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The Most Common Spanish Phone Phrases

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Many Spanish learners have a hard time expressing themselves or understanding others over the phone. Connection problems aside, you can encounter situations where you struggle to keep up because the person on the other end is speaking too quickly. This can make you anxious, or even afraid, to speak during a phone call. 

Non-verbal communication and body language are important components of conversation. Whenever we speak to someone on the phone, we miss out on these subtle clues since we cannot see their face or posture.

But there’s good news. Learning Spanish phone conversation phrases will help you become more confident and prepared for calls!

In this guide from SpanishPod101, you’ll learn the most common Spanish phone phrases. Having these phrases down will help you crush your conversations, whether you’re arranging a brunch date with a friend or making a business call.

Remember: Practice makes perfect!

A Woman Lying on Her Stomach on the Floor while Talking on the Phone

Ready for great Spanish phone conversations? Start with Hola!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Picking up the Phone
  2. Saying Who You Are
  3. Stating Why You’re Calling
  4. Asking to Speak to Someone
  5. Asking Someone to Wait
  6. Leaving a Message
  7. Asking for Clarification
  8. Ending the Phone Call
  9. Bonus: Sample Phone Conversations
  10. Final Thoughts

1. Picking up the Phone

The first set of Spanish phone phrases you need to learn are the greetings. The greeting you use may differ depending on whether you’re the caller or the receiver. 

1 – Calling

Hola.Hello.
The well-known hola is an informal Spanish greeting used in real life and over the phone. If you know the name of the person you’re calling, you can use it in the greeting: Hola, ___. 
Buenos días. / Buenas tardes.Good morning. / Good afternoon.
Buenos días and buenas tardes sound a bit more formal, so these are safe to use during business calls.

2 – Answering

¿Sí?Yes?
This is how most Spanish people answer the phone, especially if it’s their personal number.
¿Diga? / ¿Dígame?Hello? 
Literally meaning “Tell me,” this is an apt way to begin a Spanish phone conversation. It’s most common in formal situations and among the older Spanish-speaking population. 
Hola.Hello.
Nowadays, we often know who’s calling because their name appears on our phone screen if we’ve saved their number. If the caller is a saved contact, you can simply answer with hola
¿Aló?Hello?
This is a very common Spanish phone call greeting, but only in Latin America
Bueno. Hello.
Bueno, literally meaning “good” or “well,” is a common phone greeting used in Mexican Spanish. 

    → There are many other ways to say hello in Spanish, most of which can be used to begin a phone conversation. Learn about greeting people on SpanishPod101.com!

Someone Picking up Their Work Phone

Pick up the phone; someone’s calling you!

2. Saying Who You Are

Now that you’ve learned some useful greetings, you should become familiar with a few Spanish phone phrases for introducing yourself. 

In informal conversations, you’d say Soy (“I am”) followed by your name. Here’s an example:

    A: ¿Sí?  – “Yes?”
    B: ¡Hola Manuel! Soy Andrea. – “Hello, Manuel! This is Andrea.”

If you’re calling on behalf of a company or an organization, the structure of the sentence should be:

    Soy [name], de [company name]. – “This is [name], from [company name].”

However, making a business phone call in Spanish can get a tad more formal:

    Mi nombre es [name], de [company name]. – “My name is [name], from [company name].”
A Guy on the Sofa Talking on the Phone with a Remote in His Hand

Buenos días, mi nombre es Juan. (“Good morning, my name is Juan.”)


3. Stating Why You’re Calling

Querría hablar con alguien sobre…I’d like to speak to someone about…
You can use this phrase to ask for assistance with something, especially if you’re contacting an institution, company, or organization.

Example: 
  • Querría hablar con alguien sobre la cancelación de mi vuelo. – “I’d like to speak to someone about the cancellation of my flight.”
Quería información sobre…I wanted some information about…
This phrase can be used to ask for directions, schedules, timetables, etc.
  • Quería información sobre las horas de apertura del museo. – “I wanted some information about the museum’s opening hours.”
Me gustaría preguntar si…I’d like to ask if…
This is a polite introduction to whatever question you have. Here are a few examples:
  • Me gustaría preguntar si dais clases de salsa en vuestra escuela. – “I’d like to ask if there are salsa classes at your school.”
  • Me gustaría preguntar si mañana va a estar el director en la oficina. – “I’d like to ask if the director is going to be in the office tomorrow.”
  • Me gustaría preguntar si puedo comprar billete de tren anticipado. – “I’d like to ask if I can book a train ticket in advance.”
Estoy devolviendo tu llamada.I’m returning your call.
Llamaba para reservar una mesa.I was calling to make a reservation.
Literally, this phrase means: “I was calling to book a table.”


A Woman Staying Late at Work and Taking a Phone Call

Lo siento, la línea está ocupada. (“I’m sorry, the line is busy.”)

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

If you’re meaning to call a specific person and someone else comes to the phone, here’s how you ask to be handed over to the right person. 

In informal conversations, you’d say the following:

  • ¿Está [name]? – “Is [name] there?”

A more polite way to ask the same question would be:

  • ¿Me podrías poner con [name]? – “Could you transfer me to [name]?”

And here’s a formal alternative:

  • Querría hablar con [name]. – “I’d like to speak to [name].”

Open for business? Learn all about Making a Business Phone Call with SpanishPod101!

5. Asking Someone to Wait

If the conversation is going too fast and you need a second to collect your thoughts, look up information, or fetch the person they’re calling, here are a few Spanish phone conversation phrases that can help.

Un momento, déjame comprobar. Just a moment, let me check.
Te / Le pongo en espera un momento. I’ll put you on hold for a second.
In Spanish, your tone can come across quite differently depending on the formality level you use. In this case, the pronoun te sounds much more casual than the pronoun le

Remember to use the formal pronoun in business conversations, when doing bureaucratic processes, when asking for professional help, etc. 


No cuelgues / cuelgue, por favor.Don’t hang up, please.
Ahora te lo / la paso.I’ll put him/her on the phone.
If the caller is asking for your roommate or a coworker, this is an informal way to state that you’ll ask them to answer the phone.
Déjame transferirte / Déjeme transferirle a su oficina.Let me transfer you to his/her office. 
This is the formal and business-style way to say Ahora te lo paso.

A Group of People Working in a Call Center

Déjeme transferirle a su oficina.  (“Let me transfer you to her office.”)

6. Leaving a Message

Did you miss the person you were calling? Here are three Spanish phone call phrases you can use to leave a message: 

¿Puedo dejarle un mensaje?Can I leave a message?
Por favor, dígale de mi parte que…Please let him know that…
¿Le puede decir que me llame al [phone number]?Can you tell him to call me back at [phone number]?
Of course, sometimes you might prefer to deliver the message yourself. This phrase is how you ask for the person to call you back. 

7. Asking for Clarification

When learning a new language, phone conversations with native speakers are some of the trickiest situations we have to face.

If you don’t understand what the person on the other end is saying, don’t worry. Take a deep breath and then use one of these phone call phrases in Spanish to ask for clarification.

Perdón, ¿podrías repetirlo?Sorry, could you say that again?
¿Podrías repetirlo, solo para comprobar que te he entendido?Could you repeat that, just to double-check I understood?
There’s no harm in double-checking! Don’t hesitate to ask as many times as you need to make sure you understand the other person.
No te he entendido, disculpa.I didn’t understand, I’m sorry.
Lo siento, pero me está costando entenderte. I’m sorry, but I’m having a hard time understanding you. 
Creo que hay una mala conexión.I think there’s a bad connection.
Sometimes, technology can add even more obstacles when we’re trying to understand a conversation in a foreign language.
¿Podrías deletrear tu nombre, por favor?Could you spell your name for me, please?

A Businesswoman Stressed while Talking on the Phone

Lo siento, pero me está costando entenderte. (“I’m sorry, but I’m having a hard time understanding you.”)

8. Ending the Phone Call

There are many ways to end a call, depending on the kind of call you’ve had. Whether you were asking for some information, arranging a meeting, or just chatting, here are a few phone call phrases in Spanish you can use.

Me has ayudado mucho. Gracias.You’ve been very helpful. Thank you.
Gracias por su ayuda.Thanks for your help.
This is a formal way to end a phone call when you want to show gratitude. 

You can also use the informal variation: Gracias por tu ayuda. This is more heartfelt and honest, good for when you’re speaking to a friend.


Un placer hablar contigo / con usted.It was a pleasure talking with you.
Nos vemos a las [time] en [place].See you at [time] at [place].
It doesn’t hurt to repeat the time and place you’ve set for a meeting, just to double-check that you understood. 
Que tengas un buen día.Have a great day.
Adiós.Bye.
You might find that some Spanish people have a hard time letting go of the conversation and actually hanging up the phone. It’s because they’re very friendly!

Don’t be surprised if they use all of the phrases above to say goodbye. Here’s an example:
  • Me has ayudado mucho, Antonio. Gracias. Un placer hablar contigo. Nos vemos a las tres en la oficina. Que tengas una buena mañana. ¡Adiós! – “You’ve helped me a lot, Antonio. Thanks. It was a pleasure talking with you. See you at three in the office. Have a great morning. Bye!”

9. Bonus: Sample Phone Conversations

You now have plenty of phrases to start practicing! But how might they sound when used in a real-life phone call? 

Here, we’ve included two sample phone conversations in Spanish. The first one is an informal call, while the second one takes place in a more formal context. 

Enjoy! 

1 – Asking your friend to meet for brunch

A: ¿Sí? – “Yes?”

B: Ey Juan, soy Marta. ¿Qué tal? – “Hey Juan, it’s Marta. How’s it going?”

A: ¡Hola Marta, cuánto tiempo! Todo bien, ¿qué tal tú? – “Hello Marta, it’s been so long! All good, how about you?”

B: Pues muy bien, justo quería proponerte de vernos este fin de semana. – “I’m good, I wanted to propose that we meet up this weekend.”

A: ¡Suena genial! Pero estoy ocupado todo el sábado… – “Sounds great! But I’m busy all Saturday…”

B: ¿Y qué tal el domingo? Podríamos quedar para tomar un brunch. – “How about Sunday? We could meet up for brunch.”

A: Perfecto. ¿Quedamos a las 12 donde siempre? – “Perfect. Should we meet at 12 in the usual spot?”

B: Vale. ¡Nos vemos entonces! – “Okay. See you then!”

A: Sí, ¡qué ganas! Hasta el domingo. – “Yes, can’t wait! See you on Sunday.”

B: Que vaya bien, ¡besos! – “Take care, kisses!”

A: ¡Un beso, Marta! Adiós. – “Kisses, Marta! Bye.”

2 – Making a reservation

A: Restaurante Antojo, ¿dígame? – “Antojo Restaurant, hello?”

B: Buenos días, llamaba para ver si tenían una mesa libre esta noche. – “Good morning, I was calling to know if you have a free table this evening.”

A: ¿Para cuántas personas sería? – “How many people in your party?”

B: Somos cinco, aunque uno podría fallar a última hora. – “We’re five, but one of us could not make it last minute.”

A: No hay problema. Tenemos mesa para ustedes. – “No problem. We have a table for you.”

B: ¡Perfecto! Otra pregunta, ¿tienen opciones veganas? – “Perfect! Another question, do you have any vegan options?”

A: Sí, todo nuestro menú es adaptable para veganos y personas con alergias alimentarias. – “Yes, our whole menu can be adapted to vegans and people with food allergies.”

B: Estupendo, ¿puede reservarnos la mesa para las 9? – “Great, could we make a reservation for nine p.m.?”

A: Tendría ser a las 9 y media ya que antes tenemos lleno, lo lamento. – “It has to be for 9:30 as we’re fully booked before that, I’m sorry.”

B: Ningún problema, también nos va bien. – “No problem, it’s also okay for us.”

A: Pues les esperamos esta noche a las 9 y media. – “So we’ll expect you at 9:30.”

B: ¡Muchas gracias! Hasta luego. – “Thank you so much! See you later.”

A: A usted, hasta luego. – “You’re welcome, see you later.”

A Woman Writing Something Down while Making a Reservation

¡Mesa para cinco! (“Table for five!”)

10. Final Thoughts

In this guide, you’ve learned the basic vocabulary and expressions you’ll need to make a phone call in Spanish. We hope the phrases we lined up here will help you have a successful conversation, from picking up the phone to ending the call. 

Do you feel more confident about your next all-Spanish phone call now? Or are there still some phone phrases or situations you’d like to see covered? Let us know in the comments! 

If you’d like to continue learning and improving your Spanish, create your free lifetime account on SpanishPod101.com today! We have tons of lessons tailored for every level, free vocabulary lists, and a blog with lots of fun and interesting posts like this one. 

Happy learning!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish

Basic Spanish Words for Beginners

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Have you decided to learn Spanish? Congratulations! It will be a very exciting and rewarding journey.

However, as you set out to learn this new language, you might not know where to begin. The sheer number of Spanish vocabulary words you have to learn can be overwhelming!

Keep in mind that you don’t need to rush into lessons that are above your level. It’s better to start from the basics and build a foundation that will help you reach your desired level of proficiency in Spanish!

To give you a boost, SpanishPod101 has compiled this guide to basic Spanish words for beginners. We’ve listed over 200 common Spanish words in different categories, providing additional information where necessary. 

Have fun!

A Man and a Woman Chatting while Drinking Coffee

You’re one step closer to your first conversation in Spanish!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Pronouns
  2. Articles
  3. Numbers
  4. Nouns
  5. Verbs
  6. Adjectives
  7. Conjunctions
  8. Prepositions
  9. Final Thoughts

1. Pronouns

Pronouns are some of the most important basic Spanish words for beginners. You’ll use them often in regular conversations!

However, when you start learning Spanish, you might be overwhelmed by how complex the pronoun system is. Don’t worry! We’ll start with the basics.

1 – Personal Subject Pronouns

Personal subject pronouns replace the subject of a sentence. You can use them to talk about a previously mentioned noun, whether it’s a person, an animal, or an object. In addition, you can use them to talk about yourself or to address other people.

  • Yo hablo español. → “I speak Spanish.”
  • Vosotros habláis inglés. → “You speak English.”

PersonSpanishEnglish
1st person sg.yoI
2nd person sg.you
3rd person sg.él, ellahe, she
1st person pl.nosotroswe
2nd person pl.vosotrosyou
3rd person pl.ellos, ellasthey

You might be surprised to learn that most native speakers won’t use personal subject pronouns to begin a sentence. The subject is often omitted unless it’s not obvious who or what we’re talking about.

  • Hablo español. → “(I) speak Spanish.”
  • Habláis inglés. → “(You) speak English.”

Apart from subject pronouns, other personal pronouns include direct object pronouns, indirect object pronouns, and prepositional pronouns. In Spanish, personal pronouns change form depending on their function and position in the sentence. Want to learn more? Check out SpanishPod101’s lesson on personal pronouns.

2 – Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns in Spanish (such as ese, este, and aquel) are quite easy for English speakers to grasp, as they work similarly to their English equivalents. You can use them to identify a person, an animal, or a thing, as well as its distance from you. These are some of the basic beginner Spanish words you need to learn early on!

In English, there are only four demonstrative pronouns: this and that and their plural forms these and those. However, in Spanish, there are fifteen! Why is that?

First of all, Spanish demonstrative pronouns correspond to the three different adverbs used to express distance: aquí (“here”), allá (“there”), and ahí (expresses something between here and there).

  • Este de aquí es mi perro. → “This is my dog.”
  • Esos de ahí son mis amigos. → “Those are my friends.”
  • Aquel de allá es mi coche. → “That is my school.”

The other main difference between Spanish and English demonstrative pronouns is the gender distinction, which applies to both singular and plural pronouns. Spanish has different forms for masculine, feminine, and neuter gender.

PersonSpanishEnglish
aquíahíallíherethere

masculine
sg.esteeseaquelthisthat
pl.estosesosaquellosthesethose

feminine
sg.estaesaaquellathisthat
pl.estasesasaquellasthesethose
neuterestoesoaquellothisthat

3 – Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns are crucial in any language, making them some of the most important Spanish words for beginners to learn. Asking is the best way to learn, after all!

And here’s some good news: They’re very easy for English speakers to learn, as they work just like their English equivalents! 

  • Qué → “What”
    ¿Qué quieres comer? “What do you want to eat?”
  • Cuál → “Which”
    ¿Cuál de ellos es tu hijo? → “Which one is your son?”
  • Por qué → “Why”
    ¿Por qué dejaste tu trabajo? “Why did you quit your job?”
  • Quién → “Who”
    ¿Quién vas a invitar a tu cumpleaños? “Who will you invite to your birthday?”
  • Dónde → “Where”
    ¿Dónde vas a ir de vacaciones? “Where will you go on your vacation?”
  • Cuánto → “How much”
    ¿Cuánto pagaste por esta chaqueta? “How much did you pay for this jacket?”
  • Cuántos / Cuántas → “How many”
    ¿Cuántos días te vas a quedar? “How many days will you stay?”
    ¿Cuántas manzanas quieres comprar? “How many apples do you want to buy?”
  • Cuándo → “When”
    ¿Cuándo vas a tener el bebé? “When will you have the baby?”

Of course, it will be helpful to learn a few full questions by heart if you’re planning to visit Spain or have a conversation with a Spanish speaker. Fortunately, SpanishPod101 always has your back! Check out the Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations.

A Woman Feeling the Stomach of a Pregnant Woman

¿Cuándo vas a tener el bebé? (“When will you have the baby?”)

2. Articles

One of the most characteristic aspects of the Spanish language is its articles. Studying these basic Spanish words for beginners is key to starting your learning journey off on the right foot.

Articles accompany nouns and can be definite (like the English word “the”) or indefinite (like the English words “a” and “an”).

  • El vaso “The glass”
  • Un vaso → “A glass”

In Spanish, however, they also indicate gender and number. This is why there are more articles to learn than there are in English. 

PersonDefinite articleIndefinite article

masculine
sg.elun
pl.losunos

feminine
sg.launa
pl.losunas

There is also the neuter article lo, which goes before adjectives, participles, and ordinal numbers that are not followed by a noun.

  • Lo mejor “The best”
  • Lo hablado → “What was said”
  • Lo primero “The first”

3. Numbers

When you start learning a language, you definitely have to learn how to count in it!

Let’s see the cardinal Spanish numbers from one to ten:

  • Uno → “One”
  • Dos → “Two”
  • Tres → “Three”
  • Cuatro → “Four”
  • Cinco → “Five”
  • Seis → “Six”
  • Siete → “Seven”
  • Ocho → “Eight”
  • Nueve → “Nine”
  • Diez → “Ten”

And here are the ordinal Spanish numbers from one to ten:

  • Primero → “First”
  • Segundo → “Second”
  • Tercero → “Third”
  • Cuarto → “Fourth”
  • Quinto → “Fifth”
  • Sexto → “Sixth”
  • Séptimo → “Seventh”
  • Octavo → “Eighth”
  • Noveno → “Ninth”
  • Décimo → “Tenth”

Once you’ve mastered counting from one to ten, check out SpanishPod101’s lessons on numbers to learn how to count to infinity!

4. Nouns

Nouns identify a person, animal, place, thing, or idea. Spanish nouns can be singular or plural, and each one has a grammatical gender

Below is a list of nouns you can use in your daily life, whether your back hurts, you’re looking for the post office, or you’re preparing a tasty meal. These basic beginner Spanish words can help you communicate general ideas even before you learn how to form sentences, so remember as many as you can!


1 – Body Parts

cuerpobody
cabezahead
caraface
ojoseyes
nariznose
bocamouth
orejasears
pelohair
mejillascheeks
cuelloneck
nucaback of the neck
hombrosshoulders
brazosarms
manoshands
Dedosfingers
uñasnails
pecho / pechoschest / breasts
These are some tricky words! Pechos is plural for pecho (“chest”), but it actually refers to “breasts.”
barrigabelly
espaldaback
caderahip
muslosthigh
piernaslegs
piesfeet

2 – Family

familiafamily
madre (Mamá)mother (Mom)
padre (Papá)father (Dad)
hijo / hijason / daughter
hermano / hermanabrother / sister
abuelo / abuelagrandfather / grandmother
tío / tíauncle / aunt
sobrino / sobrinanephew / niece
primo / primacousin

A Grandfather, Father, and Son

¡Una familia unida! (“A united family!”)

3 – Occupations

maestro / maestrateacher
profesor / profesoraprofessor
policíapoliceman / policewoman
médico / doctor / doctoradoctor
In Spanish, médico and doctor are used often equally. However, the phrase “to go to the doctor” is often said as “ir al médico” and, when you address the doctor directly you’ll refer to him or her as “doctor” or “doctora“, sometimes followed by his or her surname.
  • ¿Es grave, doctora García? → “Is it serious, doctor García?”
enfermero / enfermeranurse
abogado / abogadalawyer 
cocinero / cocineracook
camarero / camarera waiter / waitress
empresario / empresariabusinessman / businesswoman
oficinistaoffice worker

4 – Places Around Town

hospitalhospital
mercado / supermercadomarket / supermarket
escuelaschool
museomuseum
oficina de correospost office
universidaduniversity
comisaríapolice station
estación de trentrain station
aeropuertoairport
centro (de la ciudad)city center / downtown
In Spanish cities and towns, it’s common to refer to the old and central areas as el centro. It’s usually where there are the most tourist attractions and where rent is most expensive.
  • La estación del tren está en el centro. → “The train station is in the city center.”
afueras (de la ciudad)outskirts
Contrary to the concept of el centro, there is the concept of las afueras, which refers to the areas of a town or city that are farther away from the urban core.
  • El aeropuerto está en las afueras. → “The airport is in the city’s outskirts.”

5 – School and Office Essentials

lápizpencil
rotuladormarker
bolígrafopen
You’ll rarely hear a student say the word bolígrafo. The diminutive boli is much more commonly used.
ordenadorcomputer 
(ordenador) portátillaptop
To say “the laptop,” most Spanish speakers will say el portátil, but some may say ordenador too. Nowadays, laptops are more popular than traditional computers, so some people specify ordenador de sobremesa (literally, “on-desk computer”).
  • Prefiero usar el portátil en lugar del ordenador de sobremesa. → “I prefer using the laptop instead of the computer.”
libretanotebook
foliopiece of paper
carpetafolder
goma de borrareraser
marcadorhighlighter
clippaperclip
pizarrablackboard / whiteboard / chalkboard / greenboard
pupitredesk 
This word is used to talk specifically about school desks.
mochilabackpack

A Little Girl with a Backpack and Flower Bouquet Heading to School

Lista para la escuela (“Ready for school”)

6 – Food

verdurasvegetables
tomatetomato
lechugalettuce
pimientopepper
berenjenaeggplant
patatapotato
alcachofaartichoke
frutafruit
manzanaapple
perapear
plátanobanana
cerezascherries
sandíawatermelon
melónmelon
carnemeat
pescadofish
lechemilk
quesocheese
huevoseggs
harinaflour
salsalt
azúcarsugar
aceiteoil
mantequillabutter


5. Verbs

Verbs are some of the most common and basic beginner Spanish words. Why is that? Because verbs are used to describe every action in our lives! 

Here’s a list with over 50 verbs that will prove useful when you’re starting to speak Spanish. Did you know that in Spanish there are four different verbs that mean “to eat”? Keep reading! 


1 – Basic Auxiliary Verbs

haberto have
serto be
estarto be

The verbs ser and estar both translate to the English verb “to be,” but they serve different functions. 

Ser is used for permanent or lasting attributes, occupations, characteristics, origins, and relationships. It’s also used to give the time. 

  • Marta es una buena persona. → “Marta is a good person.”
  • Son las dos de la tarde. → “It is two in the afternoon.”

On the other hand, estar is used for positions, locations, actions, conditions, and emotions:

  • La ciudad de Moscú está en Rusia. → “The city of Moscow is in Russia.”
  • Estoy haciendo la compra. → “I’m doing the grocery shopping.”

These auxiliary verbs are some of the most important Spanish words for beginners to learn. They’re used with main verbs to express the tense or to explain the way in which the verb is understood.

  • He fregado los platos. → “I’m doing the dishes.”
  • Estoy haciendo la compra. → “I’m doing the shopping.”
  • La presidenta fue elegida por sus conciudadanos. → “The president was chosen by her fellow citizens.”

2 – Most Common Verbs

tenerto have 
Don’t mix up tener with haber!

Tener means “to have” in the sense of “to possess.”
hacerto do / to make
podercan
decirto say
irto go

3 – The Five Senses

ver / mirarto see / to watch
escuchar / oirto hear / to listen
olerto smell
degustarto taste
tocarto touch

Close-up of a Freckled Face and Green Eyes

¿Qué ven esos ojos? (“What do those eyes see?”)

4 – Basic Actions

caminarto walk
correrto run
hablarto talk
decirto say
contarto tell
llamarto call
escribirto write
leerto read
darto give
venirto come
llegarto arrive
marcharseto leave
ponerto put
dejarto leave / to put
Dejar is used in the sense of “leaving something” in a specific place.
quitarto remove

5 – Thoughts and Feelings

saberto know
conocerto know
Both conocer and saber translate to the English verb “to know.” However, they’re used in very different situations.

Saber is used when the speaker knows a fact, piece of information, or how to do something. Conocer, on the other hand, is used when the speaker knows a person, place, or thing.
  • Sé cocinar una paella riquísima. → “I know how to cook very good paella.”
  • ¿María? No la conozco. → “María? I don’t know her.”
sentirto feel
querer / amarto love
recordarto remember
añorarto miss
necesitarto need
soñarto dream
sufrirto suffer
llorarto cry
reirto laugh

6 – Daily Routine

despertarseto wake up
levantarseto get up
ducharseto shower
desayunarto eat breakfast
almorzarto eat lunch or second breakfast
comerto eat (lunch)
cenarto eat dinner
Spanish speakers use different verbs meaning “to eat,” depending on the meal they’re having.

The first meal of the day is desayuno, so the verb is always desayunar.

Almorzar means “to eat lunch,” but most people nowadays use it to talk about a second meal you have between breakfast and lunch (could be the Spanish equivalent to “brunch”).

Comer is the generic word for eating whatever and whenever, but if you say voy a comer you mean “I’m going to have lunch.”

Lastly, the final meal of the day is la cena; when you eat dinner, you’ll say cenar.
beberto drink
trabajarto work
estudiarto study
conducirto drive
dormirto sleep

7 – Life and Death

nacerto be born
vivirto live
respirarto breathe
crecerto grow (up)
morirto die

    → Learning the Spanish verb tenses can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, SpanishPod101 will help you master this subject in our Spanish Verb Conjugation Series.

A Newborn Baby being Held by a Doctor

¡Vivir es nacer a cada instante! -Erich Fromm (“To live is to be born every second!” -Erich Fromm)

6. Adjectives

Our next set of Spanish beginner words are adjectives. These colorful words can help you describe the world around you and strengthen the impact of your speaking or writing. 

Spanish adjectives agree in gender and number with the noun they describe. In this table, you’ll find both genders in the format [ Masculine / Feminine ]. If you see only one, it means the masculine and feminine forms are identical.

Plurals, on the other hand, are rather predictable and follow the general rules of Spanish plural formation.


1 – Describing Objects

The following adjectives can be used to describe the physical attributes or aspects of objects, and are sometimes used to describe people and animals too. 

grandebig
pequeño / pequeñasmall / little
largo / largalong
pesado / pesadaheavy
Beware! Most of the time, when people use pesado or pesada to describe a person, they’re using it as an insult to call them “tiresome” or “annoying.”
ligero / ligeralight

2 – Describing People

These adjectives, on the other hand, are mostly used to describe people. They can also describe animals where applicable. 

guapo / guapabeautiful / pretty / handsome
atractivo / atractivaattractive
alto / altatall
bajo / bajashort
delgado / delgadathin
gordo / gordafat
jovenyoung
viejo / viejaold
rubio / rubiablond 
moreno / morenadark (skinned or haired)
pelirrojo / pelirrojared-haired

3 – Describing Emotions

contento / contentahappy / pleased
felizhappy
emocionado / emocionadaexcited / emotional
ilusionado / ilusionadahopeful / excited
tristesad
desanimado / desanimadadisheartened
deprimido / deprimidadepressed
ansioso / ansiosaanxious / eager
aburrido / aburridabored
avergonzado / avergonzadaembarrassed / ashamed

4 – Describing Weather

lluviosorainy
nubladocloudy
ventosowindy
soleadosunny

7. Conjunctions

You can use conjunctions to connect words, clauses, and sentences. 

  • y → “and”
    El perro y el gato → “The dog and the cat”
  • ni → “nor”
    Ni el perro ni el gato “Not the dog nor the cat”
  • pero → “but”
    Quiero ir pero tengo que estudiar. → “I want to go but I have to study.”
  • porque → “because”
    Me marcho porque estoy cansado. → “I’m leaving because I’m tired.”

    Many people, even native Spanish speakers, mix up porque and por qué when they write, but they mean very different things! While porque means “because,” por qué means “why.”
  • como → “like” / “as”
    Pelean como el perro y el gato. → “They fight like dogs and cats.”
  • ya que → “because” / “since”
    Dejó los estudios ya que encontró un trabajo. “She quit her degree because she got a job.”
  • que “that” / “who”
    Mi madre es la persona que más me quiere. → “My mother is the person who loves me the most.”

Check out SpanishPod101’s lesson Spanish Conjunctions: But You Won’t Have Time! to learn about different types of conjunctions.

A Dog and Cat Cuddling

El perro y el gato (“The dog and the cat”)

8. Prepositions

  • a “to”
    Me voy a dormir. → “I’m going to sleep.”
  • de → “from” / “of”
    Recibí una carta de mi abuelo. “I received a letter from my grandad.”
  • en “in”
    Pon la ropa en la lavadora. → “Put the clothes in the washing machine.”
  • con → “with”
    Han venido con sus amigos. → “They have come with their friends.”
  • por “by” / “for”
    Este pastel está hecho por él mismo. → “This cake was made by himself.”
  • sin “without”
    He venido sin abrigo. → “I came without a coat.”
  • para “for”
    Mi sobrina dibujó esto para mí. → “My niece drew this for me.”

A Little Girl Holding up a Picture She Drew

Mi sobrina dibujó esto para mí. (“My niece drew this for me.”)

9. Final Thoughts

In this guide to basic Spanish words for beginners, you’ve learned more than 200 of the most common Spanish words. These will prove useful as you get ready to handle your first conversations in Spanish! 

How many of these words did you know already? Were any of them new to you? We look forward to hearing your thoughts! 

If you want to take your Spanish learning journey further, don’t forget to check out SpanishPod101. We have plenty of free vocabulary lists to help you expand your Spanish vocabulary, as well as useful lessons ranging from Beginner Level to Advanced

Enjoy the ride!

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Top 10 Spanish Filler Words to Help You Sound Like a Native

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Even if you’ve mastered Spanish grammar, you might notice that during conversations with native speakers, some words frequently come up that don’t quite fit with everything you’ve learned about the language.

This might be frustrating and cause you to get lost in conversations, but there’s no need to panic. What you’re hearing are Spanish filler words

Filler words are an important part of every spoken language. They’re short words or phrases that are commonly used to indicate pauses, to fill gaps in speech, or to start conversations. While they don’t necessarily follow any grammar rules, they’re a unique part of speech that help make up the particularities of a language. 

Learning a few basic Spanish filler words will not only spare you a lot of headaches during your conversations, but it will also make you sound like a native speaker.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you should know about filler words in Spanish: why and how to use them, which ones are most common, and much more.

Ready to become a master of the Spanish language with SpanishPod101? Let’s go!

A Group of Four Friends Sitting Down with Drinks to Talk

Bueno, y ¿cómo han estado? / Well, so, how have you been?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. What are ‘muletillas’ and why are they important?
  2. The Top 10 Filler Words According to Their Functions
  3. Pros and Cons of Filler Words
  4. La despedida

1. What are ‘muletillas’ and why are they important?

As their name indicates, filler words are typically used to fill gaps in speech during a conversation. In Spanish, however, they’re given the name muletillas. Muletilla literally means “cane” or “crutches.” This term has a somewhat pejorative connotation, as it conveys the need for constant support in order to communicate. 

As you can guess, language purists do not encourage the use of muletillas. However, it is undeniable that they’ve become an important part of spoken Spanish.  

You can see the same phenomenon occurring in English. Just think of the words “well,” “like,” and “so,” which are used in just about every conversation. In addition to filling in any blank spaces, they help the speaker better structure their thoughts. Spanish filler words are used in much the same way! 

Filler words in Spanish can perform the following functions:

  • Indicate a pause so you can think or restructure your ideas
  • Connect your ideas and give your speech greater structure
  • Express agreement regarding what your conversation partner is saying
  • Emphasize a point
  • Gauge whether your conversation partner is following the conversation

Also keep in mind that Spanish filler words vary greatly from one country to another. We recommend keeping your ears open all the time in order to learn as many variations as possible. 

Now that you know the basics, here are 10 of the most common filler words in Spanish that you can start using in your conversations right away. 

2. The Top 10 Filler Words According to Their Functions

A Woman on Campus Waving Goodbye to Her Friends

Bueno, los veo en la clase de mañana. / Okay, see you in tomorrow’s class.

2.1 Filler Words to Take a Pause

#1. Bueno

SpanishLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Bueno“Well” / “Good”“Well” / “Okay”

Bueno is a very common muletilla in Spanish. It’s mostly used to take a pause as you gather your thoughts (just like “well” is used in English), but it can also be used as an affirmative filler word to show agreement. It’s also a common Spanish sentence starter.

Bueno, me parece ya es algo tarde, podemos continuar mañana. 
Well, I believe it is already a little late; we can continue tomorrow.

A: Te veo mañana en clases. 
B: Bueno, nos vemos mañana. 
A: See you tomorrow in class. 
B: Okay, see you tomorrow.

#2 Pues

SpanishLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Pues“Well” / “As” “Well”

Pues can be used interchangeably with bueno, and it’s also used very much like the English word “well.”

A: ¿Alguién sabe cuándo recibiremos las calificaciones de la clase de Inglés?
B: Pues, yo espero que mañana. 
A: Does anybody know when we are receiving our grades for the English class? 
B: Well, I expect that tomorrow.

A: ¿Irás a la fiesta de bienvenida? 
B: Pues no sé, estoy muy cansada. 
A: Are you going to the welcome party? 
B: Well, I don’t know, I am very tired.

    → You can sound even more like a native by learning additional Key Spanish Phrases in our free vocabulary list! 

2.2 Filler Words to Add Structure

#3 En fin

SpanishLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
En fin“In end”“Lastly” / “In short” / “Anyway”

En fin is used to wrap up or summarize a conversation, or to indicate that you’re getting ready to drive home your point. You can use this common Spanish filler to politely end a conversation and avoid an awkward silence. 

En fin, la reunión ha sido muy interesante, pero deberíamos comenzar a prepararnos para el examen. 
Anyway, the meeting has been very interesting, but we should start getting ready for the exam.

En fin, el objetivo del proyecto es aplicar todo lo que aprendieron durante el semestre.
In short, the goal of the project is to apply everything you learned during the semester.

#4 Entonces

SpanishLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Entonces“Then” / “Hence”“So” / “Then”

Entonces is a connecting and transitioning word you’ll hear very often during conversations. Although this word is also used in formal written Spanish, its meaning changes slightly when it’s used as a filler word.

In writing, you’ll mostly find it used as a connecting word similar to “then,” “therefore,” or “hence” in English. When used in a conversation, it can also serve this function as well as that of the English filler word “so.”

Entonces, ¿no hay clases mañana? 
So, there is no class tomorrow?

A: Está cerrado el laboratorio. 
B:
Entonces mejor vayamos a la biblioteca. 
A: The laboratory is closed.
B: We’d better go to the library then.

2.3 Filler Words to Express Agreement

A Woman Paying Close Attention in Class

Vale, ahora entiendo. / Got it, now I understand.

#5 Ya

SpanishLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Ya“Already” / “Now”“Yes”

The word ya literally means “already” or “now,” and you can find it used this way in both written Spanish and spoken Spanish. But, like the previous word we looked at, it can also serve another function when used as a filler word. In this context, ya can be used to express agreement.

A: Creo que no podré ir a la reunión, esta tarea me está tomando más tiempo de lo que pensé.
B: Ya, entiendo, yo también me siento un poco cansado tampoco sé si iré. 
A: I don’t know if I will go to the meeting; this homework is taking me longer than I expected. 
B: Yes, I understand; I also feel very tired myself. I don’t know if I will make it either.

A: Todavía no puedo decidir si continuar con mi posgrado o no.
B: Ya, es una decisión muy difícil. 
A: I still can’t decide if I should continue with graduate school or not. 
B: Yeah, that is a very difficult decision.

#6 Vale

SpanishLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Vale“It’s valid”“Okay” / “Right” / “Got it”

Vale is one of the most common Spanish filler words to hear in a conversation, especially in Spain. It’s a very versatile word and it can come up multiple times in a single sentence. You can use it to express agreement, to emphasize your engagement in a conversation, or to check the engagement of your conversation partner.

A: Tu estarás a cargo de la redacción del proyecto. 
B: Vale, me parece perfecto. 
A: You will be in charge of writing the project.
B: Got it, that’s perfect.

Paso por ti mañana a las 10 para ir a la conferencia, ¿vale? 
I’ll pick you up tomorrow at 10 to go to the conference, okay?

2.4 Filler Words to Show Emphasis

#7 Mira

SpanishLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Mira“Look”“Look”

Mira, which literally means “look,” can be used to emphasize something or to indicate that what we’re about to say is important. This filler word in Spanish is used very similarly to its English counterpart.

Mira, yo creo que lo mejor sería que mañana conversemos esto con el equipo completo
Look, I think it would be best if we talked about this with the whole team tomorrow.

Me parece una buena idea pero mira, no creo que se del agrado del profesor. 
Sounds like a good idea to me, but look, I don’t think the teacher will like it.

#8 Venga / Vamos

SpanishLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Venga / Vamos“Come” / “Come on”“Come on”

Though both words have the same meaning, venga is very commonly used in Spain while vamos is used in Latin American Spanish. This word is used to encourage someone to take action or to express incredulity.

Vamos, que llegamos tarde. 
Come on, we’re going to be late.

Venga, ¿en serio? no me lo creo.
Come on, really? I can’t believe it.

2.5 Filler Words to Check Engagement or Comprehension

Two Women Sitting on a Sofa and Chatting

Reunirnos para practicar nuestro español ha sido muy útil, ¿sabes? 
Meeting up to practice our Spanish has been very helpful, you know?

#9 ¿Sabes?

SpanishLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
¿Sabes?“You know?”“You know?”

Sabes literally means “you know.” Like in English, you use it to check in with your conversation partner and to emphasize your own engagement in the conversation.

Este semestre ha sido muy difícil continuar con el trabajo y la escuela ¿sabes? 
This semester, it has been very difficult to keep up with work and school, you know?

La maestra dijo que estaba de acuerdo con nuestra propuesta, nunca pensé que fuera tan flexible ¿sabes? 
The teacher said she was okay with our proposal. I never thought she would be that flexible, you know?

#10 ¿Viste?

SpanishLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Viste“Did you see?”“Did you see?” / “Right?”

This filler word is used a lot in South America, especially in Argentina, although it’s widely understood among Spanish speakers everywhere. It’s used to make sure your conversation partner is following the conversation or to ask them for agreement.

El proyecto final no fue tan complicado, ¿viste?
The final project wasn’t so complicated, right?

El director ignoró completamente nuestra solicitud ¿viste? 
The principal completely ignored our request, did you see?

3. Pros and Cons of Filler Words

A Woman Sitting on the Ground Holding a Speech Bubble by Her Face

En fin, ahora estoy lista para comenzar a usar muletillas en una conversación.
Anyway, now I am ready to start using filler words in a conversation.

As you can see, filler words are short and fairly easy to pick up. They are very versatile and can be used to make conversations more fluid. So that means you should start using them right away, right?

Well…yes and no. Filler words have their pros and cons, so let’s talk about them.

3.1 Sound Like a Native

Once you’ve mastered Spanish grammar and pronunciation, using filler words will definitely make your speech sound more natural and help you engage in conversations like a native. 

As we mentioned before, filler words are an essential part of any spoken language. According to experts, one in every ten words used when speaking is a filler word. Thus, learning how to identify and use them is an important step on your journey toward mastering Spanish.

3.2 Beware of Overusing Them

Despite the importance of Spanish sentence starters and filler words, you should be careful not to overuse them. An excess of filler words in your speech can make you sound hesitant. Like idioms, they should be used sparingly and according to the situation.

Remember the term muletillas? One of the reasons they’re called this is because it’s easy to start depending on filler words whenever you’re stuck or struggling to find the right words. Using filler words everytime you forget what comes next or get stuck in your flow of thought does not leave the best impression.

Our advice is to start by learning to identify the most common Spanish filler words when they appear in your conversations. Once you can do that, start slowly adding them to your own speech as auxiliaries, being careful not to depend upon them too much for communication. 

4. La despedida

In this guide, we’ve presented to you everything you should know about Spanish filler words: the most common ones, their meaning, and examples of how to use them. We’ve also talked about their importance as well as the risk of overusing them.

Is there any filler word in Spanish you know that we didn’t mention? Please let us know in the comments!

Once you have all of these words memorized, we recommend paying attention to how they’re used in conversations and how they change for different variations of Spanish. You can do this by listening to podcasts in Spanish, watching YouTube videos or movies, and more.

Remember that, at SpanishPod101.com, you can find lots of useful resources to practice your pronunciation, learn new vocabulary, and have fun while improving your Spanish.

If you’re looking for a faster and more intensive way to take your Spanish to the next level, you can try our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, which gives you access to 1-on-1 private coaching from a professional Spanish teacher.

So, get ready to practice and start using filler words in Spanish! We wish you happy learning with SpanishPod101 y ¡hasta luego!

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The Top Spanish Love Phrases to Say “I Love You” in Spanish

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Spanish can be used to express love with a lot of passion, probably because Spaniards are very affectionate themselves. But, sometimes, all this enthusiasm can be confusing. 

Do they love me? Do they just like me as a friend?

If you were wondering how to say “I love you,” in Spanish or understand if someone actually loves you back, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide from SpanishPod101, you’ll learn the top phrases and expressions you’ll need to pursue your love interest. We’ll cover everything from asking your crush out on a date to actually proposing to him/her.

Of course, if you’re getting to know a native Spanish speaker, there’s no better way to woo them than by using romantic phrases in their mother tongue. And if you’re already married to a Spanish speaker, learn as soon as possible how to express your love in Spanish (please!).

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Getting to Know Each Other: Confess Your Affection
  2. Fall in Deeper: “I Love You” and More
  3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More
  4. Endearment Terms: Cute Couple Nicknames
  5. Bonus: Must-Know Love Idioms
  6. Final Thoughts

Two Heart-Shaped Balloons Floating against a Blue, Slightly Cloudy Sky

How do you say “I love you,” in Spanish? Let’s get romantic!

1. Getting to Know Each Other: Confess Your Affection

Do you have a crush on a Spanish person? Congratulations! You’re in for a passionate ride. That is, of course, if you play your cards right.

Here are the most important phrases and steps that will get you from a first date (or casual encounter…don’t be too formal with Spaniards) to a more long-term relationship with the man/woman of your dreams!

¿Puedo invitarte a una copa?
¿Te apetece que vayamos a cenar?
Can I buy you a drink?
Would you fancy having dinner with me?
In Spanish culture, it’s not so common to ask for a formal cita or “date.”

If you like someone, you would probably invite them a tomar algo (“to have a drink”) or to go have dinner together. Make it casual but romantic!


Me encantaría volverte a ver.I’d love to see you again.

El tiempo vuela cuando estoy contigo.Time flies when I’m with you.
This is kind of a cheesy way to say that you have so much fun with your love interest that you can’t get enough of being by his/her side.

Me gustas [mucho].I like you [a lot].
This might be confusing for Spanish learners, as the verb gustar is usually translated as “to like.”

In Spanish, if you say Me gusta la paella, you mean that you like paella as a type of food. But if you say Me gustas to a person, then you’re probably implying a romantic intention.


Me vuelves loco / loca.I’m crazy about you.
Caution! It can also be said in a negative way, as in: “You make me go crazy.” Don’t forget to read the tone!

¿Quieres salir conmigo?
¿Quieres ser mi novio / novia?
Will you go out with me?
Will you be my boyfriend/girlfriend?
In Spanish, you would normally use salir con alguien to mean “dating someone.”

“Boyfriend” and “girlfriend” are novio and novia respectively, but some people prefer the more neutral word pareja (“partner”).

A Man and Woman Having Drinks and Exchanging Phone Numbers

¿Vamos a tomar algo? (“Should we go have a drink?”)

2. Fall in Deeper: “I Love You” and More

Ah, the honeymoon phase… When you’re head over heels in love with someone and you can’t wait to express all the feelings you have for him/her.

If you’re worried that your vocabulary is too limited to express how that special someone makes you feel, SpanishPod101 has got you covered. Here are a few love phrases in Spanish you can use to share your heart—and maybe even steal theirs. 

Te quiero [mucho].I love you [so much].
When Spaniards are in love, they say te quiero to their partner. 

However, like in English, this expression is also used in reference to all kinds of love (such as love for your family or your friends). It’s even normal to say ¡Te quiero muchísimo! to your pet.

Te amo.I love you.
Here’s where it can get tricky for Spanish learners. 

In Castilian Spanish, te amo has a much deeper meaning than te quiero. It’s almost exclusively used for romantic love, and in highly passionate contexts. You can get an idea of how powerful this phrase is for Spaniards by listening to the famous folkloric song by Rocío Jurado Como yo te amo (“As I love you”).

In Latin America, however, it’s equivalent to te quiero and can be used to express all kinds of love. 

Estoy enamorado / enamorada de ti.I’m in love with you.

Me muero de ganas de verte.I can’t wait to see you again.
Literally, “I’m dying to see you.”

Spanish people use me muero (“I’m dying”) in many circumstances when they want to be hyperbolic. For instance, they say Me muero de hambre (“I’m dying of hunger”) when they want some food. So dramatic!

No puedo dejar de pensar en ti.I can’t stop thinking about you.

Eres el amor de mi vida.You’re the love of my life.

    → Looking for even more ways to express your love in Spanish? Check out SpanishPod101’s blog post How to Say “I Love You” in Spanish to plan the most romantic Valentine’s Day for your significant other!
A Couple being Intimate

Eres el amor de mi vida. (“You’re the love of my life.”)

3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More

When things get really serious and you want to spend your whole life with someone, there are some expressions that you’ll need to know in order to put a ring on it. 

Below are some romantic Spanish phrases for taking the relationship a step further, as well as some tips regarding what to expect when dating a Spaniard! 

Me gustaría construir una vida junto a ti.I’d love to build a life with you.

Quiero que conozcas a mi familia.I want you to meet my family.
This is one of the typical steps we take when getting serious in a relationship.

However, remember that Spanish people are very close to their relatives. So instead of only meeting their parents, expect to be introduced to parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins… 

Learn more about Spanish family values in our article about Spanish culture.

¿Vamos a vivir juntos?Do you want to live with me?

Te veo como al padre / a la madre de mis hijos.I see you as the father / mother of my children.
This is something you might say earlier on in the relationship if you have a corazonada (a “gut feeling”) that you might have found “the one.”

That said, you probably shouldn’t say this to someone you haven’t known very long—it might scare them! 

The most likely scenario is that you’ll let your friends know you feel this way about your new love interest first, and discuss it with said love interest later on when things are a bit more solid. 

Quiero pasar mi vida entera junto a ti.I want to spend my life with you.
In most real-life situations, this is probably a big hint to a marriage proposal.

¿Quieres casarte conmigo?Will you marry me?
Do I hear campanas de boda (“wedding bells”)?

¡Viva los novios! (“Hooray for the newlyweds!”)

A Newlywed Couple being Congratulated by Friends and Family

¡Viva los novios! (“Hooray for the newlyweds!”)

4. Endearment Terms: Cute Couple Nicknames

Spanish people tend to be very affectionate and like to give cute nicknames to their loved ones. It’s a way to say “I love you,” in Spanish on a daily basis. You can make all the nicknames below even cheesier by using the diminutive forms (like cielo-cielito or vida-vidita). 

But keep in mind that they’re not exclusively used for romantic love. In some situations, words that mean “my love” in Spanish can also be used for people dear to you, members of your family (especially children), and even people you’ve just met. Don’t freak out if some nice shop assistant calls you by one of the following nicknames…it doesn’t mean that he/she is hitting on you, it’s just how Spaniards talk!

Mi amor
Amorcito
My love
You can use mi amor, amorcito (if you’re a bit cheesy), or even just amor.

Cariño
Cari
Similar to “Honey”
The word cariño in Spanish means “affection” or “care.” It’s very common and used in many situations; you can have cariño for someone, but also for a special sweater you like to wear.

This affectionate nickname is used mainly in the forms of cariño, its shortened form cari, and even the diminutive form cariñito. There’s a popular Peruvian cumbia love song called Cariñito by Los Hijos del Sol that uses this cheesy nickname.

Rey / ReinaKing / Queen

CieloSimilar to “Honey” (literally, “Heaven”)
In Spanish, cielo means both “heaven” and “sky.” So if someone calls you cielo, you’ll never know if it’s because you’re like paradise to them or beautiful like the sky.

Mi vida
Vida mía
My life

CorazónMy heart

A Man Holding Bouquet of Roses behind His Back for a Woman

Treat your partner like a rey / reina!

5. Bonus: Must-Know Love Idioms

There are many ways to say “I love you,” in Spanish. You could just say Te quiero, but doesn’t Te quiero como la pera al pero sound much cooler?

Keep reading to discover the most peculiar and curious love idioms and expressions in the Spanish language.

Ser su media naranjaTo be his/her soulmate
This saying literally means that the two parts of a couple are “half oranges” that, when they find each other, make a whole orange. The origin of this idiom comes from an ancient Greek legend.

Weird, huh? Well, this is a common way to say that they were destined to be together.

TortolitosLovebirds
Even if tortolitos literally means “lovebirds,” it’s often used to mock a couple when they are seen being very affectionate to each other.

For example:

Uy, aquí sobramos, ¡vamos a dejar solos a los tortolitos! 
“Whoa, we’re too many here, let’s leave the lovebirds alone!”

Ser enamoradizoTo be someone that falls in love easily
There’s an actual expression for someone who falls in love too easily!

When someone is very enamoradizo, it means that he/she is a hopeless romantic but probably cannot commit to a relationship because they are enchanted by too many people.

Estar hechos el uno para el otroTo be made for each other

Te quiero como la pera al pero.I love you like the female pear to the male pear.
Okay, this is more funny than romantic…but it’s worth explaining this crazy Spanish idiom! 

It’s a comical way to say “I love you,” comparing your love for someone to the love that the pera (“pear,” a feminine word) has for the pero (or male pear). Of course, the “male pear” doesn’t exist, because pero actually means “but.”

El amor todo lo cura.Love heals all.
Caution! It’s often used as a pun, saying: El amor todo locura. It sounds exactly the same, but actually means, “Love is all craziness.”

A Whole Orange beside a Half Orange

Still looking for your media naranja (“soulmate”)?

6. Final Thoughts

Feeling romantic already? All clear on how to express your love in Spanish? In this guide, you’ve learned the top love phrases in Spanish that will get you from asking your crush out on a date to actually calling him/her by a cute couple’s nickname.

Learning a new language can bring us closer to the people who we (potentially) love. At SpanishPod101.com, you can find everything you need to improve your Spanish no matter your current level. We offer plenty of lessons, interesting blog posts, and free vocabulary lists featuring the most common words and their pronunciation.

Start speaking this passionate language today and win the heart of your future lover with these Spanish love phrases and romantic words!

¡Viva el amor! (“Long live love!”)

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Master the Art of Saying No with Negatives in Spanish

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Saying no in Spanish might sound quite easy, especially considering that the word “no” is used in both Spanish and English. However, there are some tricks and rules you’ll need to learn in order to master this important aspect of day-to-day conversations. The good news is that once you have these rules down, you’ll be able to make negative commands in Spanish, politely decline something, or answer a question in the negative. 

You should know that there are some grammar rules in English that don’t quite apply in Spanish. For starters, the use of double negatives—which is a grammatical error in English—is considered correct in Spanish and is very common. The usage of plural nouns is different as well, and of course, exact phrases and expressions differ.

But don’t worry! As always, we’re here to help. 

In this article, we’ll teach you…

  • …the most common negative words in Spanish.
  • …the basic negation forms and structures you should know. 
  • …how to form negative questions and answers. 
  • …how to use double negatives in Spanish.
  • …and more! 

You’ll want to master the art of making negative sentences early on, as they’re essential to even the most basic conversations. So, keep reading and get ready to improve your Spanish with SpanishPod101!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Negation in Spanish: An Overview
  2. Negative Questions and Answers: Rules and Examples
  3. Double Negatives
  4. A Few More Negative Expressions in Spanish
  5. La despedida

1. Negation in Spanish: An Overview

The most basic way to make a sentence negative in Spanish is to place a “no” before the verb and after the subject. Following this very simple rule, you can start using basic negation in your conversations:

  • Subject + No + Verb

Let’s see some examples of positive sentences turned to negative following this rule:

Quiero ir de vacaciones a la playa este verano.
I want to go on vacation to the beach this summer.

No quiero ir de vacaciones a la playa este verano.
I don’t want to go on vacation to the beach this summer.

Llegar a la estación de tren es fácil.
Getting to the train station is easy.

Llegar a la estación de tren no es fácil.
Getting to the train station is not easy.

As for compound sentences that have more than one verb, you’ll have to place the “no” before the first verb.

Este viaje ha sido muy divertido.
This trip has been very fun.

Este viaje no ha sido muy divertido.
This trip hasn’t been very fun.

However, placing the “no” before the verb is not the only way to make negative sentences in Spanish. Just like in English, there are other words you can use (never, neither, nobody, etc.) to the same effect. Below are some examples of how to use the most common Spanish negation words.

1- Most Common Negative Words in Spanish

Nunca – Never

  • Yo nunca he ido a Europa.
    I have never been to Europe.

Nada – Nothing / Anything

  • No quiero comer nada.
    I don’t want to eat anything.

Nadie – Nobody

  • Nadie vino a la fiesta. 
    Nobody came to the party.

Ni – Neither / Nor

* When the verb appears before the ni in a sentence, that verb has to be negative.

  • Ni yo ni mi hermana fuimos al tour.
    Neither I nor my sister went to the tour.
  • No fuimos al tour ni yo ni mi hermana.
    Neither I nor my sister went to the tour.

Ningun (o) (a) – None / Any

* Ninguno is a pretty unique negative word. When using it, you have to change the ending according to the grammatical gender of the noun that follows.

  • A: ¿Qué ciudad te gustó más, Praga o Berlín? 
    B: No me gustó ninguna. 
    A: Which city did you like the most, Prague or Berlin?
    B: I didn’t like either.
  • Ninguno de los asientos estaba vacío.
    None of the seats were free.
  • A: ¿Tuviste algún problema durante tu viaje? 
    B: No, no tuve ningún problema.
    A: Did you have any issues during your trip?
    B: No, I didn’t have any.

Tampoco – Neither / Either

  • Tu pasaporte no ha expirado todavía, el mío tampoco. 
    Your passport hasn’t expired yet, neither has mine.
  • ¿Entiendes Aleman? Nosotros tampoco entendemos.
    Do you understand German? We don’t understand either.

Todavía no – Not yet / Still not

  • Todavía no he terminado de empacar. 
    I haven’t finished packing yet.

Ya no – Not anymore / No longer

  • Ya no tengo efectivo, debería ir al cajero.
    I no longer have any cash, I should go to the ATM.
  • A: ¿Todavía piensas ir a esquiar este invierno? 
    B: Ya no.
    A: Are you still planning on going skiing this winter?
    B: Not anymore.

Sin / Without

  • No puedo viajar sin mi suéter favorito.
    I can’t travel without my favorite sweater.

A Guy Trying to Figure Out How to Pack Things into His Van

No estamos listos todavía. / We are not ready yet.

2- Affirmative and Negative Words in Spanish

Another important thing to remember is that, just like in English, many negative words in Spanish have a positive counterpart. By replacing a positive word with a negative word, you can turn a positive sentence into a negative one (and vice-versa). These positive words are also called indefinite words as they refer to persons, things, animals, etc. that are not specifically defined.  

Negative WordsPositive (Indefinite) Words
Nunca / NeverSiempre / Always
Nada / NothingAlgo / Something
Nadie / NobodyAlguien / Somebody
Ni / Neither, NorO / Or
Ninguno / NoneAlguno / Some, Any
Tampoco / NeitherTambién / Also, Too

Example:

Yo tampoco viajo en barco. / I don’t travel by boat either.
Yo también viajo en barco. / I travel by boat too.

2. Negative Questions and Answers: Rules and Examples

Two Women Looking at a Bus Schedule

¿No sabes dónde está la estación de autobús? / Don’t you know where the bus station is?

When asking negative questions in Spanish or giving negative answers, you have to keep in mind that Spanish has no equivalent for the English word “don’t.” For this reason, you’ll have to use no twice when answering (more on this in a little bit). Let’s see some examples!

Question: ¿Te gustó el viaje? / Did you like the trip?
Answer: No, no me gustó. / No, I didn’t like it.

Question: ¿No visitaste la torre Eiffel? / Didn’t you visit the Eiffel Tower?
Answer: No, no la visité. / No, I didn’t visit it.

3. Double Negatives

A Woman Grabbing Her Luggage at the Airport

Yo nunca antes viajé sola. / I never traveled alone before.

You might have heard a million times from your elementary school teacher that using double negatives is a no-no. For example, the following sentences would be grammatically incorrect in English: 

I don’t want no food.
I don’t like nobody.

This is because, in English, the two negative words cancel each other out. But this rule does not apply to Spanish grammar!

Negative expressions in Spanish are often formed using the so-called double negative. This is considered correct, and in some cases, it’s even required. In Spanish, the double negative reinforces the sentence

The formula is:

  • No + Verb + Negative word

Some examples:

    Ella no trajo nada de alimentos al campamento. / She didn’t bring any food to the camp.
    No me acompañó nadie al aeropuerto. / Nobody came with me to the airport.
    Yo no disfruto nunca de los viajes en autobús. / I never enjoy bus trips.
    A él no le gustó ninguno de los platillos locales. / He didn’t like any of the local dishes.
    Yo no bebo tampoco. / I don’t drink either.

Directly translating double negatives might sound very odd to you, which is why we recommend becoming familiar with the sounds and structures of Spanish without translating what you hear word for word. This is the best way to become fluent faster.

4. A Few More Negative Expressions in Spanish

Women with Delayed Flight Sleeping in the Airport

No veo el tren por ningún lado, debe estar retrasado. / I don’t see the train anywhere, it must be delayed.

Last but not least, here’s a list of very useful negative expressions in Spanish that will come in handy during your travels in Spanish-speaking countries.

1- No entiendo nada. / I don’t understand anything.

No entiendo nada, ¿podrías repetir por favor?
I don’t understand anything, could you repeat please?

2- No falta nada. / Nothing is missing.

Antes de irnos debemos asegurarnos que no falte nada en nuestras mochilas.
Before we leave we have to make sure nothing is missing from our backpacks.

3- Por ningún lado / Anywhere

¿Has visto mi chamarra? No la encuentro por ningún lado.
Have you seen my jacket? I can’t find it anywhere.

4- No pasa nada. / It’s okay.

No pasa nada, vamos a encontrar tu cartera.
It’s okay, we will find your wallet.

5- Todavía no / Not yet

A: ¿Estás lista? 
B: Todavía no.

A: Are you ready?
B: Not yet.

6- De ninguna manera / By no means

De ninguna manera saldrás solo después de las 11 de la noche.
By no means will you go out alone after 11 at night.

7- Ya no / No longer

Ya no quiero ir.
I no longer want to go.

  • For more useful negative words in Spanish, see our vocabulary list for rejecting an invitation and check out this video:

5. La despedida

In this guide, you’ve learned all the basics you’ll need to master negation in Spanish: 

  • The most important negative words in Spanish
  • The different rules involved in Spanish sentence negation 
  • The most common negative expressions in Spanish

You’ve also seen many examples, so you can start trying to make your own sentences right away.

Is there anything you would like to learn about Spanish negation that we didn’t cover here? Please feel free to share your thoughts, comments, and ideas, and we’ll make sure to answer any questions that might come up!

Remember that SpanishPod101 offers a great library of resources to help you in every step of your language learning journey. Learn or review all the basics with our guides and lessons for beginners, grow your vocabulary, or master your pronunciation with a free lifetime account. Better still, upgrade to a Premium PLUS membership and gain access to our MyTeacher service to take 1-on-1 lessons with your own personal tutor! 

Don’t know where to begin? Why not start by reading some more of our blog entries for inspiration?

Happy learning! Y ¡Hasta luego!

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Why Learn Spanish? Here are 10 Great Reasons.

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Learning a foreign language can be an amazing adventure to embark on. There are many benefits to learning a language, including personal and professional growth. It’s definitely an exciting and rewarding challenge.

Today, it’s easier than ever to start learning a foreign language as there are so many resources available. At SpanishPod101, for example, you can find everything you need to start learning Spanish: short audio and video lessons, all kinds of study tools, and our Premium PLUS members even get personalized guidance from a private tutor.

Enough about us, though. 

The real question is: Why learn Spanish at all? 

In this article, we’ll give you 10 compelling reasons to learn Spanish and outline a good number of benefits you can expect to receive along the way! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Spanish is a global language.
  2. It’s a smart investment for your future.
  3. It’s good for your brain.
  4. It will help you learn other languages (or better understand your own).
  5. You’ll get access to a rich culture.
  6. Spanish is a great tool for traveling.
  7. It will get you closer to people.
  8. Thinking of moving abroad?
  9. It will give you a new perspective of the world.
  10. It’s easy to learn!
  11. Final Thoughts

1. Spanish is a global language.

Did you know that Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world? 

One of the main reasons why you should learn Spanish is that doing so would allow you to join a huge community of speakers that’s growing every day. Spanish was ranked as the first “Language for the Future” in a study published by the British Council, and indeed, it’s one of the fastest-growing languages worldwide. Experts predict that there will be 530 million Spanish speakers in the world by 2050.

Today, Spanish allows you to communicate with more than 400 million people around the globe, plus a community of 91 million non-native speakers. Imagine all the new people you could meet!

A Group of Friends on a Clear Day

2. It’s a smart investment for your future.

Spanish is quickly becoming a favorite language among professionals. But why is it beneficial to learn Spanish for the professional world? 

As one of the fastest-growing languages in the world, it’s also one of the biggest languages for business. Spanish is becoming very useful in the main markets, especially in the U.S., where it’s the second most spoken language with a community of more than 50 million speakers. 

Learning Spanish will expand your job opportunities and make you more attractive to employers. It’s definitely a wise move as far as your career is concerned! The time and effort you put into studying Spanish will be a good investment for your future.

3. It’s good for your brain.

Learning a second language is almost like gaining a superpower. Research suggests that it has countless neurological benefits. It might even protect you against Alzheimer’s disease!

The cognitive benefits of bilingualism are related to changes in the structure of certain areas of the brain that are used when switching between languages. Doing so requires use of “executive functions,” which are the most complex brain functions. This enhances the areas of the brain that are involved, leading to a healthier brain.

Consequently, speaking a second language helps to slow down neurodegeneration caused by aging—this means better memory, efficiency, and processing speed even as you age. So, if you start studying Spanish today, you’ll be able to keep your brain younger for longer. Now you know that learning Spanish is important for your health!

    → If you want to start learning Spanish today, check out SpanishPod101’s Absolute Beginner lessons.
An Old Man Pointing to His Head

4. It will help you learn other languages (or better understand your own).

The more languages you know, the easier it is to learn a new one. For example, if you happen to know a second language already—no matter which language it is—you’ll find it easier to learn Spanish than if you only knew one language. 

Studies show that our brains work to make connections between the languages we know already and the ones we’re learning. While this applies to any languages we learn, these bonds are especially effective when learning languages that belong to the same family as another one we know. For example, learning Spanish will help you a great deal when it comes to learning other Romance languages such as French, Italian, or Portuguese.

And more good news: Because of this brain process, you’ll become an even better speaker of your first language!

5. You’ll get access to a rich culture.

One of the biggest perks of learning a new language is getting access to an entire culture. If you’re on the fence about whether to learn Spanish, think about the rich culture you’d be able to enjoy!

Take a look at some of the cultural benefits of learning Spanish:

  • Are you a bookworm? Some of the greatest contributions to universal literature come from Spanish-speaking authors. For instance, The Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes is considered the first modern novel and a founding work of Western literature. There have been 10 Spanish-speaking writers to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, including the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez.
  • Film nerds can also enjoy the finest works from Spanish or Latin American cinema. Many Spanish-language films have won Best Foreign Language Academy Awards, including Hable con ella by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar and El secreto de sus ojos by Argentinian director Juan José Campanella. If movies are too short for you and you prefer bingeing on great TV shows, don’t miss SpanishPod101’s recommendations for Spanish Netflix shows!
  • Flamenco, salsa, tango, reggaeton…these music genres are very different from each other and were born in different countries around the world. But they do have one thing in common: the Spanish language. One of the main reasons why you should learn Spanish is to enjoy the vast quantity of music available in this language. From pop stars like Shakira or Jennifer López to opera singers like Montserrat Caballé or Josep Carreras, you’ll most definitely find some Spanish-language music that will fit your tastes.
A Woman Lying in the Grass with Headphones On

6. Spanish is a great tool for traveling.

Want to travel the world? Spanish is an official language in 20 countries. You can find Spanish speakers throughout Central and South America, the Caribbean, and even in Southeast Asia and Africa.

Some could argue that speaking English is more than enough if you want to travel to a foreign country. But, as we mentioned in our blog post 6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel, speaking the local language gives you more opportunities to really discover your destination, helps you relax and manage stressful or dangerous situations, and allows you to make friends and have deeper connections with the locals. Remember that there are more than 400 million native Spanish speakers!

If you long to see the world, start learning Spanish today. It will take you one step closer to wandering the streets of Madrid, visiting the amazing forests of Costa Rica, or seeing the Machu Picchu in Perú (which is one of the 7 Wonders of the World)!

    → Don’t miss our blog post 74 Common Spanish Travel Phrases. It will familiarize you with the most important words and phrases you’ll need for your trip.

7. It will get you closer to people.

Many people start learning a language for personal reasons, usually because they want to communicate better with the people they love.

For example, someone may wish to speak the language of their grandparents or show their deep love for a partner by learning their native language. Learning a foreign language is quite a lot of work, so it’s a big show of love! Speaking of which, learn how to say I love you, in Spanish on our website. 😉

Even if you don’t know anyone who speaks Spanish natively, learning the language can help you make new deep connections with native speakers you’ll meet throughout the course of your life. Why is it important to learn Spanish in this context? Not only will it help you have more meaningful interactions with locals when traveling to Spanish-speaking countries, but it will allow you to connect with the Spanish-speaking community in your own city.

A Family Having a Big Dinner

8. Thinking of moving abroad?

Living abroad to study or work can be such a life-changing experience. You get to learn so much about people, places, cultures, and even yourself. 

One of the reasons why learning Spanish can be so useful is that it will give you the ability to move to any of the 20 countries around the world where Spanish is an official language. Depending on the country you choose—and even the region or city—Spanish will be essential for your everyday life. This is because English might not be spoken by the majority of the population (especially in places less popular among tourists).

Check out SpanishPod101’s blog post How to Find a Job in Spain to find even more reasons why you should move to Spain. Spoiler: The food is sure to convince you. 

9. It will give you a new perspective of the world.

If you’re still wondering why to learn Spanish, consider that knowing the Spanish language and understanding the new culture (or cultures, in this case!) is like opening a new window to the world.

Research shows that learning a foreign language literally changes your view of the world. According to this study, the benefits of learning a second language include not only being able to converse with native speakers, but also gaining insight into their culture and how they think—a huge business advantage! So in addition to learning vocabulary and grammar rules, you’re also shaping your brain to think in a completely different way.

So, again, why is it important to learn Spanish? You’re not only acquiring a cool skill but also getting deep into a brand-new world that will help you grow personally and professionally.

10. It’s easy to learn!

Yes, you read that correctly: Spanish is easy to learn! This is especially true if you’re a native speaker of English or a Romance language, as there are many similarities in grammar and vocabulary roots. Also, Spanish phonetics is very simple and easy to grasp.

In SpanishPod101’s blog post How Long Does it Take to Learn Spanish?, you’ll get the information you need to guesstimate the time it’ll take you to learn Spanish depending on the fluency level you’re trying to achieve.

You’ll also find it easier to learn Spanish if you already speak more than one language (especially if one of them is a Romance language). Your level of motivation, reasons for learning, methodology, and level of immersion will also play a role in how easy you find it to learn the language.

In any case, SpanishPod101 is a great way to start learning Spanish today!

A Woman Writing Down Notes During a Lecture

11. Final Thoughts

In this guide, you’ve learned the top 10 reasons why you should study Spanish. You might have your own personal or professional reasons already, but we hope that you found some appealing information that helps you make the first step on your journey towards learning Spanish.

Fortunately, learning a foreign language has become increasingly easier with the availability of resources you can find online that can guide you to achieve your desired level of fluency.

Have we convinced you to learn Spanish yet? Feel free to let us know if you have any questions or concerns about the language, or to share your own Spanish learning experience with those looking to get started. We look forward to hearing from you! 

If you’re looking for an integrated approach with lessons that suit your level as well as fun resources like videos and interesting blog posts, you’ll find everything you need to get started at SpanishPod101.com.

Check out all the free resources available and remember that you can also upgrade to a Premium PLUS account to take advantage of our MyTeacher service that will put you on the fast track to fluency!

¡Hasta la vista!

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The Ultimate Guide to Spanish Tenses

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One of the most daunting things when learning a new language, especially if that language is Spanish, is trying to master the verb tenses and conjugations. Spanish conjugation rules are quite different from those of English, and it might seem to you that there are too many Spanish tenses and endless exceptions. It might feel like a very long journey to embark on.

But don’t fear! 

Spanish is a complex language, and yes, there are numerous tenses to master. Nevertheless, there are numerous tricks and rules to make it all a lot easier. It’s all about learning patterns and practice, practice, practice.

We want to help you out on your mission to become an expert in Spanish verb tenses. Because it’s our goal to make the process as painless as possible for you, we’ll cover only the most important tenses in Spanish: simple past, present, and future.

After mastering these tenses, you’ll be able to start building more complex sentences and engaging in conversations. Once you have these down, we recommend that you continue your studies by learning all of the other complex tenses and irregular verbs.

Ready to take a huge step forward in your Spanish learning with SpanishPod101?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Spanish Tenses in a Nutshell
  2. Present Simple Tense: El Presente Simple
  3. Past Simple Tense: El Pasado Simple
  4. Simple Future Tense: El Futuro Simple
  5. Irregular Verbs
  6. Auxiliary Verbs
  7. La despedida

1. Spanish Tenses in a Nutshell

The three main tenses in Spanish are: 

  • Presente (Present)
  • Pasado / Pretérito (Past) 
  • Futuro (Future) 

There are also three modes (sometimes called ‘moods’) in which these tenses can be conjugated:

  • Indicative
  • Subjunctive
  • Imperative

There are also several variations of these tenses and modes, which allow you to express verbs in a greater variety of contexts. A great example of this is the Spanish conditional, a form that’s used to talk about things that might happen if another thing happens or a certain condition is met. 

So how do you know which Spanish tenses to learn first? 

As a beginner, you only need to worry about mastering the three basic tenses: simple present, past, and future. By learning these first, you’ll get familiarized with the structures and patterns used to conjugate verbs in Spanish—more importantly, you’ll be able to start communicating! From then on, learning everything else will be easier.

→ For a more extensive overview of all Spanish tenses, visit our Spanish Verbs Guide.

1.1 Key Things to Know Before You Start Conjugating

Before we get ahead of ourselves, there are two basic things you need to learn before diving into Spanish conjugation: 

1) Verbs in their infinitive form 

2) Pronouns

The conjugation pattern to be used for each tense will depend on the type of verb you’re using (its ending in the infinitive) and the subject of the sentence (the pronoun).

What do we mean by the verb’s ending? Unlike English, which adds a “to” before any verb to turn it into its dictionary form, Spanish infinitive forms are defined by how the verb ends (the verb’s last two letters). Each verb ends in either -ar, -er, or -ir. This is how we classify verbs in order to conjugate them.

Verbs in infinitive form
Verbs ending in -arVerbs ending in -erVerbs ending in -ir
hablar (to speak)comer (to eat)vivir (to live)
soñar (to dream)perder (to lose)sentir (to feel)
cantar (to sing)beber (to drink)salir (to exit)
pensar (to think)correr (to run)escribir (to write)
dejar (to leave)leer (to read)dormir (to sleep)

Pronouns
Yo
You (Informal)*
UstedYou (Formal)
ÉlHe 
EllaShe
NosotrosWe
Ustedes You
Ellos Them
Vosotros*You

→ For more verb examples, visit our list of the 50 Most Common Verbs.

*A couple of notes:

There are some regional variations regarding formal and informal uses of “you.” While most countries in Latin America use for informal conversations and usted for formal ones, usted is used as a general form in some South American countries.

Vosotros is used only by Spanish speakers in Spain, while standard Latin American Spanish uses ustedes. We’ll focus on standard Latin American Spanish in this article, but we wanted to let you know about the variations so they don’t come as a surprise to you.

Okay, now you know the key elements. Let’s start conjugating verbs!

2. Present Simple Tense: El Presente Simple

A Couple Cooking in the Kitchen Together

Every weekend I cook pasta. – Cada fin de semana cocino pasta.

So let’s get started! 

As we mentioned, to conjugate a verb you have to use its infinitive form. From that form, you’ll extract the root of the verb and add a different ending depending on the tense and pronoun.

Let’s see an example with the verb comer (to eat):

→ Infinitive form: Comer→ Root: Com
→ Present simple tense conjugation: Yo com(o) – I eat

Remember: The ending you need to add will change according to the ending of the infinitive verb. So let’s see how to conjugate verbs in the present simple tense for every ending. 

2.1 Simple Present Tense Verbs Ending in –AR

Verb: Cocinar (To Cook) 
PronounSimple Present Tense Conjugation
Yo (I)Cocin+o
(You)Cocin+as
Usted (You)Cocin+a
Él (He)Cocin+a
Ella (She)Cocin+a
Nosotros (We)Cocin+amos
Ustedes (You)Cocin+an
Ellos (They)Cocin+an

Do you see a pattern here? Yes! The letter a from the -ar ending stays most of the time; remembering that will make it easier for you to remember the formulas for conjugating AR verbs in the present tense in Spanish. Just practice and memorize these endings, and it will get much easier to learn the rest of the tenses and forms.

2.2 Simple Present Tense Verbs Ending in -ER

Verb: Comer (To Eat)
PronounSimple Present Tense Conjugation
Yo (I)Com+o
(You)Com+es
Usted (You)Com+e
Él (He)Com+e
Ella (She)Com+e
Nosotros (We)Com+emos
Ustedes (You)Com+en
Ellos (They)Com+en

We told you it would get easier and it did, right? The formulas here are pretty much the same as those for AR verbs; you just have to switch the letter a for e.

2.3 Simple Present Tense Verbs Ending in -IR

Verb: Vivir (To Live)
PronounSimple Present Tense Conjugation
Yo (I)Viv+o
(You)Viv+es
Usted (You)Viv+e
Él (He)Viv+e
Ella (She)Viv+e
Nosotros (We)Viv+imos
Ustedes (You)Viv+en
Ellos (They)Viv+en

Okay, this one is a bit trickier. IR verbs have pretty much the same conjugation as ER verbs, changing only for the pronoun we, where the i stays. 

We recommend that you start learning the simple present tense first; once you’re completely confident with this tense, move on to the next one. Mastering the simple present tense in Spanish will allow you to start communicating more fluently, have conversations, and start identifying patterns in conjugation that will be very useful when learning the other tenses.

3. Past Simple Tense: El Pasado Simple

A Group of Friends Eating Salad Together

Yesterday, my friends and I ate salad. – Ayer, mis amigas y yo comimos ensalada.

Once you’ve mastered the simple present tense, you can move on to the simple past tense. And we have some good news for you! This one will be easier. In the Spanish past tense, ER and IR verbs have the exact same conjugation. There are also many patterns you’ll identify that will make your learning go smoother.

So let’s see how to conjugate for the simple past tense in Spanish!

3.1 Simple Past Tense Verbs Ending in -AR

Verb: Cocinar (To Cook) 
PronounSimple Past Tense Conjugation
Yo (I)Cocin+é
(You)Cocin+aste
Usted (You)Cocin+ó
Él (He)Cocin+ó
Ella (She)Cocin+ó
Nosotros (We)Cocin+amos
Ustedes (You)Cocin+aron
Ellos (They)Cocin+aron

Keep an eye on the accents, because they’re very important. The tense changes depending on whether the accent is absent or present. For example: cocino means “I cook” but cocinó means “You/He/She cooked.”

3.2 Simple Past Tense Verbs Ending in -ER

Verb: Comer (To Eat)
PronounSimple Past Tense Conjugation
Yo (I)Com+í
(You)Com+iste
Usted (You)Com+
Él (He)Com+
Ella (She)Com+
Nosotros (We)Com+imos
Ustedes (You)Com+ieron
Ellos (They)Com+ieron

3.3 Simple Past Tense Verbs Ending in -IR

Verb: Vivir (To Live)
PronounSimple Past Tense Conjugation
Yo (I)Viv+í
(You)Viv+iste
Usted (You)Viv+
Él (He)Viv+
Ella (She)Viv+
Nosotros (We)Viv+imos
Ustedes (You)Viv+ieron
Ellos (They)Viv+ieron

As we mentioned, ER and IR verbs have the exact same conjugation in the past tense. And we have even more good news: The simple future tense in Spanish is the easiest of the three!

→ If you’re curious about irregular verb conjugation in the past tense, check out this video:



4. Simple Future Tense: El Futuro Simple

A Seaside Village in Catalonia, Spain

When I retire, I will live on the beach. – Cuando me retire viviré en la playa.

As we promised, everything gets even easier at this point. The future simple tense uses the same conjugation pattern for all three verb forms. The only difference is that to conjugate for the future tense in Spanish, you don’t extract the verb’s root form; rather, you keep the verb in its infinitive form and then add the conjugation.

Let’s see how!

4.1 Simple Future Tense Verbs Ending in -AR

Verb: Cocinar (To Cook) 
PronounSimple Future Tense Conjugation
Yo (I)Cocinar+é
(You)Cocinar+ás
Usted (You)Cocinar+á
Él (He)Cocinar+á
Ella (She)Cocinar+á
Nosotros (We)Cocinar+emos
Ustedes (You)Cocinar+án
Ellos (They)Cocinar+án

4.2 Simple Future Tense Verbs Ending in -ER

Verb: Comer (To Eat)
PronounSimple Future Tense Conjugation
Yo (I)Comer+é
(You)Comer+ás
Usted (You)Comer+á
Él (He)Comer+á
Ella (She)Comer+á
Nosotros (We)Comer+emos
Ustedes (You)Comer+án
Ellos (They)Comer+án

4.3 Simple Future Tense Verbs Ending in -IR

Verb: Vivir (To Live)
PronounSimple Future Tense Conjugation
Yo (I)Vivir+é
(You)Vivir+ás
Usted (You)Vivir+á
Él (He)Vivir+á
Ella (She)Vivir+á
Nosotros (We)Vivir+emos
Ustedes (You)Vivir+án
Ellos (They)Vivir+an

As you can see, this tense is the easiest of the three. You just have to learn the different formulas and apply them to all verbs in their infinitive form. There’s just one important thing to keep in mind: 

Unlike English speakers, Spanish speakers often use the simple future tense to talk about a distant future; there’s a different tense to talk about the near future. But don’t worry about it yet! Just keep it in mind.

5. Irregular Verbs

A Chef Sprinkling a Spice into a Pot

I am a culinary student. – Yo soy estudiante de cocina.

Okay. Now that you have the basics, you can start thinking about irregular verbs. Some of the most commonly used verbs in Spanish happen to be irregular.

Irregular Verbs (Infinitive Form)
Ser To be (Permanent quality)
EstarTo be (Temporary state)
HaberTo have (Auxiliary verb)
Tener To have
Hacer To do
Poder To be able
Decir To say
Ir To go
Ver To see
DarTo give

Irregular verbs have their particular patterns of conjugation. Let’s see a brief example of how to use one of the most common irregular verbs: ser (to be).

  • Yo soy estudiante de idiomas. → I am a language student.
  • Tú eres estudiante de idiomas. → You are a language student.
  • Él es estudiante de idiomas. → He is a language student.
  • Ella es estudiante de idiomas. → She is a language student.
  • Nosotros somos estudiantes de idiomas. → We are language students.
  • Ustedes son estudiantes de idiomas. → You are language students.

You’ll want to study all of these verbs separately. You’ll find many patterns that will help you learn them faster, but it’s a matter of dedication and practice to completely master them.

→ If you want to learn more irregular verbs, don’t forget to check out this video:



6. Auxiliary Verbs

Last but not least, let’s talk about the use of auxiliary verbs in Spanish. You’ll want to consider these verbs as your next step after learning the three basic tenses and mastering some of the irregular verbs’ conjugations. 

Just like in English, an auxiliary verb is used along with a main verb to indicate a tense or to indicate the way in which the verb should be interpreted. It’s a verb that affects the meaning of the main verb.

The most common auxiliary verbs in Spanish are:

Ser → To be
Estar → To be
Hacer → To do
Haber → To have

Let’s see an example:

  • He estudiado toda la tarde. → I have studied all afternoon.

However, it’s important to note that auxiliary verbs are used much less in Spanish than they are in English. This is because Spanish has conjugation forms to indicate tenses that are often indicated with auxiliary verbs in English. An example of this is the auxiliary verb “to do.”

For example: 

  • English: Do you cook?
  • Spanish: ¿Cocinas?

So in Spanish, you just conjugate the verb in the simple present tense; there’s no need to add an auxiliary verb. For now, focus on the three main tenses. This will all be clearer by the time you start learning about auxiliary verbs in depth. 

La despedida

In this guide, you’ve learned all the basics about Spanish verb tenses. Before you can expect to master all Spanish tenses, you’ll need to focus on learning the simple present, past, and future. With these three tenses alone, you can start engaging in conversations and building your skills. 

Remember that SpanishPod101 offers numerous resources to help you learn and practice your Spanish. Make sure to check out our verb lists, pronunciation guides, and lesson library. If you need extra help, you can also try out our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher. This will give you the personal guidance of a private teacher to help you out with all your technical questions, pronunciation, and anything else you need. 

Before you leave: Is there anything about these basic tenses that you’d still like to know? 

Happy learning with SpanishPod101. ¡Hasta luego!

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Spanish?

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At some point, every Spanish learner has asked the question: How long does it take to learn Spanish? And there’s no easy answer! It depends on many factors, such as your commitment and available resources. The total amount of time it takes you to reach a certain level of fluency may vary significantly from that of another learner. 

But don’t get discouraged! Beginning your Spanish language learning journey now will be well worth it. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world (second only to Mandarin), and is growing in use every day. In addition to reaping the benefits of knowing such a widely spoken language, this journey will help you get closer to the wonderful Spanish culture and give you the confidence needed to travel solo to many Spanish-speaking countries!

In this article, you’ll get an estimate of how long it will take you to learn Spanish fluently based on your objectives and circumstances. We’ll also provide you with a list of the best ways to learn Spanish fast, so you can speed up your progress!

A Woman Smiling and Holding a Map

Planning a trip to Spain? Then keep reading for the best way to learn Spanish fast.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Factors You Should Take Into Account
  2. Mastering the Basics
  3. Reaching an Intermediate Level
  4. Native-Like Fluency
  5. Your Journey to Learning Spanish Starts Now!

Factors You Should Take Into Account

The journey of learning Spanish (or any other foreign language) is different for everyone. There are several factors that you should take into account before deciding to learn a language from scratch, as they play a key role in determining how long the process will take you. 

Try to answer the following questions:

What languages do you speak?

Your native language (and any other languages you speak) is a crucial factor to consider when you begin learning Spanish.

First of all, it’s much easier to learn a language if you can already speak another language with similar roots. For example, if you can speak a Romance language such as French, you’ll learn Spanish faster than someone who only speaks Japanese, for example. 

Being able to speak English is a good starting point for learning Spanish, as the two languages share many of the same Latin influences. For this reason, they use the same alphabet and have many similar words and structures. This similarity even extends to idioms and proverbs, many of which are almost the same in both languages; you can see this firsthand in our SpanishPod101 blog entry on Spanish Proverbs.

Another reason to consider the languages you speak is because bilinguals find it easier to learn a third language. Research shows that the more languages one knows, the easier it is for that person to learn a new foreign language. The human brain applies language skills from one language to another, so learning other languages can even improve your speaking skills in your native language! 

Which learning method are you following?

Time estimations on how long it takes to learn Spanish are usually based on classroom hours. However, there are many different types of methodologies when it comes to foreign language learning, and different methodologies can also coexist within a given classroom.

Are you learning Spanish in an academic environment? Or maybe you’re following SpanishPod101’s lessons? Are you consistently investing several hours a week, or casually using online tools when you feel like it?

Keep in mind that you need a balance between intensity and consistency to really master a language. Doing intensive training helps you take a big leap forward when learning a language, but you’ll quickly forget what you’ve learned if you’re not consistently practicing your knowledge afterward. Likewise, if you commit every week but invest little time, your progress will be very slow. 

If you’re interested in how to learn Spanish fast, remember: Balance is key!

A Row of Three Students Taking a Test in the Classroom

What methodology are you following to learn Spanish?

What’s your level of immersion?

Besides the hours you spend actually taking lessons and practicing what you’ve learned, the best way to learn Spanish fast is to surround yourself with the language as much as you can. In other words: Your level of immersion is very important.

Learning Spanish while living in downtown Madrid is not the same as having limited contact with the language a few hours per week in your classroom. But don’t worry, it’s not compulsory to move to a Spanish-speaking country! There are many ways to increase your exposure to Spanish and immerse yourself in the language. 

You can watch Spanish TV shows with English subtitles, read Spanish media, find a Spanish conversation partner or group, translate Spanish lyrics, and the list goes on… 

Later in this article, we’ll give you some more tips to increase your level of immersion in relation to your level of fluency.

How motivated are you?

The reason you’re learning Spanish has more influence on your learning progress than you might think. Are you moving to a Spanish-speaking country? Does your job require you to be fluent in Spanish? Do you have Spanish-speaking friends? Do you like Spanish pop music?

If you’re learning Spanish out of obligation, it’ll be harder for you to commit and you won’t progress very quickly. If that’s the case for you, try finding elements that motivate you based on your interests. For instance, watching Spanish football games or going to a Spanish cooking class could be just the extra motivation you need! 

The more incentives you have to learn a language, the faster you will learn. Your level of motivation will determine the amount of time and effort you’ll be willing to invest in learning Spanish. Try to always remember the reason you started your learning journey in the first place and, at the same time, search for new sources of motivation to avoid losing interest. 

    SpanishPod101’s blog is a great tool for learning new things and curious facts about the Spanish language and culture. Keep up with our latest posts to stay inspired!

What’s your objective?

In addition to your motivations, you should consider your objectives when you start learning a language. What level of fluency do you want to reach? Would you be satisfied with some basic knowledge to help you get around during a trip to Spain? Or maybe you want to be able to hold a one-on-one conversation in Spanish? Do you have your sights set on reaching a native level of fluency?

    → At SpanishPod101.com, you get lessons based on your goals and needs. You can start speaking Spanish from the first lesson!

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages has categorized knowledge of European languages into three levels: Basic (A), Intermediate (B), and Advanced (C). Here’s a quick breakdown: 

  • Basic User (A)
    • Breakthrough (A1)
    • Waystage (A2)
  • Independent User (B)
    • Threshold (B1)
    • Vantage (B2)
  • Proficient User (C)
    • Effective Operational Proficiency (C1)
    • Mastery (C2)

The Common Reference Framework also states the estimated number of hours needed to reach each level. Keep reading to find out what they are!

Asian and Caucasian Coworkers Chatting

Do you want to be proficient in Spanish in a professional environment?

Mastering the Basics

When you first start studying the Spanish language, you’ll learn how to engage in basic interactions and how to get by in a Spanish-speaking environment. Here are the two beginner levels and how long it takes to reach each one: 

Breakthrough > 90-100 hours: 

It takes between 90 and 100 hours to reach a basic level of Spanish that allows you to use and understand common everyday expressions and basic phrases. At this point, you can introduce yourself and talk about some personal details about where you live, your friends and family, etc. You can also hold a conversation if the other person speaks slowly and uses a basic vocabulary.

Waystage > 180-200 hours: 

The elementary level of Spanish can take you up to 200 hours to master. At this level, you can understand frequently used expressions in everyday life (such as asking for directions or tips for shopping). You’re able to describe your environment and have simple conversations about your current situation or familiar routines.

Here are some tips on how to learn Spanish faster at the Beginner stage:

Reaching an Intermediate Level

Wondering how long it takes to achieve an intermediate level of Spanish? Here’s some useful information on the two intermediate levels:

Threshold > 350-400 hours:

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages estimates that it takes around 350-400 hours to reach the Threshold level of Spanish. At this level, you can understand conversational and written input on everyday matters such as work, school, and leisure. You can also be independent when traveling to a Spanish-speaking country and give your opinion on plans or events. In addition, you can produce texts and describe abstract issues such as your dreams and hopes.

Vantage > 500-600 hours:

This level will take you between 500 and 600 hours to master. Once you do, you’ll be able to understand the main ideas of complex and technical texts. You’ll also be able to hold one-on-one conversations with a certain degree of fluency and spontaneity without causing strain on native speakers. Finally, you’ll be able to produce detailed texts on a wide range of topics while voicing your opinion.

Here are some tips you can follow to reach an intermediate level of fluency in Spanish:

Beautiful Buildings in Barcelona, Spain

An intermediate level of fluency in Spanish will help you interact with the locals in Barcelona.

Native-Like Fluency

If your ambition is to reach an advanced and proficient level of Spanish that allows you to blend in with the natives, pay attention to the following sections:

Effective Operational Proficiency > 700-800 hours:

If you want to learn Spanish fast, you need to be aware that the Effective Operational Proficiency level will take you up to 800 hours to achieve. Of course, at this level, you can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning. You can express yourself with fluency and flexibility in social, academic, or professional situations without searching for words or expressions too much. You’re able to produce complex and well-organized texts using connectors.

Mastery > 1000-1200 hours:

The top Spanish level is Mastery, which you’ll achieve after investing between 1000 and 1200 hours of your time. At this level, you can understand almost everything you hear or read. You’re able to summarize information and reconstruct arguments from different written and spoken sources. You can express yourself fluently and precisely, and you can distinguish between different shades of meaning in complex situations. 

If you’re looking to give your Spanish knowledge a boost and reach a proficient level, here are some things you can do:
  • Read Spanish newspapers on a daily basis.
  • Listen to Spanish podcasts. Of course, you can start with SpanishPod101!
  • Translate Spanish poetry into your native language.

Your Journey to Learning Spanish Starts Now!

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Did this article help motivate you? We hope so! The Spanish language is not only beautiful, but it can also be helpful in the professional and academic world as it’s the second most spoken language in the world. 

So, without further ado, let’s get on with it! At SpanishPod101.com, you’ll find tons of tools for learning Spanish that cater to a variety of levels, objectives, and interests. There are plenty of lessons, videos, and blog posts that will help you achieve your desired level of fluency in Spanish.

Start by planning a schedule, and then stick to it. Consistency and motivation are the keys to successfully learning a language. Savor this first step in your Spanish learning journey, and never give up.

See you soon, hasta pronto!

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The Top 30 Essential Spanish Proverbs

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Proverbs are an essential part of popular and oral culture. Often transmitted to children by the elder generations, they are language’s time capsules that carry a lot of history—and unique cultural perspective—with them.

Because proverbs from around the world have very different origins and have evolved from their original meanings over time, they can be difficult to understand without context or a good guide in hand.

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered! SpanishPod101 brings you the top thirty Spanish proverbs and sayings that will help you speak like a local (or at least understand why Spaniards say that the world is a handkerchief). 

Ready? Then let’s get started.

A Little Girl Hugging Her Mother from Behind

From that stick, that chip or like mother, like daughter!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Proverbs About Relationships
  2. Proverbs About Opportunity
  3. Proverbs About Personality
  4. Proverbs About Social Situations
  5. Proverbs About Life Situations
  6. Proverbs About Actions and Consequences
  7. Life Mottos
  8. Final Thoughts

1. Proverbs About Relationships

Wherever you live in the world, relationships are an essential part of everyday life. Here are some Spanish proverbs about family, friendship, and love to give you some cultural perspective!

#1

SpanishDe tal palo, tal astilla.
Literally“From such a stick, such a chip.”
EquivalentLike father, like son. / The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
This common Spanish proverb refers to the genetic characteristics or personality traits that sons and daughters inherit from their parents.

Ana tiene los mismos ojos que su madre. De tal palo, tal astilla.
“Ana has the same eyes as her mother. From that stick, that chip.”


#2

SpanishDime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres.
Literally“Tell me with whom you walk, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
EquivalentA man is known by the company he keeps.
This saying suggests that you can tell someone’s personality by their friends or company.

Usually, this phrase is used with a pejorative tone. It advises others to be mindful of the personal image they project when going around with “bad influences.”

#3

SpanishUn clavo saca otro clavo.
Literally“One nail drives out another.”
This Spanish proverb means that a new love interest helps one forget a heartbreak. It metaphorically refers to the pain of a romantic breakup as something that’s nailed onto you. 

The fun twist here is that the expression “echar un clavo” means “to have sex,” similar to the English “to screw someone.” So “Un clavo saca otro clavo” suggests that having sex with someone new can help you forget your ex.

#4

SpanishDios los cría y ellos se juntan.
Literally“God creates them and they get together.”
EquivalentBirds of a feather flock together.
Similar to “Dime con quien andas, y te diré quién eres,” this Spanish proverb has to do with the common traits of people who spend time together.

It means that we tend to get together with people who resemble us in personality or interests.

#5

SpanishOjos que no ven, corazón que no siente.
Literally“Eyes that don’t see, heart that doesn’t feel.”
EquivalentIf you don’t see it, you can’t feel it.
This popular Spanish proverb means that people don’t suffer for what they don’t know.

Nowadays, this saying refers to all types of situations, from politics to work. But it’s most commonly used in reference to romantic relationships in which one of the partners is cheating on the other without them knowing about it.


Two Birds Perched on a Branch

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

2. Proverbs About Opportunity

Opportunity: One of those things we all encounter, but far too often don’t recognize until it’s too late. Following are some common proverbs in Spanish that speak on opportunity and how to make the most of it! 

#6

SpanishMás vale pájaro en mano que cien volando.
Literally“A bird in the hand is more worthy than a hundred flying.”
EquivalentA bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
This Spanish proverb is nearly identical to its English equivalent, and it means that it’s better to make sure you keep what you have instead of taking risks that could make you lose everything.

It’s often used in money- or work-related situations as advice to ambitious people who are thinking of gambling or taking a big risk.

#7

SpanishA caballo regalado, no le mires el diente.
Literally“Don’t check the teeth of a gift horse.”
EquivalentNever look a gift horse in the mouth.
These wise words remind us not to be picky about something we’ve received for free or as a gift, and to be grateful even if you don’t like it a lot.

A: El coche que me ha dado la abuela no corre demasiado.
B: A caballo regalado, no le mires el diente.

A: “The car grandma gave me doesn’t go very fast.”
B: “Don’t check the teeth of a gifted horse.”

#8

SpanishA falta de pan, buenas son tortas.
Literally“In the absence of bread, cakes are good.”
EquivalentHalf a loaf is better than none.
This Spanish proverb emphasizes the importance of being flexible when things don’t go our way and valuing what we do have. 

Its English equivalent is “Half a loaf is better than none,” but it has a more pessimistic point of view. The Spanish expression is not about settling for less, but rather about settling for something different than what was expected.

    → As you can see, the Spanish value those who are grateful. Learn how to say “Thank You!” on SpanishPod101.com.

3. Proverbs About Personality

What do the Spanish have to say about personality and character traits? Here’s just a small sample…

#9

SpanishPerro ladrador, poco mordedor.
Literally“A barking dog, not much of a biter.”
EquivalentHis bark is worse than his bite.
This is one of the most-used proverbs in the world—we can find it, for instance, in the Spanish, Italian, and English languages. It’s believed to have originated somewhere in Eastern Europe.

It refers to people who can be very threatening with their words but won’t ever act on them.

A Monkey

Even if the monkey wears silk, it’s still a monkey!

#10

SpanishAunque la mona se vista de seda, mona se queda.
Literally“Even if the monkey wears silk, it remains a monkey.”
EquivalentYou can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Funny Spanish proverbs are some of the Spaniard’s actual favorites. This one refers to ugly people who, even if they wear nice and expensive clothes and a lot of makeup, are still ugly.

In a more figurative sense, it talks about people who like to pretend they’re something they’re not.

#11

SpanishEn casa del herrero, cuchillo de palo.
Literally“In the house of the blacksmith, wooden knives.”
EquivalentThe shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot.
This Spanish proverb refers to people who don’t follow the advice they give or don’t lead by example. It can also refer to the paradox of lacking something where it should be abundant.

¿Un médico que fuma? En casa de herrero, cuchillo de palo.
“A doctor who smokes? The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot.”

4. Proverbs About Social Situations

What would we be without the people around us? Here are a few humorous Spanish-language proverbs regarding people and social situations. 

#12

SpanishÉramos pocos y parió la abuela.
Literally“We were a few and then the grandmother gave birth.”
EquivalentThat was all we needed.
This funny Spanish proverb is often used as a colloquial way to say that a situation got worse. It can also refer to a social situation in which there were too many people in one place, and many more arrived unexpectedly.

This is a sample of typical Spanish sarcasm, where an expression means the opposite of what it says.

#13

SpanishHablando del rey de Roma, que por la puerta asoma.
Literally“Speaking of the King of Rome, that comes through the door.”
EquivalentSpeak of the Devil and he shall appear.
This Spanish saying is very similar to its English counterpart. It’s used on those occasions when someone who is being talked about appears unexpectedly, especially when that person was being criticized. 

Originally, the expression didn’t say “rey, but “ruin” (meaning “mean” or “despicable”), so the connotation of the proverb was clearly negative.

A Woman Holding a Globe in Her Hands

It’s a small world.

#14

SpanishEl mundo es un pañuelo.
Literally“The world is a handkerchief.”
EquivalentIt’s a small world.
This proverb is commonly used as an expression of surprise when running into someone you know in a place you didn’t expect them to be.

Its reference to the handkerchief, however, has puzzled many linguists over the years. The most plausible theory for the origin of this Spanish saying is that the term “handkerchief” seems to refer to the first world maps, which were printed on fabric and could fit in one’s hand.

#15

SpanishCada loco con su tema.
Literally“Each crazy person with their topic.”
EquivalentTo each their own.
This expression can apply to two different situations. 

The first one is when, in a social gathering, no one is paying attention to the others and everyone is doing their own thing.

Its second meaning refers to the different obsessions that every person has. For example: 

A mi madre le gusta ver el fútbol y a mi padre la telenovela, cada loco con su tema.
“My mum likes watching soccer and my dad the soap opera, to each their own.”

5. Proverbs About Life Situations

The following Spanish proverbs about life situations lend us wisdom regarding the many circumstances we often find ourselves in. 

#16

SpanishTodos los caminos llevan a Roma.
EquivalentAll roads lead to Rome.
We can find this proverb in many languages, as it has been inherited directly from the Latin language. It might sound like an exaggeration, but during the time of the Roman Empire, it made a lot of sense. The Romans built a network of roads that could take a person from any point in the Empire to Rome, the capital.

The contemporary version refers to the different ways in which an objective can be reached.

#17

SpanishNo todo el monte es orégano.
Literally“Not all the hill is oregano.”
EquivalentLife is not a bed of roses.
This expression alludes to the difficulties that are presented to us throughout the course of our lives.

For example, one could say this when they really enjoy the college degree they’re studying, but have to take a very difficult exam: 

Normalmente me parecen fáciles las clases de Medicina, pero no todo el monte es orégano.
“I usually find that Medicine lessons are easy, but life is not a bed of roses.”

#18

SpanishUna golondrina no hace verano.
EquivalentOne swallow does not make a summer.
This expression is found in both English and Spanish, and it warns us that an isolated event is not always an indicator of what is to come. 

There are longer versions of this proverb, as well: 

Una golondrina no hace verano, ni una sola virtud bienaventurado.
“One swallow does not make a summer, nor a single virtue a blessed person.”

Ni un dedo hace una mano, ni una golondrina verano.
“One finger does not make a hand, nor does a swallow make summer.”

Three Walnuts, with One of Them Broken Open

Much noise and few walnuts…

#19

SpanishMucho ruido y pocas nueces.
Literally“Much noise and few walnuts.”
EquivalentMuch ado about nothing.
This phrase is the translation of the title of the famous Shakespearean comedy Much Ado About Nothing, written in 1600.

It’s a popular proverb about people who make a fuss about something that really isn’t important. 

6. Proverbs About Actions and Consequences

You may have heard the popular quips, “Actions have consequences,” and “What goes up must come down.” But what do the Spanish have to say on the topic? 

#20

SpanishDar en el clavo.
Equivalent“Hit the nail on the head.”
This Spanish idiom is used when something is spot-on, like when a decision has been proven to be the right one.

El regalo le ha encantado a Manuel, hemos dado en el clavo.
“Manuel loved the present; we hit the nail on the head.”

The Spanish City of Seville

Don’t go to Seville, unless you want to lose your chair!

#21

SpanishQuien va a Sevilla, pierde su silla.
Literally“He who goes to Seville, loses its chair.”
This proverb is used in countless situations, and it refers to losing privileges because of abandoning them temporarily. It’s a favorite proverb among children; they use it to claim an actual chair when the person that was using it gets up for a moment.

This expression refers to an historical event that occurred in 1460. The archbishop of Seville Alonso de Fonseca left to solve a dispute in Galicia and left his nephew in charge, who refused to give up the chair once his uncle came back.

#22

SpanishEl que ríe último, ríe mejor.
EquivalentHe who laughs last laughs best.
This common proverb warns us not to declare victory before the war is over, as life can be full of surprises.

Hoy has ganado la partida, pero quien ríe último ríe mejor.
“Today you’ve won the match, but he who laughs last laughs best.”

#23

SpanishTira la piedra y esconde la mano.
Literally“He throws the stone and hides the hand.”
This Spanish proverb is used to talk about someone who does something and doesn’t take responsibility for his or her actions.

It has a very pejorative connotation, as it’s often used to describe someone as cowardly or malicious.

#24

SpanishCría fama y échate a dormir.
Literally“Raise fame and lie down to sleep.”
EquivalentYour reputation follows you.
This saying means that, once you’ve created a reputation for yourself, it will precede you and be difficult to change. It can be used in both positive and negative situations; for example, everyone may think you’re a good person (positive) or the word on the street could be that you’re tight with money (negative).

Spanish proverbs and their meanings are very indicative of the country’s culture. You can see this in the use of “lie down to sleep.” Oftentimes, people who got somewhere without much effort are depicted as lazy (and lazy in Spain is characterized as someone who loves siesta or naps).

#25

SpanishEl que parte y reparte, se queda la mejor parte.
EquivalentHe who distributes ends up with the best part.
This Spanish proverb refers to the fact that someone who has access to something ends up keeping the best for themselves. It’s often used when talking about money-related corruption.

Someone Hitting Snooze on Their Alarm Clock

The early bird catches the worm.

7. Life Mottos

Many people have mottos, expressions, or mantras they use for daily guidance or wisdom. So let’s conclude our Spanish proverbs list with some popular life mottos! 

#26

SpanishA quien madruga, Dios le ayuda.
Literally“He who wakes up early is helped by God.”
EquivalentThe early bird catches the worm.
This Catholic expression is used to encourage people to wake up early so they can make the most of their day. It’s mainly used in non-religious situations and often by non-religious people.

#27

SpanishEl que no llora, no mama.
Literally“He who doesn’t cry, doesn’t nurse.”
EquivalentThe squeaky wheel gets the grease.
This saying means that when you want something, you have to ask for it. Frequently, it’s used when someone complains too late about not having received something they wanted:

A: ¿No me habéis dejado pizza? ¡Yo también quería!
B: ¡El que no llora, no mama!

A: “You didn’t leave any pizza for me? I wanted a slice!”
B: “He who doesn’t cry, doesn’t nurse!”

#28

SpanishQuerer es poder.
Literally“To want is to be able to.”
EquivalentWhere there is a will, there is a way.
This motto states that if you put in the effort to get something, you’ll get it. It highlights the importance of willpower, determination, and perseverance.

#29

SpanishMás vale prevenir que curar.
Literally“Better anticipate than treat.”
EquivalentBetter safe than sorry.
This wise Spanish proverb is a moral lesson on precaution. It means that it’s better to anticipate a bad situation before it’s too late to solve the problem.

A funny variation is: Más vale sudar que estornudar. (“Better to sweat than to sneeze.”) It’s used by parents who cover their children with warm clothes to prevent them from catching a cold.

#30

SpanishNunca digas de esta agua no beberé.
Literally“Never say ‘I won’t ever drink from that water.’”
EquivalentNever say never.
As much as we hate something, we cannot ever be sure that we won’t do it at some point.

This common Spanish proverb has a humorous longer version that says: 

Nunca digas de esta agua no beberé ni este cura es mi padre.
“Never say ‘I won’t ever drink from that water,’ nor ‘this priest is not my father.’”


8. Final Thoughts

Learning Spanish proverbs will not only prove useful in many life situations, but it will also help you get to know the unique Spanish culture and worldview. Did we miss any topics? Let us know, and be sure to share this guide if you enjoyed it! 

If you’re thinking about starting Spanish lessons, why not begin by checking out SpanishPod101.com? We offer different plans to cater to a variety of learning styles, lessons suited for different levels, and a blog with tons of free resources about the Spanish language and culture.

And, if you still need a little push, watch this video on our YouTube channel to discover some great reasons you should learn Spanish. Good luck with your lessons on SpanishPod101.com, and remember that querer es poder!

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Barcelona Travel Guide: Explore This Unique Spanish City

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While Europe is home to a rich collection of heavily touristed cities, Barcelona is one of its most popular thanks to its beauty, unique sights, vibrant nightlife and cultural life, budget-friendly options, nice weather…and don’t forget the beach! Millions of people from all over the world visit—and subsequently fall in love with—this lively Spanish city each year.

If you’re planning to visit Barcelona, it’s important that you prepare for your trip. Although many sights are within walking distance of each other, there are so many places to visit in Barcelona that you need to plan ahead in order to make the most of your time there. Preparing well in advance also gives you time to adjust your plan to meet your budget and take the needed precautions regarding safety, weather, and language barriers.

But look no further, as you’ve come to the right place! This Barcelona Travel Guide from SpanishPod101 will give you the best tips to help you see the best attractions and really enjoy yourself!

Pink Flowers, with La Sagrada Familia in the Background

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Before You Go
  2. Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip
  3. Highly Recommended Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)
  4. Survival Spanish Phrases for Travelers
  5. Final Thoughts

1. Before You Go

Barcelona is Spain’s second-largest city and is the capital of Catalonia, a semi-autonomous region in the northeastern part of the country. The city offers a mix of beautiful sights, quirky neighborhoods, attractive culture and gastronomy, and a vibrant nightlife that attracts all kinds of tourism.

The best time to visit Barcelona is in early spring or fall when temperatures are mild and the city is not so crowded. Although winters are not extremely cold, the days are shorter so you can’t count on spending much time outdoors. Summers are quite hot and humid, with average daytime temperatures hanging around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). The city is also very crowded during that time of year, which makes the visit less pleasant and more expensive. The clothes you should pack depends entirely on the time of year you visit, but it’s a good idea to take an umbrella with you during the spring and fall, as showers are quite common.

Public transportation is a good and affordable option for getting around Barcelona, although many sights are within easy walking distance of each other. Walking allows you to get lost in the quirky streets of some of the most beautiful quarters, which are some of the true beauties Barcelona has to offer. However, if you need to take public transportation, both the metro and bus systems work perfectly—the bus even has good night service. Make sure to buy the integrated ticket, which allows you to take any public transportation in the city.

A Narrow Street in the Old City of Barcelona

A narrow street in the Old City of Barcelona

Despite the city’s grandeur, it is possible to visit Barcelona on a budget. There are thousands of choices when it comes to lodging, and you can find hotels, hostels, and Airbnb starting at around 20€ per night. Meals can be tricky, though; it’s important to avoid the most touristic spots as they charge much more. Look for less crowded streets and ask for the menú del día or “daily menu,” a fixed-price menu usually cheaper than the à la carte menu. 

Because Barcelona is a very touristic city, you should expect crowds—really big crowds. For most attractions in Barcelona, you should make sure to arrive with plenty of time to spare, as you’ll likely be waiting in a long line. Also be aware that there’s an increasing discomfort among Barcelona locals regarding some kinds of tourists that visit the city, as well as the gentrification process it’s going through. Try to be respectful when interacting with locals, try not to make noise at night (especially on weeknights), and understand that some places (such as public transportation) are transit points for people going to work or school.

The Catalan language is co-official with Spanish, and it’s used in all public signaling. Most locals are bilingual and almost all of them speak Spanish, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice what you’ve learned in your SpanishPod101 lessons. But don’t worry if you have limited knowledge of the Spanish language. It’s very easy to get around speaking English, especially in the more touristic spots.

And, lastly, some final practical tips: 

Spain is part of the Schengen Agreement, so you don’t need a visa to visit but you do need a valid passport

The currency of the country is the euro. You can exchange currency in many spots, especially in the most touristic areas, and there are also plenty of ATMs available. 

As for safety tips, beware of pickpockets! They tend to be in the most crowded places, so take good care of your passport and cell phone, and try to divide your cash between different pockets or people in your party. That said, don’t worry too much about robberies or violent crimes, as they are not frequent. Overall, Barcelona is a safe and peaceful city.


2. Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip

When visiting a big city like Barcelona, it’s crucial to adapt the list of places you’ll visit—and how you get to them—according to the total time you’ll have. So, if you want to really visit Barcelona in three days or less, here is some advice: 

  • Stick to the must-see places.
  • Take public transportation. 
  • Limit the time you spend wandering around the city’s streets. (Believe us, it’s very easy to get trapped in the beauty of some quarters and lose track of time!)

Here are the best places to visit in Barcelona for a shorter trip: 

Sagrada Familia

First up, the Sagrada Familia. The famous church is probably the most internationally well-known symbol of the city. The name translates to “the Sacred Family,” and it’s a Catholic cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudí, one of the best architects in history. Gaudí began designing the Sagrada Familia back in 1882 and, because of its exceptional and complex design, it’s still under construction almost a century after the architect’s death. Its beauty and uniqueness make it one of the must-see places in Barcelona, no matter the length of your trip. Don’t forget to book your ticket in advance!

Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas, featured in just about every Barcelona travel guide, is one of the spots you can hardly miss when visiting this Spanish city. Right at the heart of the Old City, this vibrant and crowded boulevard divides the Raval quarter (a quirky and artistic neighborhood with a lively mix of immigrant communities and splendid nightlife), and the Gothic quarter (a stunning medieval-esque area which is home of the Catalan and municipal governments as well as the Barcelona Cathedral). It provides easy access for people with mobility problems and it’s a cool shopping spot.

Plaza Real

In the Gothic quarter, we find another one of the best places to visit in Barcelona: the Plaza Real. This “Royal Square” is full of palm trees and is a real delight to the eyes. It’s a great and romantic place to have a little rest in the afternoon, having a drink in one of the many terraces. However, when the evening comes, Plaza Real becomes one of the hottest nightlife spots. If you’re wondering what to visit in Barcelona at night, this is one of the best places for a fun time, whether you just want to drink a cocktail in one of the bars or dance in some of the coolest clubs in the city.

La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona.

La Barceloneta beach in Barcelona.

La Barceloneta

If you chose to visit Barcelona because of the beach, you cannot miss La Barceloneta. It’s the most famous and centric beach in the city (and also very crowded in the summertime). But La Barceloneta is much more than a beach: it’s also the old fishermen quarter. This beautiful neighborhood is currently in a precarious balance between the authenticity of the locals and mass tourism. However, the locals still resist and continue some of the traditions that give this area such an attractive charisma, such as hanging up the washing in the balconies and growing plants on the streets.

Bunkers del Carmel

Finally, if you have very little time to visit Barcelona, you cannot miss the best view of the city from the Bunkers del Carmel. This viewpoint is an old anti-aircraft battery from the Spanish Civil War times. You need to take public transportation to get there, and it should be taken into account that it’s not wheelchair-friendly. However, if you have the chance, it’s worth the visit! You will get to experience a 360-degree panoramic view of the whole city, with the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Collserola Mountains on the other. Try to avoid visiting the Bunkers over the weekend, as it gets crowded. And if you feel like getting up early, the view of the sunrise is spectacular. Oh, and did we mention that admission is free?

3. Highly Recommended Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)

If you have the opportunity to plan a longer trip, here are a few extra places to visit in Barcelona that you should add to your list. Take into account that you can elongate your visits to each spot by just forgetting the map and walking around the narrow city streets to get lost in their beauty and uniqueness.

Barrio de Gracia

Barrio de Gracia is one of those places where you could walk for hours, finding special corners and amazing little shops. This quarter used to be an old independent town that, when Barcelona grew in the nineteenth century as a result of the great boom of the Catalan industry, was annexed to the city as it is today. Gracia is home to artists, young people, and bohemian people from all over the world, and it’s also one of the most politically and socially active communities. Every August, the Barrio de Gracia celebrates its own festivities, and neighbors decorate the streets, organize concerts, and throw parties in a big show of creativity.


Park Güell

Another gem that Barcelona offers visitors is Park Güell. This was also designed by Gaudí, the Catalan architect responsible for the Sagrada Familia. This park is like none other in the world. As you come in, you’re welcomed by a colorful dragon fountain in the middle of a sinuous staircase. There’s also a forest-like porch full of columns and a viewpoint with the characteristic mosaic benches that offer you a nice view of the city. It’s worth spending some time to enjoy the beauty of the place. Unfortunately, admission isn’t free for tourists anymore as it used to get too overcrowded, so you should book tickets in advance.

Santa María del Mar

Santa María del Mar is a Gothic-style church in the heart of the Born quarter. As it’s hidden inside those narrow streets, you cannot see it until you’re right in front of it. For the same reason, it’s almost impossible to take a full picture of the facade and the mighty two tall bell towers. Lovers of old European architecture will enjoy the typical bare walls of the Catalan Gothic on the inside, and all visitors will appreciate the majesty of its columns, its high ceiling, and its solemnity. The Born quarter is also attractive to history lovers, and it has plenty of special bars and little restaurants for curious tourists who are willing to dive into the endless narrow streets.

The Santa Maria del Mar Church in the Born quarter of Barcelona

The Santa Maria del Mar Church in the Born quarter of Barcelona

Camp Nou Stadium

An obligatory stop in Barcelona for sports and football fans is the Camp Nou Stadium. This is the famous home of the Barcelona football team and one of the biggest attractions in the city. Spanish football culture is huge, with people from all over the world going crazy for the Barcelona team—right alongside the locals. Apart from the match days, you can go on guided visits inside the Camp Nou Stadium and in the Barcelona team museum, which is actually the most-visited museum in the whole region of Catalonia. 

Montjuïc Hill

And lastly, your Barcelona travel plan should also include the landmark hill of Montjuïc. Apart from the nice views that this seaside hill offers, there’s a park with nearly endless activities and places to visit. There’s the National Art Museum, the Montjuïc Castle, a miniature village, the Olympic Stadium, and pool facilities… Originally, Montjuïc was one of the first inhabited places in what is now Barcelona. Here, you will find an ancient Jewish cemetery as well as the modern Barcelona cemetery. As you can see, you won’t run out of possibilities when visiting Montjuïc.

4. Survival Spanish Phrases for Travelers 

As we mentioned before, it’s quite easy to get around Barcelona speaking English. However, speaking a little Spanish will definitely be of use, especially if you don’t want to visit only the highly touristic parts of the city. Here are ten Spanish survival phrases for travelers:

  1. Hola. (“Hello.”)

    This universally known Spanish greeting is the go-to when entering a place or meeting someone. Also, it’s the exact same word the Catalan language uses! If you want to learn more Spanish greeting expressions, check out our lesson on How to Say Hello in Spanish.
  1. Gracias. (“Thank you.”)

    There’s a Spanish proverb that says: Es de bien nacido ser agradecido. It means something along the lines of: “Being grateful is being kind.” Say gracias to staff members in hotels, restaurants, museums, public transportation… Everybody loves a grateful tourist!
  1. Adiós. (“Goodbye.”)

    This expression is commonly used for saying goodbye to someone, whether it means “see you later” or is a more definite goodbye. It’s polite to say it when leaving restaurants or shops.
  1. Perdona. (“Sorry.” / “Excuse me.” / “Pardon.”)

    You can say perdona when you bump into someone or when you need to ask for someone’s attention, like a waiter in a restaurant or someone in the street when you need to ask directions. Check out SpanishPod101’s blog post on asking directions to learn more about this. When you say perdona as a question, it also means that you haven’t understood what someone has said.
  1. Muy bien. / Muy bueno. (“Very good.”)

    Both muy bien and muy bueno mean “very good,” but the one you should use depends on the situation. For instance, you would say muy bien when asked how you slept and muy bueno when asked how the wine was.
  1. Lo siento, no te entiendo. (“I’m sorry, I don’t understand you.”)

    This is a common sentence that all travelers need to know in order to survive a Spanish conversation that’s above their level of knowledge. It’s polite and might help you gain the local person’s sympathy.
  1. ¿Dónde está el baño? (“Where’s the bathroom?”)

    Another basic phrase when visiting Spain. You can add a perdona in front of the phrase if you want to be even more polite.
  1. ¿Cuánto cuesta? (“How much is it?”)

    Whenever you want to know the price of an item in a shop or of a meal in a restaurant, you can use this expression. Alternatively, you could say: ¿Cuánto vale?
  1. Quiero esto. (“I want this.”)

    This is another expression that can be used while shopping or ordering food. If you want to use the more polite version, similar to “I would like this,” you can say: Querría esto.
  1. ¡Ayuda! (“Help!”)

    Whenever you find yourself in an emergency situation, whether you need help with your suitcase because it’s too heavy or you’re in actual danger, you can scream ¡Ayuda! If the situation is extreme and you’re in need of urgent assistance from the police, you can also use the word ¡Socorro!

The National Art Museum in Montjuïc Hill, Barcelona

The National Art Museum in Montjuïc Hill, Barcelona

Final Thoughts 

Barcelona is an ideal vacation destination as it can fulfill a large variety of personal interests and can be adapted for all budgets. We hope that reading this Barcelona travel guide got you excited to plan a trip to this beautiful and special Spanish city. 

What did you think of our recommendations for the best places to visit in Barcelona? Did we miss any important spots?

Now is a great time for you to practice your Spanish! Apart from the ten expressions we taught you in this guide, you can learn even more Common Spanish Phrases you might need for your trip.

Learning Spanish with SpanishPod101 before you head off on your next adventure will allow you to make deeper connections with locals and have a more meaningful travel experience. We hope to see you around!

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