spanish-conversation-for-beginners

Spanish Conversation for Beginners: 150+ Expressions, Questions and Sentences to Keep the Conversation Flowing

You have a lot of things to say.

In Spanish.

But you’re just starting this language learning journey, and you don’t know how.

Or maybe you’re shy.

As a language learner myself, I’ve been there plenty of times, and it isn’t pretty.

How are we supposed to start speaking a language we have so little knowledge of? Should we even try?
 


 

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Conversation and Beginners: Does It Make Sense?

If you’re just starting to learn Spanish, you may feel you’re not capable of having a conversation yet.

I’ve heard many times during my conversation classes that I ask too much from my students when I make them try to speak from day one.

Guess what? They all thank me later. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

The words Conversation and Beginners aren’t often found together when you start learning a language.

Most courses focus on teaching you basic Spanish grammar and vocabulary. Speaking, listening and writing come later.

But I don’t agree with that approach. Starting to utter your very first words from day one will make your confidence grow as you get better. You’re learning, so it’s normal to make mistakes. It’s those mistakes that’ll make you improve and keep on learning.

So yes, Conversation and Beginners are two words we should start seeing together more often.

Take this post as the first step in this direction. Leave your shyness behind. Embrace making mistakes, and start talking like there’s no tomorrow.

Repeat after me: Beginners can speak from day one and that’s awesome!

So… How and Where Do I Start?

The first step is always the most difficult, especially if we’re learning by ourselves and are lost.

The way to start speaking is… just starting speaking! Simple as that.

Take every opportunity you have to say words, utter sentences, repeat what you hear on your course audio CDs… Anything is better than nothing.

spanish-conversation-for-beginners

If you’re looking to boost your ability to have Spanish conversations in real-world settings, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU is a comprehensive language-learning platform that takes authentic Spanish videos—such as movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks—and transforms them into personalized Spanish lessons. Because each FluentU video features native speakers, you’ll learn how to speak Spanish as it’s really spoken outside of the classroom.

Each FluentU video comes equipped with a vocabulary list, full transcript and interactive subtitles in English and Spanish, so you can follow along while watching. After you finish a video, check out its attached comprehension quiz or create a customized flashcard deck to practice what you’ve learned. The best part? FluentU keeps track of what you’ve learned, curating quizzes and review activities that target your strengths and areas for improvement. You’ll get a 100% personalized language-learning experience.

FluentU is a great way to practice basic conversational phrases, as well as improve your listening comprehension. If you’re a beginner who feels nervous about your ability to speak Spanish with others, watch a few FluentU videos. It’ll boost your confidence and give you that little push to get out there and start speaking!

How Can I Make the Most of My Conversations?

This question needs to be answered by each of you.

Each of you has different ways of learning, different jobs, family situations…

However, there’s something you can all do to make the most of any situation in which you get in contact with Spanish: don’t stay quiet. Talk!

It doesn’t matter if you’re at work and meet a Spanish-speaking co-worker, if you’re just walking and someone asks for directions or if you’re on the plane and a Spanish-speaking flight attendant asks you if you would like to have some coffee.

Take every single one of those interactions and use them to force yourself to speak in Spanish, even if it’s a simple gracias (thanks). The more you engage yourself in this kind of situation, the more your conversational skills will improve.

Use every chance you get to use the language you’re learning, and never look back.

This post contains a ton of questions, expressions and sentences to help you to jump-start your Spanish speaking adventure.

Try to use them as much as you can, whenever you can and wherever you are.

Let this be the first step on a long but wonderful journey that’ll take you to Spanish fluency before you even realize it.

Happy talking!

Spanish Conversation for Beginners: 150+ Expressions, Questions and Sentences to Keep the Conversation Flowing

At times, even when we have a lot to say, we can find ourselves blocked and compelled and remain silent, mainly because of embarrassment.

This post contains five big categories with which you can start speaking Spanish and feeling more comfortable in your interactions with Spanish-speaking people.

Try to add other expressions you may need to each of the groups. The internet is your friend in this, and the sky’s the limit.

By the way, if you’re unsure of your Spanish pronunciation, you can use Forvo to hear any word or expression on this list spoken by native Spanish speakers.

So, let’s get this party started.

1. Greetings and Farewells

spanish-conversation-for-beginners

This is an obvious place to start, but it is also very necessary.

The very first thing we do when we meet someone is greet them, and any successful conversation ends with a goodbye.

These expressions will be very helpful in this kind of situation. Let’s start by saying hello:

¡Hola! (Hi!/Hello! – informal, with friends and family.)

Saludos. (Greetings.)

Buenos días. (Good morning – formal and informal)

Hola, buenos días. (Hello, good morning)

Buenas tardes. (Good afternoon.)

Buenas noches. (Good evening/Goodnight.)

As in English, the natural next step after saying hello is asking, “How are you?” There are a number of ways to do that in Spanish:

¿Cómo estás? (How are you? – informal.)

¿Cómo está (usted)? (How are you? – formal.)

¿Qué tal? (What’s up?)

¿Cómo te va? (How is it going? – informal.)

¿Cómo le va? (How is it going? – formal.)

¿Cómo andas? (lit. How do you walk? – How are you doing?, informal.)

¿Cómo anda (usted)? (How are you doing? – formal.)

Let’s jump ahead a little, to the end of your conversation. You’ll want to end on a polite note, particularly if you’re meeting someone for the first time. Pay particular attention to your gender, the gender of the person you’re speaking to and the level of formality when choosing the correct way to say “nice to meet you”:

Encantado de conocerte. (Nice to meet you – when the speaker is a man, informal.)

Encantada de conocerte. (Nice to meet you – when the speaker is a woman, informal.)

Encantado de conocerlo. (Nice to meet you – both speaker and listener are men, formal.)

Encantado de conocerla. (Nice to meet you – the speaker is a man and the listener is a woman, formal.)

Encantada de conocerla. (Nice to meet you – both speaker and listener are women, formal.)

Encantada de conocerlo. (Nice to meet you – the speaker is a woman and the listener is a man, formal.)

Es un placer. (It’s a pleasure.)

And, finally, the cherry on the top of any successful Spanish social encounter: saying an appropriate goodbye! Here are some words and phrases to choose from:

Adiós. (Goodbye.)

Hasta luego. (See you later.)

Hasta pronto. (See you soon.)

Hasta mañana/la semana que viene. (See you tomorrow/next week.)

Hasta la próxima. (Until next time.)

Hasta ahora. (See you in a minute.)

Chao/Chau. (Bye – very informal.)

Nos vemos. (lit. We see each other – See you later.)

Que tengas un buen día. (Have a nice day – informal.)

Que tenga un buen día. (Have a nice day – formal.)

2. Question Words

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Remember, all question words in Spanish have an accent mark!

Human beings are curious by nature, and we love asking questions and getting to know the people we’re talking to. Use the following question words and sample questions in order to feed your gossip craving:

Qué (what, which)

¿Qué haces? (What are you doing?)

Quién (who – singular)

¿Quién es aquella chica? (Who is that girl over there?)

Quiénes (who – plural)

¿Quiénes son tus padres? (Who are your parents?)

Cuál (which one)

¿Cuál prefieres? (Which one do you prefer?)

Cuáles (which ones)

¿Cuáles son los tuyos? (Which ones are yours?)

Cómo (how)

¿Cómo se dice “tomate” en inglés? (How do you say “tomato” in English?)

Cuándo (when)

¿Cuándo vuelves? (When are you coming back?)

Dónde (where)

¿Dónde estás? (Where are you?)

Por qué (why)

¿Por qué no me dices la verdad? (Why won’t you tell me the truth?)

Para qué (what for)

¿Para qué es eso? (What is that for?)

Cuánto/a (how much)

¿Cuánta harina necesitas? (How much flour do you need?)

Cuántos/as (how many)

¿Cuántos quieres? (How many do you want?)

Adónde (where to)

¿Adónde va María? (Where is María going to?)

De dónde (where from)

¿De dónde viene María? (Where is María coming from?)

Desde cuándo (how long)

¿Desde cuándo lo conoces? (How long have you known him?)

De quién (whose – singular)

¿De quién son estas gafas? (Whose glasses are these? – one possessor.)

De quiénes (whose – plural)

¿De quiénes son estos libros? (Whose books are these? – two or more possessors.)

3. Asking Basic Questions and Giving Basic Answers

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Now let’s use all these question words in order to ask questions!

The first rule of being a good conversationalist is showing interest in others. To keep the conversation flowing, you’ll want to ask your conversation partner some questions about his or her life.

Depending on who you’re talking to, you’ll have to choose between the informal (you) and the more formal usted (you). I’ve included both versions of each question to help you out.

Let’s start with informal questions. Here are some basic questions you might ask in a casual conversation, or a conversation with someone around your own age. If you’re meeting Spanish speakers in a hostel, at a bar or through mutual friends, here are some questions you might use.

I’ve already given one answer to each of them. Can you come up with different ones?

Q: ¿Cómo te llamas? (What’s your name?)
A: Me llamo Pablo. (My name is Pablo.)

Q: ¿Cuántos años tienes? (How old are you? – in Spanish we ask “how many years do you have?”)
A: Tengo … años. (I am … years old.)

Q: ¿Cuántos hijos/hermanos tienes? (How many children/siblings do you have?)
A: Tengo … hijos/hermanos. (I have … children/siblings.)

Q: ¿De dónde eres? (Where are you from?)
A: Soy de España. (I am from Spain.)

Q: ¿Cuál es tu dirección? (What’s your address?)
A: Vivo en la calle Pablo Picasso, número 17. (I live in 17, Pablo Picasso Street.)

Q: ¿Dónde vives? (Where do you live?)
A: Vivo en Polonia. (I live in Poland.)

Q: ¿Dónde naciste? (Where were you born?)
A: Nací en Puerto Rico. (I was born in Puerto Rico.)

Q: ¿A qué te dedicas? (What’s your job?)
A: Soy profesor de idiomas. (I am a [male] language teacher.)

Q: ¿Por qué estás estudiando…? (Why are you learning…?)
A: Porque me gustan mucho los idiomas. (Because I like languages a lot.)

Q: ¿Tienes hijos/perro/coche? (Do you have any children/a dog/a car?)
A: Sí, tengo dos hijos. (Yes, I have two children.)

Q: ¿Desde cuándo vives en…? (How long have you been living in..?)
A: Vivo en Barcelona desde 1998. (I have been living in Barcelona since 1998.)

Now, here are the exact same questions but with the more formal usted/ustedes. This is the construction you’ll want to use when talking to colleagues, higher-ups, professors, anyone much older than you or anyone you encounter in a very formal setting.

This is the right construction to use when you speak to the extended family of Spanish-speaking friends or partners, for example, or when you want to make a good impression on your boss at a cocktail party.

Q: ¿Cómo se llama? (What is your name?)
A: Mi nombre es Pablo García. (My name is Pablo García.)

Q: ¿Cuántos años tiene? (How old are you?)
A: Tengo … años. (I am … years old.)

Q: ¿Cuántos hijos/hermanos tiene? (How many children/siblings do you have?)
A: Tengo … hijos/hermanos. (I have … children/siblings.)

Q: ¿De dónde es (usted)? (Where are you from?)
A: Soy de Monterrey. (I am from Monterrey.)

Q: ¿Cuál es su dirección? (What is your address?)
A: Mi dirección es calle Pablo Picasso, número 17. (My address is 17, Pablo Picasso Street.)

Q: ¿Dónde vive? (Where do you live?)
A: Vivo en Barcelona. (I live in Barcelona.)

Q: ¿Dónde nació (usted)? (Where were you born?)
A: Nací en Buenos Aires. (I was born in Buenos Aires.)

Q: ¿A qué se dedica? (What is your job?)
A: Soy profesora de idiomas. (I’m a [female] language teacher.)

Q: ¿Por qué está estudiando…? (Why are you learning…?)
A: Porque me gustan mucho los idiomas. (Because I like languages a lot.)

Q: ¿Tiene hijos/perro/coche? (Do you have any children/a dog/a car?)
A: No, no tengo perro. (No, I don’t have a dog.)

Q: ¿Desde cuándo vive en…? (How long have you been living in…?.)
A: Llevo tres años viviendo en Barcelona. (I have been living in Barcelona for three years.)

Another great way to start a conversation is to ask someone for information. Having a quick conversation with a store clerk about the cost of a pair of shoes may not seem like much, but all of these short interactions will add up over time and help you build Spanish conversational confidence.

Here are some basic questions you can ask the people around you in order to get the ball rolling:

Q: ¿Qué es esto/eso? (What is this/that?)
A: Esto es un/una… (This is a…)

Q: ¿Qué hora es? (What time is it?)
A: Son las tres y cuarto. (It’s a quarter past three.)

Q: ¿Cómo voy a…? (How do I go/get to…?)
A: Gira a la derecha y luego sigue todo recto. (Turn right and then go straight ahead.)

Q: ¿Cuánto cuesta? (How much does it cost?)
A: Cuesta cinco euros. (It costs five euro.)

Q: ¿Cuánto es? (How much is it?)
A: Son cinco euros. (It’s five euro.)

Q: ¿Cuándo empieza la clase/la película? (When does the class/the movie start?)
A: La clase/película empieza a las once y media. (The class/movie starts at 11:30.)

Q: ¿Dónde está la parada de autobús/el banco? (Where is the bus stop/the bank?)
A: La parada de autobús/El banco está en la calle Mendoza. (The bus stop/The bank is on Mendoza Street.)

Q: ¿Para qué es esto/eso? (What is this/that for?)
A: Esto/Eso es para abrir botellas. (This/That is for opening bottles.)

Finally, a great way to start a conversation is to ask someone for help. (These are also just great phrases to have in your back pocket—you know, in case you actually do need help.)

There are varying levels of formality you can use, depending on who you’re talking to. As shown in the last example on this list, you can be extra formal by conjugating verbs in the conditional tense as well as using the usted form.

Q: ¿Puedes ayudarme? (Can you help me? – informal.)
A: ¡Claro! ¿En qué puedo ayudarte? (Sure! How can I help you? – informal.)

Q: ¿Puede ayudarme? (Can you help me? – formal.)
A: ¡Por supuesto! ¿En qué puedo ayudarle? (Of course! How can I help you? – formal.)

Q: ¿Podría ayudarme, por favor? (Could you help me, please? – very formal.)
A: ¡Por supuesto! ¿En qué puedo ayudarle? (Of course! How can I help you? – formal.)

4. Special Occasions: From Birthdays to Christmas Wishes

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It doesn’t matter if it’s a birthday, Valentine’s Day or Christmas, Spanish-speaking people love wishing the best for their friends.

Use the following expressions in the appropriate contexts in order to amaze your friends:

¡Feliz cumpleaños! (Happy birthday!)

¡Felicidades! (lit. Happiness – Congratulations!/All the best! – mainly in Spain.)

¡Felicitaciones! (Congratulations! – mainly in South America.)

¡Enhorabuena! (Congratulations!)

¡Bien hecho! (Well done!)

Estoy orgulloso de ti. (I am proud of you – the speaker is a man, informal.)

Estoy orgullosa de ti. (I am proud of you – the speaker is a woman, informal.)

Estoy orgulloso de usted. (I am proud of you – the speaker is a man, formal.)

Estoy orgullosa de usted. (I am proud of you – the speaker is a woman, formal.)

¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)

¡Mucha suerte! (Lots of luck!)

Te deseo todo lo mejor. (I wish you all the best – informal.)

Le deseo todo lo mejor. (I wish you all the best – formal.)

Que seas muy feliz. (May you be very happy – informal.)

Que sea muy feliz. (May you be very happy – formal.)

Que todos tus deseos se hagan realidad. (May all your dreams come true – informal.)

Que todos sus deseos se hagan realidad. (May all your dreams come true – formal.)

¡Feliz aniversario! (Happy anniversary!)

¡Feliz día de los enamorados! (lit. Happy day of the people in love – Happy Valentine’s day!)

¡Feliz día de San Valentín! (Happy Valentine’s day!)

¡Feliz Navidad! (Marry Christmas!)

¡Felices fiestas! (Happy holidays!)

¡Feliz Hanukkah! (Happy Hanukkah!)

¡Feliz Ramadán! (Happy Ramadan!)

¡Feliz Pascua!/¡Felices Pascuas! (Happy Easter!)

¡Feliz día de Acción de Gracias! (Happy Thanksgiving!)

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo! (Happy Cinco de Mayo!)

¡Feliz Día de los Muertos! (Happy Day of the Dead!)

¡Feliz Año Nuevo! (Happy New Year!)

¡Próspero Año Nuevo! (lit. Prosperous New Year! – Happy New Year!)

Que te mejores pronto. (Get well soon – informal.)

Que se mejore pronto. (Get well soon – formal.)

Lo siento mucho/muchísimo. (I’m very/deeply sorry.)

Te acompaño en el sentimiento. (lit. I accompany you in the feeling – My condolences, informal.)

Le acompaño en el sentimiento. (My condolences – formal.)

5. Hobbies and Free Time

spanish-conversation-for-beginners

Free time! You probably love spending your leisure time doing what you love, and you’re able to talk about your favorite hobbies for hours on end in English.

Thanks to the following list, you’ll be able to do the same in Spanish:

¿Cuál es tu pasatiempo favorito? (What’s your favorite hobby? – informal.)

¿Cuál es su pasatiempo favorito? (What is your favorite hobby? – formal.)

¿Qué te gusta hacer en tu tiempo libre? (What do you like to do in your free time? – informal.)

¿Qué le gusta hacer en su tiempo libre? (What do you like to do in your free time? – formal.)

¿Te gusta…? (Do you like…? – informal.)

¿Le gusta…? (Do you like…? – formal.)

Mi hobby/pasatiempo favorito es… (My favorite hobby is…)

Me gusta… (I like…)

No me gusta… (I don’t like…)

Me encanta… (I love…)

Me interesa (mucho)… (I am [very] interested in…)

…la cocina. (…cooking.)

la lectura. (…reading.)

…el alpinismo/montañismo. (…mountain climbing.)

…ir al cine. (…going to the cinema.)

…ir al gimnasio. (…going to the gym.)

…jugar a juegos de mesa. (…playing board games.)

…escuchar música. (…listening to music.)

…aprender idiomas. (…learning languages.)

 

And that’s all for today, folks.

Thanks to this extensive list of Spanish expressions and conversation starters, you’ll be able to start speaking Spanish from the very beginning.

Starting to speak in a new language as soon as you can is not only good pronunciation practice, it’s also a great way of getting more and more confident in your Spanish speaking skills. That way you’ll avoid the “speaking block” many of my older students face later on.

So study this list and get ready to talk!

Stay curious, my friends, and as always, happy learning!
 

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