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Ir Al Grano: Let's Get to the Point

If you want to say "Let's get to the point" in Spanish, you might say, "Vamos al grano." While the literal translation of this colloquial Spanish expression is "Let's get to the grain," ir al grano is used to convey the idea of getting to the substance of something, pushing aside all superfluous niceties. 


The noun grano in Spanish has a plethora of meanings, including "grain" (e.g., of cereal or sand), "kernel," "seed," "bean" (as in coffee), or "pimple" (a blemish on the skin). Let's take a look at some examples of these various uses:


Un grano de arena hace un ladrillo y un ladrillo hace un castillo

A grain of sand makes a brick and a brick makes a castle

Caption 32, Rivera Tras la tormenta

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Vamos a separar todos los granos que tienen imperfecciones.

We are going to separate all the beans that have imperfections.

Captions 9-10, Cacao - Leyenda de Quito, Ecuador Cómo se hace el chocolate.

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Note that the expression en grano, which means in its grain form, is also used for some common food items: 


un poco de elote en grano, acelgas, 

a bit of whole kernel corn, Swiss chard,

Caption 7, Osos en la cocina Venado y ensalada asada

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y lo que, eh... nos ayudó a... a dar el sabor también es achiote y, eh... sal en grano.

and what, um... also helped us to... to give [it] the flavor is achiote and, um... sea salt.

Captions 49-50, Otavalo Proyecto familiar Kawsaymi - Part 2

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However, beyond these traditional uses, the Spanish word grano appears in many idiomatic expressions, which, like in English, express ideas beyond their literal meanings. Let's first take a look at a couple of examples of the aformentioned expression: ir al grano (to get to the point):

Algo en tus labios color carmín

Something in your carmine lips

Sugiere que vayamos al grano

Suggests we get to the point

Captions 16-17, Babasónicos - Risa

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Sobre Alicia hablaremos en un momento, pero ahora vamos al grano.

We'll talk about Alicia in a minute, but now let's get to the point.

Caption 35, Negocios Problemas laborales - Part 3

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Note that alternative translations for this idiom in English might include: "Let's cut to the chase" and "Let's not beat around the bush."


Now, let's take a look at some other interesting idioms containing the word grano or its diminutive, granito:


Spanish expression: apartar el grano de la paja

Literal translation: to separate the seed head from the straw

English equivalent: to separate the wheat from the chaff

Meaning: to separate out what’s good or valuable from what isn’t 


Spanish expressionhacer una montaña de un grano de arena

Literal translation: to make a mountain out of a grain of sand

English equivalent: to make a mountain out of a molehill 

Meaning: to make a big deal out of nothing


Spanish expressionponer su granito de arena

Literal translation: to put in one's little grain of sand

English equivalents: to do one's bit/offer one's two cents/plant the seed 

Meaning: to contribute, offer one's opinion, or inspire something to begin


Let's take a look at some Yabla clips with this latter expression: 


Desde que mis padres pusieron el primer granito de arena en mi formación musical, yo he seguido preocupándome en cultivarla.

Ever since my parents planted the first seed in my musical training, I've kept being concerned with cultivating it.

Captions 2-4, Club de las ideas Antonio J. Calvillo, musicólogo

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o sea, tengo la intención de... de hacerlo, o poner mi granito de arena,

I mean, I have the intention to... to do it, or to do my part,

Caption 16, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Manuel Orozco Sánchez - Part 2

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As an interesting side note, the Spanish equivalent of the English idiom "to take with a grain of salt," which entails having skepticism about something, does not include the word grano. Instead, tomar con pinzas (to handle with tweezers), or the more literal tomar con reservas (take with reservations/have reservations about), are used to express this concept. 


That's all for now. We hope you have learned a lot about some literal and figurative uses of the word grano in Spanish and hope to bring you more interesting Spanish idioms and their English eqivalents in the future. In the meantime, don't forget to put in your granito de arena (suggestions and comments). 


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