In order to get started and have your first basic conversations in Spanish, you’re going to need to learn some words!
Whether you are going to Mexico or Madrid chances are you’ll find some of the locals can speak a bit of English. But if you speak some Spanish, you’ll be able to have much more enjoyable and authentic experiences when you travel.
Having a few common Spanish phrases up your sleeve when you are travelling or starting out in the language allows you to experience local culture and hospitality in a completely different way.
You never know, maybe learning these phrases will motivate you to learn to speak Spanish fluently!
Understanding what you should say when you meet and greet people is the least you can do if you want to make a good impression. After all, you’re going to be using greetings every time you have a conversation in Spanish!
These phrases are simple, easy to remember and will go a long way to help you make friends and have your first conversations in the language.
- ¡Hola! – Hello (O-la)
- ¡Buenos días! – Good morning! (BWAY-nos DEE-as)
- ¡Buenas tardes! – Good evening! (BWAY-nas TAR-des)
- ¡Bienvenido! – Welcome! (Bee-en-ven-EE-doh)
If you’re confused about how to pronounce any of these phrases, you can look them up on Forvo (an online pronunciation dictionary) and hear them spoken by native speakers.
Keeping The Conversation Going: Small Talk
Making small talk is something you’re going to do a lot of, so there’s every reason to know how to do it properly. Besides, small talk is the gateway to real communication; you need to be able to do it in order to really speak to a person.
Making conversation in whatever way you can as a beginner will allow you to grow in confidence and figure out what you need to learn next.
Here are some phrases you can use to get the conversation going:
- ¿Cómo estás? – How are you? (KOH-moh eh-STAHS)
- ¿Cómo te va? – How’s it going? (KOH-moh te BAH)
- ¿Cómo te ha ido? – How’ve you been? (KOH-moh te ha EE-doh)
- Estoy bien ¡Gracias! – I’m fine, thanks (eh-STOY bee-en GRA-thee-as/GRA-see-as)
- ¿Y tú? – And you? (ee too)
- ¿Qué tal? – How are you? (kay tal)
- ¿Qué pasa? – What’s happening? (kay PA-sa)
- ¿Qué haces? – What are you doing? (kay AH-says)
In English, the letter’s ‘b’ and ‘v’ represent different sounds, but in Spanish, they represent the same sound.
Being Polite In Spanish
Of course, no matter what language you’re speaking, politeness goes a long way. Whether you need to make an apology or just want to thank someone, you’re going to use these phrases a lot!:
- ¡Gracias! – Thank you! (GRA-thee-as/GRA-see-as)
- ¡Muchas gracias! – Thank you (very much)! (MOO-chas GRA-thee-as/GRA-see-as)
- ¡De nada! – You’re welcome! (de NA-da)
- ¡Perdone! / ¡Oiga! – Excuse me (to ask for something)! (per-DON-ay/ OY-ga)
- ¡Perdone! / Disculpe! – Excuse me (to get past)! (per-DON-ay/ dis-KUL-pay)
- ¡Disculpe! – Sorry! (if you didn’t hear something) (dis-KUL-pay)
- ¡Lo siento! – Sorry! (for a mistake) (lo see-EN-to)
Saying Goodbye In Spanish
Saying goodbye is never easy to do, especially when you don’t know how to do it!Whether you are bidding farewell to friends you are going to see later or to somebody you will never see again, make sure you know how to say your goodbyes appropriately.
Whether you are bidding farewell to friends you are going to see later or saying goodbye to people you will never see again, Spanish has lots of different options:
- Adiós – Goodbye (ah-dee-OS)
- ¡Buenas noches! – Goodnight! (bway-nas no-ches)
- ¡Hasta luego! – See you later (AS-ta loo-AY-go)
- ¡Hasta pronto! – See you soon (AS-ta PRON-to)
- ¡Hasta mañana! – See you tomorrow (AS-ta man-YAN-a)
- Nos vemos – See you (nos VAY-mos)