Making friends, chit-chatting and carrying on smooth conversations can be hard enough in your native language.
It might seem totally unrealistic to expect smooth, non-awkward conversations while learning Spanish.
Yet, you find yourself longing to connect to people, or at least to practice your speaking skills.
There is definitely a lot to be said about having some key Spanish phrases up your sleeve. Just think, when you’re traveling in a Spanish-speaking country or meeting Spanish speakers in your own country, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you have those all important phrases ready to ream off at any given time.
Whether you’re meeting people for the first time, eating out, telling the time, asking for directions or just trying to make conversation, it’s always useful to have a few solid Spanish phrases. What’s more, whilst learning and practicing those very phrases, you’ll be laying down solid foundations for your Spanish and building up lots of confidence along the way.
With all that in mind, we’ve developed a great list to help you get started. Below are some of the most common phrases for you to nail once and for all. It doesn’t matter how you learn them, whether it’s repeating them in front of the mirror, writing them on post-its or putting them into practice out in the real world (or using a combination of all three).
The important thing is to start moving on this now!
*Please note that the informal use of “you” in Spanish (“tú”) has been used below.
80+ Common Spanish Phrases to Help You Rock Any Social Situation
Greetings / Farewells
First impressions say a lot about a person. So, whether you’re already a pro at Spanish or just getting started, you’ll want to make sure you’re well-versed in how you greet others in Spanish. Also, in Latin culture, when you greet someone it can often be a bit of a ritual. There’s often hugging and cheek-kissing involved, along with numerous pleasantries. You’ll definitely want to get those hellos and goodbyes perfected before your next encounter!
Hello — ¡Hola!
Good morning / Good day — Buenos días
Good afternoon — Buenas tardes
Good evening / Good night — Buenas noches
Welcome! — ¡Bienvenida(o)!
Nice to meet you — Encantada(o) de conocerte, Mucho gusto
A pleasure — Un gusto
What is your name? — ¿Cómo te llamas?
My name is … — Me llamo…
Asking someone how they are
How are you? — ¿Cómo estás? / ¿Qué tal?
How have you been? — ¿Cómo has estado?
How’s it going? — ¿Cómo te va?
What’s up? — ¿Qué pasa?
Responding to someone asking how you are
Good, thanks — Bien, gracias
Very well — Muy bien
All good — Todo bien
Good, and you? — Bien ¿y tú?
Goodbye — Adiós
See you later — Hasta luego
See you — Nos vemos
Take care! — ¡Cuídate!
Getting to Know You
Once you’ve grasped your hellos and goodbyes in Spanish, there a few more phrases that will enable you to take your conversations a bit further with others. And so, here are a few useful, versatile phrases to ensure you keep your conversations flowing.
Where are you from? — ¿De dónde eres? (Spain and other Spanish speaking countries), ¿De dónde sos? (Argentina, Uruguay and countries where “vos” is used instead of “tú“)
I am from Ireland / England / the United States — Soy de Irlanda / Inglaterra / los Estados Unidos
I am Irish / English / American — Soy irlandés(a) / inglés(a) / estadounidense
What do you do (for work)? — ¿Qué haces? / ¿A qué te dedicas?
I’m a lawyer / teacher / student — Soy abogado(a) / profesor(a) / estudiante
What do you like to do in your free time? — ¿Qué te gusta hacer en tu tiempo libre?
I like to watch movies / to read / to dance — Me gusta ver películas / leer / bailar
What’s your favorite movie / book/ band? ¿Cuál es tu película favorita / libro favorito / banda favorita?
My favorite movie / book / band is … — Mi película favorita / libro favorito / banda favorita es…
If you get stuck, there are also a few simpler questions that can be used as bridges between gaps in conversations. They’ll buy you some time when you’re thinking of how to respond in Spanish! The following questions are the most commonly used:
Why? — ¿Por qué?
Why? (for what purpose) — ¿Para qué?
Who? — ¿Quién?
What? — ¿Cómo? ¿Qué?
Which? — ¿Cuál?
Seriously? — ¿En serio?
Click here for further phrases to use when you’re caught up in small talk.
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Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
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Telling the Time
Being able to ask someone the time—or respond to someone asking you the time—is essential when learning Spanish. Stopping a stranger to ask them the time is a great excuse to start a conversation, too. Here’s a rundown of the most well-known ways in which to do so:
What time is it? — ¿Qué hora es?
It is 1 o’clock — Es la una*
It is 8 o’clock — Son las ocho
It is half past five — Son las cinco y media
It is quarter to eleven — Son las once menos cuarto
*Note that only the number one (“una”) uses the verb ‘es’ (singular) to tell the time. All the other numbers use ‘son’ (plural).
When visiting a Spanish-speaking country, having a grasp of some key words or phrases to help you find your way around will always come in handy. Below are some often used phrases to help you with such eventualities. You’ll learn how to navigate a busy city street, a restaurant, the bar counter and public transportation systems.
I’m lost — Estoy perdido(a)
Where is the bus station/bank/supermarket? — ¿Dónde está la estación de autobuses / banco / supermercado?
It is straight ahead — Está más adelante.
It is to the left / to the right — Está a la izquierda / a la derecha
It is around the corner — Está a la vuelta
At a restaurant
I would like to reserve a table for five people — Quisiera reservar una mesa para cinco personas
A table for two please — Una mesa para dos, por favor
The menu, please — La carta, por favor
I would like — … Quisiera…
Can you bring me a_____, please? — ¿Me trae un(a)_____, por favor?
Can I ask you for a_____? — ¿Le pido un(a)_____?
A beer / a glass of wine, please — Una cerveza / una copa de vino, por favor
I am hungry — Tengo hambre
I am thirsty — Tengo sed
At what time does the bus / train arrive? — ¿A qué hora llega el tren / el autobús?
A single ticket for_____, please — Un billete sencillo / pasaje de ida para_____, por favor
A round trip ticket for_____, please — Un billete / pasaje de ida y vuelta para_____, por favor
Have a safe journey! — ¡Buen viaje!
Have a great holiday! — ¡Felices vacaciones!
If you’re keen to know some more useful phrases for your travels, then do also check out these awesomely useful travel phrases.
There’s nothing nicer than being able to give good wishes to your Spanish-speaking friends, or maybe to impress your English-speaking ones! Whatever the occasion, here’s a list of phrases to learn for those all-important moments:
Happy Easter — ¡Felices Pascuas!
Happy Christmas — ¡Feliz Navidad!
Happy New Year — ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
Happy Birthday — ¡Feliz cumpleaños!
Cheers! — ¡Salud!
Congratulations! — ¡Felicitaciones!
And Lastly, Widely-used Spanish Phrases
Below are a few final phrases that are widely used and definitely should be added to your Spanish memory bank:
Where’s the bathroom? — ¿Dónde está el baño?
Shall we go for a drink? — ¿Vamos a tomar una copa?
How much does this cost? — ¿Cuánto cuesta?
Don’t worry — ¡No te preocupes!
Good luck! — ¡Suerte!
Sorry! — ¡Lo siento!
Excuse me — Disculpe (to get someone’s attention) / Perdón (to excuse yourself)
Do you speak English? — ¿Hablas inglés?
Thank you — Gracias
You’re welcome — De nada
Don’t worry about it — No pasa nada
I don’t understand — No entiendo
No problem — No hay problema
That’s a shame — Es una lástima
I don’t know — No sé
Quick! — ¡Rápido!
There will be no stopping you once you have memorized the above. Once you’ve gotten yourself totally on top of the essential language listed here, try adding some local phrases to the mix to sound even more natural. From there, it’s only a matter of getting lots of practice!
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there!
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