The Most Useful Spanish Phrases for Beginners

by Jakob Straub
May 04, 2020
Spanish is a highly “oral” language, meaning conversation and verbal exchange play an important role in daily and social life. When learning Spanish as a beginner, you should therefore put great emphasis on learning to speak and understanding basic Spanish. A lot of simple communication in Spanish happens with short phrases and replies of often just a few words. Fortunately, you can therefore acquire basic language skills by learning a few key phrases, expressions, and words. We’ll give you an overview of useful Spanish phrases as well as essential vocabulary.

How to Say “Good Morning” in Spanish – and other useful Spanish phrases and words

Greetings

You can use the following simple Spanish phrases to greet someone formally and informally:

  • Good morning: Buenos días.
  • Good afternoon / good evening: Buenas tardes. 
  • Good night: Buenas noches.
  • Hello: ¡Hola!
  • Greetings: Saludos.

Being polite and social

With the following Spanish phrases, you can introduce yourself and ask after the well-being of someone else:

  • How are you? – ¿Cómo estás? (informal) – ¿Cómo está usted? (formal)
  • How are you? / What’s up? – ¿Qué tal?
  • How’s it going? – ¿Cómo te va?
  • What are you doing? – ¿Qué haces?
  • What’s going on? – ¿Qué pasa?
  • My name is… – Me llamo… – Mi nombre es… 
  • I am (from)… – Soy (de)… 

To reply and start a conversation, you can use these phrases:

  • Nice meeting you. – Mucho gusto. – Encantado/encantada
  • I am fine. – Estoy bien.
  • Good, thank you. – Bien, gracias.
  • Very well. – Muy bien.
  • So, so. – Así, así.
  • As always. – Como siempre.
  • And you? – ¿Y tú? (informal) – ¿Y usted? (formal)

Here are more polite expressions for conversation:

  • Thank you. Many Thanks. – ¡Gracias! – ¡Muchas Gracias!
  • You’re welcome! – ¡De nada!
  • Please (at the beginning or end of a request). – Por favor.
  • Excuse me. – ¡Perdon! – ¡Perdóname! – ¡Permiso! – ¡Disculpe!
  • I’m sorry! – ¡Lo siento!
  • Welcome! – ¡Bienvenido! / ¡Bienvenidos!
  • Congratulations! –  ¡Felicidades! – ¡Enhorabuena!
  • Enjoy! – ¡Disfruta!
  • Bon appetit! – ¡Buen provecho!
  • Cheers! / Bless you! – ¡Salud!
  • Happy Birthday! – ¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

Asking simple and common questions

These are the most common words to begin or ask a question in Spanish:

  • What…? – ¿Qué…?
  • Who…? – ¿Quién…?
  • When…? – ¿Cuándo…?
  • Where…? – ¿Dónde…?
  • Why…? – ¿Por qué…?
  • Which…? – ¿Cuál?
  • How…? – ¿Cómo…?

Here are more phrases for asking basic questions in Spanish:

  • What time is it? – ¿Qué hora es?
  • Where are you from? – ¿De dónde eres?
  • How much does it cost? – ¿Cuánto cuesta?
  • How do you say…? – ¿Cómo se dice…?
  • How do you call…? – ¿Cómo se llama…?
  • What does … mean ? – ¿Qué significa…?
  • Can you help me? – ¿Puede ayudarme?
  • Do you understand? – ¿Entiende?
  • Can you repeat? – ¿Puede repetirlo?
  • Can you speak slower? – ¿Puedes hablar más despacio?
  • In English? – ¿En inglés?
  • Do you speak English? – ¿Habla inglés?
  • Where is…? – ¿Dónde está…?

You can use these simple and common answers to reply to many questions:

  • Yes –
  • No – No
  • Maybe – Tal vez / Quizás
  • Always – Siempre
  • Never – Nunca
  • Of course – Claro
  • No problem! – ¡Sin problema! / ¡No problema!
  • I don’t understand. – No entiendo.
  • I don’t know (it). – No (lo) sé.
  • I don’t speak Spanish. – No hablo español.
  • I’m lost. – Estoy perdido.
  • I need help. – Necesito ayuda.

Useful in conversation and daily situations

Whether you want to order food or ask for directions, these phrases will help you navigate daily life in Spanish:

  • I need… – Necesito…
  • I would like… – Quisiera…
  • I like (I enjoy)… – Me gusta…
  • The check, please. – La cuenta, por favor.
  • Where’s the bathroom? – ¿Dónde está el baño?
  • I’m hungry / thirsty. – Tengo hambre / sed.
  • Breakfast – el desayuno
  • Lunch – el almuerzo
  • Dinner – la cena
  • Water – el agua
  • A coffee (with milk and sugar) – Un café (con leche y azúcar)
  • The soup – la sopa
  • The salad – la ensalada
  • The chicken – el pollo
  • The meat – la carne
  • Red / white wine – vino tinto / blanco
  • A beer – una cerveza
  • A ticket – un billete
  • When does the bus / train / plane arrive? – ¿A qué hora llega el bus / tren avión?
  • Where can I find a taxi? – ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un taxi?
  • Where is the (metro / train) station? – ¿Dónde está la estación de metro / tren?
  • Here – aquí
  • There – allí
  • On the right / left – a la derecha / izquierda
  • Straight ahead – derecho
  • At the corner (with) – en la esquina (con)

Saying goodbye

  • Goodbye: Adiós, Chao
  • See you later / soon: ¡Hasta luego!
  • See you tomorrow: ¡Hasta mañana!
  • See you, I’ll be seeing you: Nos vemos.
  • Have a good day: ¡Buen día!
  • Have a good trip: ¡Buen viaje!
  • Have a nice day: ¡Tenga un buen día!

The most frequent Spanish words

The Royal Spanish Academy, or Real Academia Española, has analyzed millions of word forms as used in written and spoken Spanish to compile a list of the most frequent words. Jump-start your Spanish vocabulary learning with these fifty most commonly used Spanish words.

ENGLISH

SPANISH

TYPE

of; from

de preposition
the (third person feminine singular pronoun) la article, pronoun
that, which que conjunction
the el article
in, on en preposition
and y conjunction
to, at a preposition
the (third person masculine direct object) los article, pronoun
-self, oneself (reflexive) se pronoun
from the del preposition
The (third person feminine direct object) las article, pronoun
a, an un article
by, for, through por preposition
with con preposition
no, not no adverb
a, an, one una article
his / her / its / your su possessive
for, to, in order to para preposition
is es verb
to the al preposition
the (third person masculine direct object) lo article, pronoun
like, as como conjunction
more más adjective
or o conjunction
but pero conjunction
your sus possessive
third person indirect object le pronoun
he / she / it has (done something) ha verb
me me pronoun
if, whether si conjunction
without sin preposition
on top of, over, about sobre preposition
this este adjective
already, still ya adverb
between entre preposition
when cuando conjunction
all, every todo adjective
this esta adjective
to be ser verb
they are, you are (pl.) son verb
two dos number
too, also, as well también adverb
was fue verb
I / he / she / it / there was había verb
was era verb
very muy adverb
years años noun

(masculine)

until hasta preposition
from, since desde preposition
is está

verb

 

 

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