Are you meeting someone new?
Trying to locate your hotel or a restaurant in a Spanish city?
Nearly any Spanish conversation calls for an understanding of basic vocabulary.
No “fancy” language, involved terminology or four-syllable words are needed for most interactions.
When it comes to travel, education, business situations and personal communication, common words rule the day.
But how do you decide what words are considered common?
Just think about how you chat in your day-to-day interactions with friends, neighbors and co-workers. Chances are that you’re using basic nouns, verbs, interrogative words and conversational phrases during these interactions.
Building your skills and increasing your list of common Spanish words and phrases isn’t difficult. We’ve put together a list of 110 words to get you started.
There are also lots of great resources you can use to enhance your vocabulary.
Let’s check them out first!
Resources for Adding Even More Common Spanish Words to Your Vocabulary
This site contains a list of Spanish words that is long and comprehensive. All 1,000 words are useful and offer lots of variety. Everything from the environment to business is included!
The only issue with this great list is that it’s not sorted by topic, so if you’re looking for something in particular, you might want to check out a translator for expedience. But, if your intent is to grow your vocabulary and add these common words to your skillset, then this is a super great resource.
You could also use this fabulous list for creating your own flashcards for on-the-go study sessions!
FluentU takes real-world videos—like movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language lessons.
You’ll get access to a huge video library that contains authentic Spanish resources. Each video is accompanied by interactive captions that let you click on any word to learn more about it and see it used in additional videos.
While watching videos, you can easily add Spanish words to customized vocabulary lists and flashcard sets in order to practice them later. Or, you can browse through pre-made word lists and flashcard sets to learn vocabulary by theme or level.
You can also take fun quizzes to test your knowledge and reinforce the new words you’ve learned!
This vocabulary resource provides a selection of lists of some of the most common and handy words in the Spanish language.
Searching for a particular word is a snap. Words are divided into topics, so whether you’re honing your skills on greetings, body parts, shopping lingo or a number of other subjects, all of the applicable vocabulary is pre-sorted and labeled.
The food section of this vocabulary master list is extensive. It addresses almost everything you’d need to know to discuss food, including the names of common items that appear on Spanish restaurant menus. So if you’re considering traveling, acquaint yourself with this common food list to be able to order tapas in Madrid or chiles rellenos in Guatemala like a native!
This resource with 1,000 common Spanish words is more than just a list of vocab. It’s an interactive learning option featuring quizzes that measure a learner’s vocabulary skills.
The words and translations are divided into lists of 20 words. Each list is alphabetical, and the content is random (words are not grouped according to categories). At the end of each list, learners are given the opportunity to take a quiz on what they’ve just learned.
It’s not necessary to score well or to even take the quizzes to move on to the subsequent lists, but opting to quiz yourself is a great method for gauging retention of these common words. Each quiz asks learners to choose the correct translation of a word, so it’s a pretty straightforward, speedy process.
110 Common Spanish Words and Phrases to Supercharge Your Vocabulary
Nouns identify people, places or things. They’re some of the most basic words and are used in nearly every sentence.
la casa (the house)
la mesa (the table)
la ventana (the window)
la silla (the chair)
la puerta (the door)
el reloj (the clock)
el piso (the floor)
la mujer (the woman)
el hombre (the man)
la niña (the girl)
el niño (the boy)
el gato (m) (the cat)
la gata (f) (the cat)
el perro (m) (the dog)
la perra (f) (the dog)
el pájaro (the bird)
el elefante (the elephant)
el coche (the car)
la calle (the street)
la tienda (the store)
la biblioteca (the library)
el libro (the book)
la playa (the beach)
la montaña (the mountain)
la iglesia (the church)
el museo (the museum)
la nariz (the nose)
los ojos (the eyes)
la boca (the mouth)
la cabeza (the head)
el brazo (the arm)
las piernas (the legs)
las manos (the hands)
los pies (the feet)
Verbs describe actions and are essential words when speaking any language.
abrir (to open)
ayudar (to help)
bailar (to dance)
cambiar (to change)
caminar (to walk)
cantar (to sing)
comenzar (to begin)
contar (to count)
correr (to run)
creer (to believe)
dar (to give)
deber (to owe)
decir (to say)
entender (to understand)
estar (to be)
estudiar (to study)
gustar (to like)
haber (to have)
hablar (to speak)
ir (to go)
jugar (to play)
llamar (to call)
pagar (to pay)
partir (to leave)
pedir (to ask for)
poner (to put)
preguntar (to ask)
querer (to want)
saber (to know)
ser (to be)
tener (to have)
vivir (to live)
Interrogative words ask questions. They’re necessary for navigating a new city, finding out information or discovering who’s being discussed.
¿Por qué? (Why?)
Cognates are words that have the same origin or root word. These Spanish and English cognates are an excellent way to effortlessly increase your vocabulary!
visitar (to visit)
Conversational phrases allow for basic communication in any situation. Learn these essentials to speak with friends as well as strangers!
Tip: Replace some of the standard location words below with vocabulary from the lists above. Find other essential venues—like the beach or library—by substituting nouns!
Buenos días. (Good morning.)
Buenas tardes. (Good afternoon.)
Buenas noches. (Goodnight.)
¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)
¿Cómo está usted? (How are you?)
Bien, gracias. (Fine, thank you.)
¿Y usted? (And you?)
¿Cómo te llamas? (What’s your name?)
Me llamo… (My name is…)
Estoy buscando un restaurante. (I’m looking for a restaurant.)
Estoy buscando una parada de autobús. (I’m looking for a bus stop.)
Estoy buscando un hospital. (I’m looking for a hospital.)
Gracias. (Thank you.)
De nada. (You’re welcome.)
Perdóneme. (Excuse me.)
Lo siento. (I’m sorry.)
Hasta luego. (See you later.)
Common Spanish words open doors by facilitating communication. They also make it easier for language learners, even those at a basic skill level, to read, write and understand Spanish.
These are the words that form a foundational vocabulary. What that means is that if you familiarize yourself with enough common words and build a solid core vocabulary, you’re setting yourself up for success in more advanced areas of Spanish language learning. Make common words the basis for all Spanish learning and watch every other skill flourish!
Practice using these words and phrases. Practice makes progress, and progress leads to fluency. Curate vocabulary lists, label household items and incorporate a Spanish phrase into every conversation. Before long, these words will appear to you effortlessly.
Good luck and have fun!
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