Portuguese Language Expressions #3

The Portuguese Language Expression of this week is “Quem tem boca vai a Roma”, which in English should be something like: “Who has a mouth goes to Rome”.

This expression means that those who ask questions and are not afraid to express themselves can go anywhere in the world. In English that expression seems a bit more clear and objective, however both sentences have the same meaning. Let’s see an example:

Embora Jorge não soubesse onde se encontrava naquele momento, estava tranquilo, pois quem tem boca vai a Roma.

That proverb has also another version which is not correct, even though many may claim the contrary: “quem tem boca vaia Roma”. According to the website Ciberdúvidas da Língua Portuguesa, many references in old texts lead us to think that there has always been a sense of movement (ir a) and not the sense of booing (vaiar). Furthermore, the variants of this proverb also indicate the same thing: «Quem tem língua vai a Roma»; «Quem língua tem a Roma vai e de Roma vem»; «Quem tem língua a Roma vai e vem».

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