Understanding the Spanish Idiom: "ir a la par" - Meaning, Origins, and Usage

Idiom language: Spanish

Ir a la par is often translated as “to go hand in hand” or “to be on equal footing.” However, its true meaning extends beyond these simple translations. The phrase refers to two or more things moving together in harmony, without one being ahead or behind the other. It implies equality, balance, and cooperation between different entities.

Origins and Usage of “Ir A La Par”

The origins of this idiom are unclear, but it has been used in Spain for centuries. It can refer to various situations where two or more things need to move together harmoniously. For example, it can describe a business partnership where both parties have equal say in decision-making processes. It can also refer to sports teams working together towards a common goal without any individual player dominating the others.

Origins and Historical Context of the Spanish Idiom “ir a la par”

The idiom ir a la par is a common expression in the Spanish language that has been used for centuries. Its origins can be traced back to medieval times when Spain was under Islamic rule, and Arabic words and phrases were incorporated into the Spanish language.

The phrase ir a la par literally translates to “go at the same pace,” but its meaning goes beyond just physical movement. It is often used to describe situations where two or more things are happening simultaneously or are in sync with each other. The idiom is also used to express equality, balance, and harmony between different elements.

Throughout history, this expression has been used in various contexts such as politics, economics, sports, and relationships. In political discourse, it has been used to describe alliances between countries or political parties that share similar goals or interests. In economics, it has been used to describe the relationship between supply and demand or inflation rates. In sports, it has been used to describe teams that have equal chances of winning a game.

Understanding the historical context of this idiom helps us appreciate its significance in modern-day Spanish communication. It reflects the cultural values of balance and harmony that have shaped Spain’s history and society over time.

Usage and Variations of the Spanish Idiom “ir a la par”


The most common usage of ir a la par is to describe two or more things that are happening simultaneously or at the same pace. For example, you might say “El crecimiento económico y el aumento del empleo van a la par en este país” (Economic growth and employment increase go hand in hand in this country). This means that as economic growth increases, so does employment.

Another way to use this idiom is to describe two people who have similar opinions or ideas about something. For instance, you could say Juan y Pedro siempre van a la par en cuanto al fútbol (Juan and Pedro always see eye-to-eye when it comes to soccer).


There are several variations of this idiom that are commonly used in Spanish. One variation is estar a la par, which means to be equal or on the same level as someone else. For example, you might say “La empresa de Juan está a la par con las empresas más grandes del sector” (Juan’s company is on equal footing with the biggest companies in the industry).

Another variation is llevar algo/a alguien a la par, which means to bring something/someone along at the same pace as something/someone else. For instance, you could say “Los corredores llevaron a la par al líder de la carrera” (The runners kept pace with the race leader).

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Cultural Insights for the Spanish Idiom “ir a la par”

Synonyms: Some common synonyms for ir a la par include “marchar al mismo ritmo” (to march to the same rhythm), “avanzar juntos” (to advance together), and “progresar simultáneamente” (to progress simultaneously).

Antonyms: On the other hand, some antonyms for this idiom could be phrases like estar desincronizados (to be out of sync) or “llevar un ritmo diferente” (to have a different rhythm).

Cultural Insights: In Spanish-speaking cultures, it’s important to maintain harmony and unity within groups. The use of idioms like ir a la par reflects this value by emphasizing the importance of working together towards a common goal. Additionally, this idiom can also be used in personal relationships to describe couples who are moving forward at the same pace.

Practical Exercises for the Spanish Idiom “ir a la par”

In order to fully grasp the meaning of the Spanish idiom ir a la par, it’s important to practice using it in different contexts. Here are some practical exercises that will help you understand how to use this expression:

Exercise 1:

Write down five sentences using ir a la par in different contexts. For example:

  • The economy and unemployment rates often go hand in hand – La economía y las tasas de desempleo suelen ir a la par.
  • In order for our team to succeed, we need everyone’s skills and efforts to be aligned – Para que nuestro equipo tenga éxito, necesitamos que las habilidades y esfuerzos de todos vayan a la par.

Exercise 2:

Watch a Spanish-language news segment or read an article online. Identify any instances where ir a la par is used and write them down. Then, try to translate those sentences into English while maintaining the original meaning of the expression.

Exercise 3:

Create your own dialogue between two people using ir a la par. Make sure each person uses the expression at least once and that their conversation revolves around something that requires coordination or alignment.

Note: These exercises are meant to supplement your understanding of ir a la par. It’s important to continue practicing with native speakers and reading/listening to authentic materials in order to fully master this idiom.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the Spanish Idiom “ir a la par”

When using idioms in any language, it’s important to understand their meanings and usage. The Spanish idiom ir a la par is no exception. This phrase is commonly used in Spain and Latin America to express the idea of two or more things happening at the same time or being equal in importance. However, there are some common mistakes that non-native speakers make when trying to use this idiom.

Mistake 1: Literal Translation

The first mistake that people often make when using ir a la par is taking its meaning too literally. While the literal translation of this phrase is “go at the same pace,” it’s important to remember that idioms don’t always translate directly from one language to another. In English, we might say “on par with” or “in line with” instead of using a direct translation.

Mistake 2: Overusing the Idiom

Another common mistake when using ir a la par is overusing it in conversation or writing. While this phrase can be useful for expressing certain ideas, it’s important not to rely on it too heavily. Instead, try mixing up your vocabulary by using other phrases and expressions that convey similar meanings.

Incorrect Usage: Correct Usage:
“Todos los equipos están yendo a la par.” “Todos los equipos están igualados en puntaje.”
“El proyecto está yendo bien porque todo va a la par.” “El proyecto está avanzando con éxito porque todas las partes involucradas trabajan juntas.”
“Mi nivel de español está yendo a la par con mi nivel de inglés.” “Estoy mejorando en español al mismo ritmo que en inglés.”

By avoiding these common mistakes and using ir a la par correctly, you can improve your Spanish language skills and communicate more effectively with native speakers.

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