Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hablame al contado no en abonos

What I love about learning Spanish is that I have so much to learn. Everyday I use my Spanish I get the opportunity to learn something new. Today was one of those days.

Before I can explain what "Hablame al contado no en abonos" means, I have to explain a few things first.

"al contado" means to pay for something in cash - one lump sum payment. To pay in "abonos" means you're putting it on layaway, in other words, making payments.

Now that we have that bit of knowledge behind us, we can get down to the business of understanding our phrase.

At some point in time we've all had conversations with someone who stutters or perhaps for some reason is just having a hard time getting the words out. It might go something like this: "Lo que quiero decir es...bueno, es que, pues, este...". By the way, "este" in this context is the equivalent of "ummm...". I think you get the picture. In english we might say something like "just spit it out". In Spanish you could say "Hablame al contado no en abonos".

I'm guessing most of you are pretty quick on the draw and have already figured this out. But let's go ahead and take a closer look at things.

Remember "abonos" means to make payments, one at a time, which is exactly how our unfortunate stuttering friend is delivering his words. We're requesting that he speak to us "al contado" - tell us everything at once, not one painful word at time.

Personally, I found this pretty funny. While it may not be very useful, it will definitely make your Spanish sound very natural and authentic. You'll probably even get a few laughs and surprises out of your friends after you throw this out. I enjoy seeing the look on the faces of my amigos when I surprise them with a bit of Spanish they just aren't expecting to hear.

While I'm not entirely sure, I believe this may be a Mexicanism, but you can always ask your Spanish speaking friends wherever they happen to be from if they've heard this before. Or better yet you can use it and teach them something!

¡Hasta la proxima!


  1. Thanks Rodney. This is a new one for me. I haven't heard this yet where I live in Mexico but it may be used in other regions. Here people tend to use:

    "No me mareas. Háblame claro". ("Marear" is to make dizzy)


    "Dime la verdad. Háblame sin rodeos" (Don't beat around the bush").

    Or my favorite:

    "Escupe Lupe" (Spit it out Lupe).

  2. This is new for me too, as Abono in DR is Compost.

    For this phrase i have heard "No te rindas" = Dont stop/quit, or "Vamos al grano" = Get to the point/Spit it out"