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Échale ganas — Meaning, Context & Examples

Échale ganas — Meaning, Context & Examples

Slang is an integral part of any language.

Every country, no matter what language they speak, has unique slang and expressions.

Generation after generation, Mexicans have created tons of expressions to refer to many different situations and life lessons. 

“Échale ganas” is an expression commonly used in the country, and while at times it may get a bit lost in translation, because of wordplay or language-specific double entendre, the examples and explanations given here will make it easier to grasp the real meaning of this Mexican expression.


What does “Échale ganas” mean in Spanish?  

In Mexican slang, “Échale ganas”, literally means to “give your all”. It is meant to be expressed as a motivational phrase to put all your effort and energy into something. It Is usually expressed when a person is in a low mood or feeling unmotivated about something. 


The parts of “Échale ganas”

It is made up of the verb “Echar” which has many possible translations depending on the content. “Echar” means to “move something from one point to the other”.

In the context of “Échale ganas” where it is used as an idiom it is understood as “to throw/give your all”. 

Meanwhile, “ganas” is a verb that expresses to “want” or have an “urge” to do something or be in the mood to “feel like” doing something.

Therefore “Échale ganas, is gving “ganas” or that “want” to move forward with something. When you have “ganas” you definitely always feel motivated to do something. 


The phrase “Échale ganas”

In a way, it is saying “move forward and don’t lose hope” but without very precise words.

That is why, even though it can be said with the best intention in mind, due to its ambiguity, the opposite effect of uplifting can therefore be caused. 

Some people say that it should not be used as it can cause more harm than good and not give clear direction on what you mean when you say it.

In a way, it is very similar to another Spanish expression, Ponte las pilas”.

Sometimes, this can happen because it can be taken as an expression that may not do much to improve a mood as it is implicitly letting the person know that their efforts have not been enough.

It can be taken as lukewarm advice without really helping to give a solution other than “give it your all”.

It is telling the person to put in the effort and do better. 

However, it is important to keep in mind that the ultimate way it will be received by the other person will be how close you are to them, in what tone you are delivering it and if you follow up with anything else. 

In Mexico, it is a phrase that you will hear throughout the whole country and therefore it is useful now that you know what it means and where to use it. 


How to use “Échale ganas”?

Some reasons that apply to why people say “Échale ganas” are:

  • They are being courteous or polite
  • They think it’s better than saying nothing
  • They are not sure of what else to say to motivate the other person
  • They are trying to give a quick word of motivation and move on


Some reasons that apply to situations where “Échale ganas” is said:

  • A person is feeling sad
  • A person is feeling demotivated 
  • A person doesn’t want to do something
  • A person is feeling confused or unsure about a relationship 
  • A person is being lazy
  • A person is worried


As you can see, the phrase “Échale ganas” can truly be applied to every area of life. It is very versatile and can make or break a situation depending how you apply it and what other words you use (or not) to fuel it with. 

Here are some examples of situations it can be used in and their translations/explanations:


At School

When a parent is trying to motivate their children to put more effort into their homework in order to pass exams or the semester.


Todavía puedes pasar el semestre. Èchale ganas. 

You still can pass the semester. Give it your all!


Échale ganas a la escuela.

You have to give it your all at school.


In Relationships 

When a friend is sad or feeling low about a relationship and they are looking for advice and a word of encouragement.



No sé qué hacer con mi pareja, siento que ya nada funciona para mejorar la situación. 

I don’t know what to do about my partner, I feel like nothing is working to better the situation. 


No te preocupes, échale ganas y todo saldrá bien. 

Don’t worry, give it your all and all will turn out well. 


At Work

When a colleague expresses concern or is worried about their status in their  job or company and want some direction as to what to do. 



Creo que la nueva jefa me quiere correr. 

I think that the new boss wants to fire me.


Tu solamente tienes que écharle ganas al trabajo y no darte por vencido. 

You just have to give it your all at work and don’t give up. 


When someone is being lazy

When someone is really not doing enough to better their situation and need a call to action. 



Ya es hora que dejes de procrastinar y le éches ganas. Ya fue suficiente. 

It’s about time you stop procrastinating and give it your all. It’s been enough.


In Sports

When a team or player did not put all their efforts into the game and you want to express how they could have been better. 



El equipo de plano no le écho nada de ganas, por eso perdieron. 

The team literally did not give it their all, that is why they lost.


In Life

When somebody doesn’t know what to do in life or is just feeling demotivated without direction and they need to make an effort to solve their problems.



Ya no se qué hacer de mi vida.

I don’t know what to do about my life anymore. 


Recuerda que solamente se trata de écharle muchas ganas.

Remember that it is only about really giving it your all.