Back to Basics: Easy Spanish Words for Every Occasion

Maybe you’re planning a trip to an exotic destination.

Are the rainforests of Costa Rica calling? Or, is dinner in Madrid on your to-do list?

Or, you could be hoping to fall in love with someone from Spain—because, let’s face it, love is an excellent opportunity for learning!

Maybe you’re just thinking of making some new friends to chat with via an exchange site like HelloTalk?

You might simply be thinking of hosting an exchange student, which is a great way to bring global communication right into your own home!

Whatever your reason for learning Spanish, you’re probably looking to just get the easiest vocabulary words under your belt first, aren’t you? Wise move!

Beginning learners who become skilled at using a language’s simplest words build a solid core vocabulary and are able to navigate basic conversations, respond to questions appropriately and express essential needs without trouble.

All of that sounds good, doesn’t it?

Additionally, learning the basics is a great technique to pave the way for conquering more difficult words and phrases and later on.

So, you’re wondering just what constitutes “easy,” aren’t you? That’s a very good question!

Words that get you from point A to point B, conversationally speaking, with minimal fuss and words that allow you to express yourself in basic terms fall into this “easy” category.

Let’s check out the essentials, so you can grab them and go!

Back to Basics: Easy Spanish Words for Every Occasion

If you’re wondering how to practice all of these easy Spanish words, try watching them used in authentic contexts with FluentU!


You’ll also get access to interactive subtitles that let you learn more about the vocabulary you’ve just heard in a video. Hover over the captions to see a definition of the word, or click on it for more information, including example sentences and additional videos that show the word being used.

Keep practicing with customized vocabulary lists and flashcard sets, and test your knowledge with fun quizzes.

And now, it’s time for our list of easy Spanish words!

Greetings and Introductions

Regardless of your motivation for learning Spanish, you’ll want to be able to greet others and introduce yourself. After all, communication is key, isn’t it?

Spanish is pretty straightforward when it comes to the meet-and-greet. Learn a couple of phrases to set yourself up for friend-making success!

Hola. (Hello.)
Buenos días. (Good morning.)
Buenas tardes. (Good afternoon.)
Buenas noches. (Good evening.)
Me llamo… (My name is…)
Estoy… (I am…)
Feliz (Happy)
Triste (Sad)
¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)
Adiós. (Goodbye.)

Utilizing these greetings is a snap. When you approach someone, smile and say ¡Hola! (Hello!) to get the conversational ball rolling!

Polite Expressions

Whether you’re browsing through a Spanish market, traveling to a new city or hosting Spanish-speaking friends at your house, you’ll need to grab some polite, informal expressions.

In a restaurant, shop or anywhere that requires you to express a preference, you’ll want to remember these phrases. They’ll take you far—and with only a few words!

The first three are mandatory in any language. Fortunately, they’re very memorable in Spanish—you probably already have them in your skill set!

Por favor. (Please.)
Gracias. (Thank you.)
¡De nada! (You’re welcome!)

Shopping or dining? Let the staff or vendor know precisely what you do—and don’t!—like.

Yo quiero… (I want…)
Me gusta… (I like…)
No me gusta… (I don’t like…)

These may come in handy as well.

¡Estoy de acuerdo! (I agree!)
Lo siento. (I’m sorry.)

Super Basic Words

Think about how children learn languages. They identify the things around them, don’t they?

Learning the names of items that impact your day-to-day situation is an ideal way to build your core Spanish vocabulary.

A few that might take you back to your childhood learning days…

Perro (Dog)
Gato (Cat)
Casa (House)
Coche (Car)
Árbol (Tree)
Flor (Flower)
Comida (Food)

Combining some of the polite expressions we’ve already discussed, it’s possible to form uncomplicated sentences with these simple words.

Notice that the use of masculine and feminine articles changes based on the noun it precedes.

Also, this is a great time to touch on quantity and gender rules. Every Spanish noun is either singular or plural and masculine or feminine, and the article used to identify the noun corresponds to that.

El (the) and un (a/an) cover masculine, singular nouns. Los (those) and unos (some) cover masculine, plural nouns.

La (the) and una (a/an) apply to feminine, singular nouns. Las (those) and unas (some) apply to feminine, plural nouns.

Let’s see some of these articles and basic words in action!

Yo quiero un perro. (I want a dog.)
Yo quiero una casa. (I want a house.)
Yo quiero comida, por favor. (I want food, please.)
Me gusta el coche. (I like the car.)
No me gusta el árbol. (I don’t like the tree.)

Helpful Adjectives

When using adjectives to describe nouns, remember that word order is important. It seems tricky at first but, trust me, you won’t have any trouble with this rule if you just focus on getting the noun into play before describing it!

Colors Clarify!

Conversations become so much more vivid when we use colors to describe what we’re seeing. Also, being able to point out a certain color when you’re shopping, or even just wandering through a museum or park, is beneficial.

Just a reminder: Spanish color words are placed after the noun they describe.

Rojo (Red)
Rosa (Pink)
Naranja (Orange)
Amarillo (Yellow)
Verde (Green)
Azul (Blue)
Marrón (Brown)
Negro (Black)
Blanco (White)

La casa rosa (The pink house)
Las casas rosadas (The pink houses)

El perro marrón (The brown dog)
Los perros marrones (The brown dogs)

Numbers Count!

Pulling some basic numbers into your vocabulary can pay off. Use them to make phone calls, locate addresses and much more.

Uno (One)
Dos (Two)
Tres (Three)
Cuatro (Four)
Cinco (Five)
Seis (Six)
Siete (Seven)
Ocho (Eight)
Nueve (Nine)
Diez (Ten)

Some Useful Description Words

Description words, called adjectives, add depth to conversations. Just a few can definitely liven up your speaking and listening skills!

In Spanish, adjectives typically follow the nouns they describe—but you remember that rule from our chat about colors, right? Here, too, you’ll need to be mindful of quantity and gender pairing.

Grande (Big)
Pequeña (Small)
Caliente (Hot)
Frío (Cold­­)
Mojado (Wet)
Seco (Dry)
Izquierda (Left)
Derecha (Right)

El perro grande (The big dog)
Dos coches pequeños (Two small cars)

Words That Ask Questions

Believe it or not, some of the easiest Spanish words to learn are those that ask questions. These words are sometimes referred to as “interrogative” words because their function is to gather information.

The best way to learn anything is by asking questions! Use these easy words to grow your skills in speaking, writing, reading and listening in Spanish, but also to learn about Spanish culture.

Ask Spanish-speaking friends lots of questions to learn about food, entertainment, city hot spots and anything else that crosses your mind. You’ll learn so much, gain insight and pick up idioms and local slang from your new friends.

The last example question on this list is one I was asked just yesterday in flawless Spanish by a three-year-old who is set on learning as much as she possibly can! I’m including it here to remind you that all questions are worthwhile!

¿Qué…? (What?)
¿Quién…? (Who?)
¿Cuándo…? (When?)
¿Dónde…? (Where?)
¿Por qué…? (Why?)
¿Qué es? (What is it?)
¿Quién eres tú? (Who are you?)

¿Cuándo llega el coche? (When does the car arrive?)
¿Dónde está el gato blanco? (Where is the white cat?)
¿Porque el cielo es azul? (Why is the sky blue?)


Children quickly learn to communicate with only essential vocabulary. Like kids, you can grab easy words, questions and phrases like these and use them as building blocks for more intricate communication.

You’ll need a greater range of words to be truly skilled in Spanish, but this is a solid starting point!

Use easy Spanish words to experience childlike learning, grow your vocabulary and communicate efficiently.

Does that seem ridiculously straightforward? Well, that’s good—because it is! Basic conversation—in any language—begins with easy words. Learn these words and you’ll have a solid foundation to build on.

Speaking Spanish opens up so many exciting opportunities, so nail down the basics and take full advantage of the adventures awaiting you. Whatever your reason for learning this gorgeous language, rest assured that with a few dozen uncomplicated words you’re ready to roll!

Good luck—and have fun!

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.

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