Top 20 most spoken words in Spanish

by Alison Maciejewski
January 12, 2021
man studying Top 20 most spoken words in Spanish

You’re searching the internet for the most spoken Spanish words. This tells us a few things about you. First, you are a Spanish learner. Second, you like to take shortcuts. No beginner classes. You want to skip straight to the important stuff. Other online Spanish lessons discourage moving past the basics.

At Lingoda we are different. Whatever motivates you to learn Spanish online is valid. We will give you what you want, as long as you promise to work on pronunciation.

Here are the top 20 most spoken words in Spanish and how to pronounce them correctly

Who decides the most spoken words in Spanish?

We talked about the Real Academia when we addressed “Ola ke ase” on the Lingoda blog before. The Real Academia Española is an institution dedicated to the Spanish language. It documents written and spoken Spanish for analysis and preservation. The body of words or Corpus de Referencia del Español Actual (CREA) includes text from books, magazines, and newspapers as well as radio and TV transcripts for over 30 years. They decide the most frequent words, including from spoken sources. 

Most spoken words in Spanish

We focus on pronunciation because the goal of speaking Spanish is to communicate with native speakers. We’ve covered 5 things Spanish people always say and 5 common Spanish pronunciation mistakes before. After that, it’s important to have correct pronunciation.

Here are the top twenty words with pronunciation tips for native English-speakers. 

  1. de – of/from (preposition) – say it with a soft “d” th-noise as in “the” or “those”
  2. la – the (feminine singular article) – say “lah” as in the musical note
  3. que – that/which (conjunction) – say “ke” becuase ue is a dipthong with a silent u
  4. el – the (masculine singular article) – say “el” without relaxing the tip of your tongue
  5. en – in/on (preposition) – say “en” making sure to pronounce the e vowel in a Spanish accent
  6. y – and (conjunction) – say “eeh” like the name of the letter “e” in English
  7. a – to/at (preposition) – say “ah” like the short vowel sound in “far”
  8. los – the (masculine plural article) – say short “lohs” with round o-lips; avoid dipping into “lows”
  9. se – oneself (reflexive pronoun) – say “seh” with a wide mouth; avoid relaxing the jaw into “say”
  10. del – from/the (preposition) – soft “d” again like in number one; say “thel” 
  11. las – the (feminine plural article) – say “lahs” with a stiff tongue and a short vowel 
  12. un – a/an (article) – say “oohn” like “moon” without the “m”
  13. por – by/for/through (preposition) – use a non-aspirated “p” and non-rolled “r” almost like “bohr”
  14. con – with (preposition) – say “kohn” with round o-lips; avoid the English word “cone” and don’t rhyme with “on”
  15. no – no/not (adverb) – say “noh” with round o-lips; avoid a trailing “ooh” noise from English pronunciation
  16. una – a/an/one (article) – similar to number 12 above; make sure your final “ah” is not “uh”
  17. su – his/her/its/your (possessive article) – say a short “su” with tight lips; avoid the name “Sue”
  18. para – for/to/in order to (preposition) – another non-aspirated “p” for “BAH-da” and review por vs. para in Spanish
  19. es – is (verb) – say “ehs” keeping the lips wide as in “fled” and ending the “s” immediately
  20. al – to the (preposition) – say “ah” with an “L” on the end; avoid “AL” like the nickname for Alan 

How to understand the most spoken words in Spanish

Speaking Spanish and listening to Spanish are two completely different skills. The different accents in Spanish can be hard for beginners. The best way to improve on these common words in Spanish is by listening to audio recordings. 

We recommend Spanish-language podcasts. They deal with contemporary topics where the most spoken Spanish words will pop up naturally. You will hear words from real life. Without images to fill in the blanks, your brain is 100% focused on auditory details. Plus, you will hear how to pronounce the most spoken words in Spanish directly from native speakers.

Slow and steady isn’t for everyone, even when it comes to #LanguageLearning. I’ve shared my tips on the best way to learn Spanish before. IMHO the fastest way to learn Spanish is to choose a Spanish dialect and go for full immersion. Some people move fast. If you are learning Spanish as fast as possible, you’ve come to the right place. Go for it.

Jump start your Spanish speaking skills. Register for a 7-day free trial with Lingoda today. 

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