanish countries and also within the regions. I also find it funny when things just click as I have been learning Spanish for quite sometime now. It’s my current topic for my blog! thanks for sharing!