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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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English Words Used in Spanish: Do You Speak Spanglish?

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All over the world, the use of words borrowed from the English language is rapidly growing. The internet, social media, and the internationalization of American cultural products are among the biggest “English word exporters.”

However, several factors have created a special bond between the Spanish and English languages. For starters, the proximity between the U.S. and Latin America (which is home to the largest number of Spanish speakers in the world) has allowed a great cultural exchange—and with it, an important language exchange. As such, there are several English words used in Spanish and Spanish words used in English. 

There is a huge Latin American community living in the United States, and this community has brought elements of the Latin American culture and language into the country. Spanish spoken in the U.S. has changed with time, giving birth to Spanglish: the excessive mixing of English and Spanish by Spanish speakers. 

Nonetheless, the mixing of Spanish and English words is not exclusive to Latinos living in the U.S. The use of English words in the Spanish language is present in every Spanish-speaking country, and the language exchange has actually happened both ways! There are numerous words used in the English language that come from Spanish.

In this article, you’ll learn everything about Spanglish, imported English words used in Spanish, and Spanish words used in English. We’ll show you the most popular words and how they are used, so you’ll never be caught off-guard. 
Are you ready to take your Spanish speaking to a whole new level with SpanishPod101? Then let’s begin.

WordPower logo with Mexican Flag
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. What is Spanglish?
  2. Some Common Spanglish Words
  3. English Loanwords vs. Spanglish
  4. How are Anglicisms Used in Spanish?
  5. Borrowed Spanish Words Used in English
  6. La Despedida

1. What is Spanglish?

Spanglish isn’t something new—it’s a complex linguistic phenomenon that has been building for years now. Some linguists affirm that it dates back to the times when a great part of the North American territory was actually a part of Mexico. Others date it to more recent years, with the immigration of numerous people of Latin American origin into the U.S.

Spanglish is basically a mix between Spanish and English in speech. While it is not an official language and there are no rules about its usage, a lot of people use it in their daily lives. But how did it originate and where does it come from?

The Latin population in the U.S. and the hybridization between Spanish and English

Currently, there are about 30 million people of Hispanic origin living in the United States. Around 60% of this population is bilingual, using both English and Spanish in their daily lives. These bilingual speakers sometimes have a very particular way of mixing English and Spanish when speaking, using what we now call Spanglish.

Some of these newcomers to the U.S. did not speak English when they arrived, so in their effort to communicate, they would mix Spanish with the English words they did know. This way of speaking has passed through generations, and for some, it has become a part of their identity.

With time, the new generations born in the U.S. (whose first language was English) started taking words or expressions from English and using them in Spanish with their own literal translations. Some of these words became so common that they are now widely used and have become a part of the Spanish jargon.

Here’s an example:

EnglishSpanglishCorrect Spanish Translation
“to call back”llamar para atrásllamar de vuelta

Another thing that happens in Spanglish is the “Spanization” of English words. For example:

EnglishSpanglishCorrect Spanish Translation
“to park”parquearseestacionarse

Who speaks Spanglish?

Tacos in Los Angeles

Tacos in Los Angeles

As we mentioned before, Spanglish was born in the U.S., and it’s widely spoken in Spanish-speaking communities in North America. This is especially common in states like California, Texas, and New York, which have very large Hispanic populations.

However, the phenomenon of Spanglish has expanded. In northern Mexico, a lot of people use Spanglish regularly. This is also the case in Central America, particularly in areas of Panama that were heavily influenced by America during the construction of the Panama Canal. Some linguists have also found Spanglish jargon used in Hispanic communities living in Australia and New Zealand.

2. Some Common Spanglish Words

Here are a few more Spanglish examples you’re likely to hear:

English SpanglishActual Spanish Translation
Actually ActualmenteEn realidad
To checkChequearVerificar
To freezeFrizarCongelar
To watchWacharMirar
To rentRentarAlquilar
To parkParquearEstacionarse

Confusing, right? 

Well, it’s just a matter of getting used to managing Spanish and English at the same time. Once you get the hang of it, the words start to flow. 

Some of these words are actually so widely used that they have remained in use all over Latin America. A good example is rentar, which a lot of people don’t even know comes from the English word “rent.”

3. English Loanwords vs. Spanglish

Loanwords are another story. They are foreign words that become part of another language’s common vocabulary without a translation. This is something that happens in every language.

Many English loanwords used in Spanish are related to technology. Here are some examples:

  • Influencer
  • Email
  • Click
  • Google
  • Hack

Most of these words are adapted for or assimilated into the Spanish language. For example, verbs tend to be conjugated according to Spanish conjugation rules. Other loanwords remain unassimilated and are used exactly as they’re used in English.

We’ll explain this in more detail later in the article. For now, have a look at some of the most common English words used in Spanish.

In Sports

A Man Riding a Wave on a Surfboard

To surf (Surfear)

SpinningTengo clase de Spinning en el gimnasio.
“I have a spinning class at the gym.”
SurfEste fin de semana iré a surfear.
 “This weekend I will go surfing.”
PenaltyEl partido se definió por penaltis.
 “The match was defined by penalties.”
Football El futbol es mi deporte favorito.
“Football is my favorite sport.”
GoalEl equipo anotó 3 goles.
“The team scored three goals.”

At the Restaurant

SandwichTengo antojo de un sandwich.
“I am craving a sandwich.”
CocktailLa margarita es mi cóctel favorito.
“Margarita is my favorite cocktail.”
KetchupQuiero una hamburguesa sin catsup, por favor.
“I want a burger without ketchup, please.”
PieVoy a hornear un pay.
“I will bake a pie.”
ToppingQuiero un helado con topping de chocolate.
“I want an ice cream with chocolate topping.”

At Work

MarketingTrabajo en marketing.
“I work in marketing.”
InternSoy intern en una ONG.
“I am an intern at an NGO.”
EmailTe enviaré un email.
“I will send you an email.”
Home officeUna vez al mes hago home office.
“I work from home once a month.”
ITEl equipo de IT arreglará tu computadora.
“The IT team will fix your computer.”

Traveling

Women in Check in Counter

To check in (Hacer check in)

Check inTenemos que hacer check-in en el hotel.
“We have to check in at the hotel.”
Check outEl check-out es a las 12.
“Checkout is at 12.”
LoftRenté un loft en la playa.
“I rented a loft at the beach.”
VoucherLa aerolinea me dio un voucher.
“The airline gave me a voucher.”
All-inclusiveMe quedaré en un all inclusive estas vacaciones.
“This holiday, I will stay at an all-inclusive.”

4. How are Anglicisms Used in Spanish?

As we mentioned earlier, English words used in Spanish are often merged into the language and are “hispanicized.” This means they are adapted phonologically, graphically, and orthographically to the Spanish language. For example:

Verbs are given a Spanish conjugation.

Voy a googlear eso. “I will Google that.”
Hackearon mi computadora. “My computer was hacked.”

Words are also hispanicized in their pronunciation.

Voy a jugar voleibol. “I will play volleyball.”
Hace frío afuera, voy a usar un suéter.“It is cold outside, I will wear a sweater.”

However, language experts suggest that the correct way to use English words in Spanish is to maintain their original spelling and pronunciation:

Soy un ingeniero de software. → I am a software engineer.

If you want to learn more about how to pronounce words in Spanish like a native, check out this lesson series!

Is it correct to use Anglicisms in Spanish?

The evolution of languages is a common thing, especially in our globalized society. The inclusion of foreign words in a language is part of this evolution and is something that just can’t be avoided.

However, RAE (Real Academia Española de la Lengua), the biggest authority on the Spanish language, suggests avoiding the use of unnecessary anglicisms, especially when there are Spanish words available.

The use of English words in Spanish changes greatly from country to country. Inhabitants of countries with stronger cultural ties to the U.S., such as Panama, commonly use English words in their vocabulary. Countries like Spain, on the other hand, are more protective toward the purity of the language and tend to have fewer English words incorporated into their vocabulary.

5. Borrowed Spanish Words Used in English

English and Spanish speakers have been exchanging their cultures and languages for centuries, and the relationship goes both ways. As such, there are many borrowed Spanish words used in English. 

As you may know, a big part of the United States’ territory used to be part of Mexico about one and a half centuries ago. The Mexican influence in the southern U.S. is especially evident in the number of Mexican Spanish words used in English. 

Now, with the growing number of Americans of Hispanic origin, there are more and more Spanish words being used in English. It’s interesting to note that while many of the English words commonly used in Spanish are verbs, most Spanish words used in English are nouns.

    → Would you like to learn more about Mexican Spanish? Find all the basics in this quick lesson.

Food

Mexican food is extremely popular in America, so many of the Mexican words in English are food-related.

A Plate of Hardshell Tacos with Peppers

Jalapeños (Hot peppers)“I want nachos with jalapeños.
Quiero nachos con jalapeños.
Cocoa (From ‘cacao,’ the fruit used to make chocolate)“I’d like to drink hot cocoa.
Me gustaría tomar chocolate caliente.
Avocado (Anglicization of Spanish aguacate)“Avocado is my favorite fruit.
El aguacate es mi fruta favorita.
Quesadilla (Mexican meal)“I ate some quesadillas at the Mexican restaurant.
Comí quesadillas en el restaurante mexicano.
Tamale (Mexican meal)“My grandma makes delicious tamales.
Mi abuela hace tamales deliciosos.
    → Craving some Mexican food? Learn how to order it in Mexican Spanish like a pro in this lesson!

Animals and Nature

Canyon (A deep valley)“I want to visit the Grand Canyon.
Quiero visitar el gran cañón.
Arroyo (A creek or wash)“Let’s refresh our hands in the arroyo.
Refresquémos nuestras manos en el arroyo.
Tornado (Funnel-shaped windstorm)“We have to find shelter before the tornado.
Tenemos que buscar refugio antes del tornado.
Sierra (Chain of mountains)“The Sierra Nevada crosses the state of California.
La sierra nevada cruza el estado de california.
Mosquito (Insect)“Mosquitos come out at sunset.
Los mosquitos salen al atardecer.
    → Would you like to learn more about insect names in Spanish? Then don’t miss our Bugs and Insects vocabulary list!

People and Places

Fiesta (Party)“The village had a fiesta for its patron saint.
El pueblo tuvo una fiesta para su santo patrono.
Patio (Terrace, porch)“I will go get some sun on the patio.
Voy a tomar sol en el patio.
Ranch (Large farm)“They have hundreds of cows on the ranch.
Tienen cientos de vacas en el rancho.
Aficionado (Fan)“I am a jazz aficionado.
Soy un aficionado del jazz.
Conquistador (Conqueror)“The Spanish conquistadores arrived in Cuba in 1492.
Los conquistadores españoles llegaron a Cuba en 1492.

Well, these are just some of the most common Spanish words used in English—there are many more! In Spanish, the pronunciation of many of these words is anglicized to adapt to their English-language counterparts. 

La Despedida

In this guide, you’ve learned about the strong bond between the Spanish and English languages. After reading through so many language exchange examples, can you think of any words we missed? 

This is just an overview, and with time, you’ll become more fluent in Spanish and start having conversations with Spanish speakers. The more you converse, the more you’ll realize that the Spanglish phenomenon is more diverse than you could imagine and that it manifests itself differently from one Spanish-speaking country to another. 

If you want to learn more Spanish vocabulary and become a master of the language, don’t forget to check out SpanishPod101’s resource library. You can find vocabulary lists, a lesson library, and flashcards to make your learning process fun and easy. 

And don’t forget that SpanishPod101 also offers personalized one-on-one lessons with a professional teacher. Just sign up for a Premium PLUS account, and your teacher can guide you through each step of your learning journey and expedite your progress.

Happy learning y hasta luego!

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The Spanish Culture: A Guide to the Peculiarities of Spain

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Are you planning on visiting Spain? This European country has many peculiarities you might not have heard about before, but no fear! Here you’ll find all you need to know to immerse yourself in the Spanish culture.

The culture of Spain is very unique, colored by its people’s outlook on life. Studying the Spanish language and culture opens a window to the country’s rich history, tradition, and lifestyle, beyond the clichés of paella, flamenco, and siesta.

In this guide, you’ll find the key Spanish culture facts you need to get a closer look at life in this sunny and lively Mediterranean country.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Values and Beliefs
  2. Family and Work
  3. Religions
  4. Traditional Holidays
  5. Food
  6. Art
  7. Final Thoughts

1. Values and Beliefs

Pink Flowers in Barcelona, Spain with the Sagrada Família in the Distance

The richness of Spanish culture is largely due to the complex history of Spain and its territorial distribution. The Iberian Peninsula has always been a transit point, a gateway between Africa and Europe. Therefore, many civilizations—such as the Phoenicians, the Romans, and the Arabs—have passed through or settled in what is now modern Spain, leaving their mark on the Spanish culture.

Spain is also considered a ‘nation of nations,’ which means that some regions have their own culture. Some of these regions even have their own languages—Catalan, Galician, Basque, and Occitan—that have co-official status with the Spanish language. 

The coexistence of different cultures within the same state makes national identity a sensitive issue, and people have even been known to dispute the presence of the Spanish Flag. The country’s imperial past is one reason for this division within the Spanish population. Many argue that the celebration of the Spanish National Day, which marks the date the Spanish conquerors arrived in America, is a disregard of all the suffering caused to its native peoples.

All this plurality has also had an impact on Spanish political culture, which has always been considered complex and often polarized. The country has been historically divided into two political entities: 

  • A more hierarchical-type society of conservative values and centralist tendencies
  • Its rebellious counterpart which is known for some of the regions’ pro-independence movements 

Spanish democracy is only 43 years old. Still, the footprint of the Spanish Civil War and the 36-year Franco dictatorship still impact and polarize the Spanish population.

Overall, Spanish culture shares many similarities with those of other Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Greece, and even Morocco and other North African countries. Spanish culture values collective life, or the concept of working as a community and sharing life with others. One of the first things that strikes first-time visitors to Spain is how vibrant its streets are and how the Spanish population seems to enjoy spending time in the streets. This love of time outdoors may be partly due to Spain’s famous nice weather (which is actually not so typical in the rainy Northern regions!).

Triangular Flags Hung for a Festival in Spain

2. Family and Work

Spanish family values are central to Spanish culture. The mentioned collective-oriented aspect of its Mediterranean character is represented in the archetypical Spanish family, in which family members share close bonds and tend to gather frequently. In Spanish culture, family is considered one of the fundamental pillars of every person’s life.

As for the structure of the Spanish family, grandparents tend to be the junction point, acting as “patriarchs” or “matriarchs.” Family gatherings usually happen around shared meals, and that’s one of the reasons why Spain’s food culture is so important. Although it’s not so common anymore, different generations in a family used to live together under the same roof. Even today, children’s upbringing is often shared with the grandparents, especially because their parents’ jobs typically require long working hours.

The fact that Spaniards work more hours than the average European is the differential element of the Spanish workplace culture. This aspect is crucial to the Spanish lifestyle as it challenges work-life balance and shapes the way people spend their time. Areas of life affected by this work culture include:

  • school and after-school activities
  • commercial hours
  • television’s prime time
  • Spanish people’s meals and bedtime, which is later than in neighboring countries

The misleading cliché of the siesta or nap gives foreigners the impression that the Spanish people have an easy-going, or even lazy, character. But as the data shows, this is not close to reality. People also see this cliché as being a differentiating factor between Spanish regions, especially when comparing the North and the South. However, the reality is that individual work values are generally the same across regions. The difference lies in the types of economy, with the North being more industrial and the South being more agricultural. Thus, in the South, the hot weather keeps people from working in the fields at the warmest hours.

Because of Spain’s long history of high unemployment rates, Spanish people are often conservative about their professional careers and tend to avoid taking risky moves. Entrepreneurship and business culture in Spain face many challenges, especially because of the country’s demanding fiscal system. That’s why most people long for stable wage labor, and why working for the public system is regarded as a successful career.


3. Religions

Spain is a secular state and its Constitution protects its people’s freedom of belief. Catholic Christianity is the dominant religion, but non-practicing Catholics represent almost half of the population—only around 25% are practicing Catholics. Spanish culture and tradition, however, are deeply influenced by Catholicism even among non-practicing Catholics, atheists, and agnostics.

The long history of Spain as a Catholic state and the social status of the Catholic church in the country influence Spanish people’s public and private lives. This includes everything from the celebration of local holidays to all of the street names dedicated to Catholic saints. Even children’s education is influenced, as most semi-private and private schools in Spain are Catholic.

Other religions in Spain are practiced by minorities, some native and others of an immigrant origin. Evangelical gypsy communities are an example of a native religious minority, while those of immigrant origin include:

  • Muslims 
  • Northern-African communities
  • Southeast Asian communities
  • Orthodox Eastern Europe communities
  • Evangelist Latin American communities

In big cities like Madrid and Barcelona, holidays celebrated by immigrant communities are starting to gain recognition and participation from native communities. Examples of this include the Chinese New Year and the Muslim Feast of the Lamb.

A Catholic Procession for Easter in Spain

4. Traditional Holidays 

Traditional Spanish culture is shaped around its main holidays. Most of them—such as Christmas, Holy Week (Easter), and Corpus Christi—are shared with other Catholic and Christian countries. Most local holidays have religious origins as well, celebrating a region’s patron saint such as San Isidro in Madrid or La Mercè in Barcelona. Some religion-related holidays have origins in old pagan celebrations. An example of this is San Juan, a traditional celebration of summer’s arrival during which people gather and light bonfires on the beach. 

Popular and folkloric traditions also play a big role in Spanish culture. Some of these traditional holidays have gained international fame, such as the famous bull racing on San Fermín in Pamplona or the Tomatina, a tomato fight celebrated in the village of Buñol. Carnival is another big event that’s celebrated differently from one region to another, but mostly involves wearing costumes (like during Halloween, although without the spooky theme) and excess partying.

In Spanish culture, holidays are mainly celebrated outdoors and they bring the whole community together in a mix of big public money spending and civic self-organization. Spanish people are very fond of their local and national traditions, and many people are involved in comparsas. These are groups that organize the celebrations, play folkloric music, or perform traditional dances.

5. Food 

Spanish culture and food are two concepts that go hand in hand

The communal lifestyle is reflected in gatherings around a table with good food and drinks, whether it’s in a bar, a restaurant, or in somebody’s home. Spanish people often show their love for others by cooking food for them, and this is often portrayed by the archetypical Spanish grandmother who cooks for the whole family and always worries about her grandchildren being too thin.

Foreigners are often surprised when they order a drink in a bar and receive a complimentary dish on the side (called a tapa). A popular element of Spanish cuisine, tapas are commonly mistaken as being a specific type of food. But tapas actually consists of several small dishes that are set in the middle of the table for everyone to share. The main difference between Spanish tapas and similar small dishes in other countries is that Spaniards don’t normally cook this way at home. Tapas are almost exclusively consumed in bars or restaurants.

Paella, the famous Spanish rice dish, is normally cooked in a big pan. In the region of Valencia where the dish was invented, it’s traditionally shared among several people, with everyone eating straight from the pan with their own spoon. Paella is a typical meal for Sunday reunions among family and friends, and it’s traditionally offered on the Thursday menu in restaurants. Paella (and other dishes cooked similarly, such as fideuà) are often prepared for big celebrations using pans that can hold hundreds of servings. This is another area where the Spanish values of community and sharing are represented in Spain’s food culture.

Alcoholic beverages are also a big part of the community-oriented lifestyle in gatherings and celebrations. Although Spain is a big producer and exporter of wine, and although the famous Spanish drink sangría is made with wine, Spanish people mainly consume beer in social contexts. Beer companies in Spain are very important and they sponsor some of the main social events and activities, from traditional local holidays to football teams.


Someone Cooking Large Batches of Paella

6. Art

Spain has contributed greatly to the world of art. The most famous piece of Spanish literature is Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, which is considered the first modern novel. Painters of the Spanish Golden Era such as Velázquez or el Greco, as well as twentieth-century painters like Picasso or Dalí, are some of the most influential artists in Western culture. Some of the most well-known pieces of Spanish art are shown in the world’s most important museums, such as the Louvre in Paris or the MET in New York City. 

The Spanish contribution to architecture is also very relevant. For instance, the Al-Andalus architectural heritage, from the centuries of Arab rule in Spain, is unique in the world. The modernist movement has left some of the most singular buildings in different cities across Spain. The movement was led in the twentieth century by Gaudí, one of the most famous architects in history who was responsible for the Sagrada Família Basilica in Barcelona, among other buildings. 

One of the most distinctive features of Spanish culture is flamenco, a unique genre of music and dance. Flamenco originates from the gypsy communities of southern Spain and their folkloric traditions. The term actually refers to a variety of music and dance styles. 

As Iberians share a common Spanish language and culture with most Latin American countries, there’s a great deal of cultural exchange between them. An example is the frequent collaborations between Spanish and Latin American filmmakers. Music is another area where Latin American culture has had a big influence on Spanish culture. From salsa to the current boom of reggaeton, Spanish people have always consumed a great deal of Latino music.

Two Women Dancing to Sevillana Folk Music for April’s Fair

7. Final Thoughts

We hope that our Spanish culture guide has helped you get closer to this joyful and vibrant Mediterranean country. What facts have surprised you the most?

Learning the Spanish language and culture can be a thrilling experience, as foreign languages are the windows to different realities. And at SpanishPod101.com, you’ll find the best resources to learn Spanish! For example, you can check out our Spanish Vocab Builder lessons to learn new Spanish words every day.

Do you want to know how to order the yummiest Spanish food? Are you interested in experiencing some unique Spanish celebrations? Then sign up today!

We look forward to seeing you around.

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Variety in Spanish: Understanding the Differences

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If you’re reading this, it’s because you already know how important and useful it is to learn the Spanish language. There are about 405-million native speakers, and there are even more people who speak Spanish as a second language for business, education, or love.

Why? 

Well, Spanish is the official language in twenty countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela. 

Because the language is spoken in so many countries, there are quite a few Spanish dialects and varieties out there!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Can Spanish People and Latin Americans Understand Each Other?
  2. How to Spot the Differences in Pronunciation
  3. Differences in Vocabulary
  4. Differences in Grammar
  5. Which Spanish Variety Should You Learn?
  6. Conclusion

1. Can Spanish People and Latin Americans Understand Each Other?

One Women Telling a Secret to Another One in Her Ear

Although the Spanish language is exactly the same among all the countries where it’s the official language, there are some differences between Spanish dialects. Take, for example, Mexican Spanish vs. Castillian Spanish.

1- How can you spot the differences?

Think of the many countries where English is spoken: England, Australia, Ireland, the United States, and New Zealand! You may know by now that the language is the same, but that there are some differences in accent, pronunciation, intonation, speed, and vocabulary.

While differences like these aren’t usually major, there are many varieties in Spanish. This means that if an Argentinian goes to Spain or a Spanish person goes to Latin America, it can be tricky to communicate at the beginning. But after a few days, they’ll be able to adapt and understand each other. 

When it comes to writing, Mexican Spanish and the Spanish in Spain are similar to each other. But the pronunciation, vocabulary, and the meanings of words are different. Mexican Spanish tends to use what we call Spanglish (English + Spanish) because the Mexican culture has a lot of influence from the USA. A great way to see some examples of this and train your ears for this type of language is to watch some Mexican movies

Yellow Pin on Spanish-speaking Region

Let’s learn more about the different varieties of Spanish and compare the most common ones to each other. In this article, we’ll cover: 

  • Mexican Spanish vs. Castilian Spanish
  • Peruvian Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish
  • Puerto Rican Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish
  • Argentinian Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish 
  • Chilean Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish 

Before you continue, you may want to learn more interesting facts about the Spanish language.

2- What are the main differences between all the varieties of Spanish?

Don’t get confused by the amount of information you may find on the internet. The main differences between the Spanish dialects and varieties are the pronunciation and the vocabulary. This means that the difference exists mainly in spoken language because Spanish grammar, especially in writing, is identical across Spanish-speaking countries. 

A- Can all Spanish-speakers understand each other? 

This is the most common question I get asked when I meet travelers, and the answer is: Yes! No matter where a Spanish-speaker is from, where they are, or who they’re talking to, they can understand each other by simply listening carefully, speaking slowly, and putting words into context when using unfamiliar vocabulary. 

In addition, Netflix, music, and the internet have brought together the differences between pronunciations, vocabulary, and slang. Check out our list of the best movies on Netflix to learn Spanish

B- What is the correct term to differentiate between the different types of Spanish? 

The Spanish language originated in Spain, and the Spanish spoken in Spain is called Castilian: castellano. It refers to the province of Castile located in Central Spain. In English, you can just refer to this variety of Spanish as European Spanish or Peninsular Spanish, instead of Castilian Spanish. 

For those who speak Spanish in Latin America, it’s called Latin American Spanish or español latino

C- What are the different types of Spanish?

Latin American Spanish may vary among the countries where it’s spoken. The main varieties in Spanish are: Caribbean, South American Pacific, Central American, Highland (which is more standard), and Argentinian-Uruguayan-Paraguayan Spanish. 

In Spain, there are two principal varieties of Spanish, which are Andalusian and Castilian.

Woman Holding Red and Green Apple

2. How to Spot the Differences in Pronunciation


The main difference between all the varieties of Spanish is the pronunciation. One of the most notable examples of this is in Mexican Spanish vs. Castilian Spanish: Seseo vs. Ceceo.  

  • Ceceo is when Spanish-speakers from Spain pronounce -c and -z as -th-. 

For example:

Caza (“Hunt”)

In this example, the word would be pronounced as ca-th-a. On the other hand, a Latin American speaker would pronounce this word with seseo: ca-s-a.

  • Seseo is when Latin American-speakers pronounce the -c and -z as -s. So casa and caza will sound exactly the same.  

Latin American Spanish people don’t use the ceceo. Take, for instance, gracias (“thank you”).

  • European Spanish: Grathias
  • Latin American Spanish: Grasias

Now, there’s another distinction you should know about: Yeismo

1- What is Yeismo?

Yeismo is the accent and the way that Argentinian, Uruguayan, and Paraguayan people speak Spanish. They pronounce the -ll and -y as -ch. 

For example:

Argentinian Spanish pronunciation. 

  • Lluvia (“Rain”) is pronounced as chuvia.
  • Ayer (“Yesterday”) is pronounced as acher.

Another notable difference between Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish is the pronunciation of -j.

In Spain, people put more emphasis on -j than Latin Americans do. This is partially because they tend to use a swearing word with this sound more often: Joder (“F***k”).

We’ve only covered a few of the differences between the varieties of Spanish. There are many more accents, pronunciations, and vocabulary differences, but the farther along you get in your Spanish studies, the better you’ll be able to distinguish between them. 

3. Differences in Vocabulary

Each variety of Spanish has slight variations in vocabulary and word meanings.

For example, the Mexican word for “car” is carro, the Spanish word is coche, and the Argentinian word is  auto. 

Now, here’s a difference of word meaning in Chilean Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish:

Chileans say chucha when a place is far away, while Mexicans may use chingada. And Colombians will use chucha to say that something smells very bad.

Another difference between Mexican Spanish vs. Spanish in Spain is the way they say “money.”

Spanish and Mexicans call money dinero, whereas some people in Latin America call it plata:

  • No tengo dinero.
  • No tengo plata.
  • “I have no money.”

“Mobile phone” for the Spanish is móvil, whereas the Colombians call it celular.

Coger in Latin America is a vulgar word for the act of intercourse, whereas for people in Spain, it’s an innocent and common word that means “to take” or “to catch.” 

In terms of Peruvian Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish, the difference is in the way they speak. Some people consider Peruvian Spanish very slow, and Peruvians often don’t pronounce words in their entirety. 

An example of Peruvian Spanish:

  • “You are crazy!”
  • ¡Estás loco!
  • ¡’tas loco!
  • “Are you okay?”
  • ¿Estás bien?
  • ¿’ta bien?

This way of speaking in Spanish is very common in many regions of Spain (like the Autonomous Community of Andalucía) as well as in many other regions of Latin America. This is especially true for the cities around the coast. 

While you’re learning Spanish, don’t worry too much about these differences. It may be very difficult to understand this type of language, but your ears will get used to it as you advance in your learning.

4. Differences in Grammar

The main difference in grammar is the plural form of “you” in Spanish: Ustedes vs. vs. Vos. 

Another difference is that Latin American-speakers use a lot of words that come from United States English. These words are usually adapted for Spanish, pronounced and written with Spanish phonetics. This isn’t very common in peninsular Spanish, although Spanish-speakers there will understand you if you use them. Spanish is evolving all the time, and English- and Spanish-speakers are living side-by-side all over North America.

Many Words Typed on White Papers

Let’s see some differences between Mexican Spanish and European Spanish words:


EnglishAdapted from EnglishEuropean Spanish
“Apply”AplicarInscribirse or Postularse
  • “I applied to four Spanish universities.”
  • Apliqué en cuatro universidades españolas. (Latin American Spanish)
  • Me he inscrito en cuatro universidades españolas. (European Spanish)

EnglishAdapted from EnglishEuropean Spanish
“Check”Chequear or ChecarComprobar or Revisar
  • “Juan, can you check my homework, please?”
  • Juan, puedes chequear mis tareas, ¿por favor? (Latin American Spanish)
  • Juan, puedes revisar mis deberes, ¿por favor? (European Spanish)

EnglishAdapted from EnglishEuropean Spanish
“Balance”BalancearEquilibrar
  • “Meditation balances your mind.”
  • La meditación balancea tu mente. (Latin American Spanish)
  • La meditación equilibra tu mente. (European Spanish)

Like English, Spanish has evolved and adapted to every culture, country, and region, both in speech and writing.

Talking About the Past in Latin American Spanish vs. Iberian Spanish

Another difference in grammar is the use of the past tense. In Iberian Spanish, you’ll see that the past perfect is used most often: “to have” + the verb in the past participle. Latin American Spanish will use the simple past more often.

  • European/Castilian Spanish, past perfect: he comprado
  • Latin American Spanish, past simple: compré

Example:

  • “This morning, I went to do my grocery shopping.”
  • Esta mañana he ido hacer la compra. (European/Castilian Spanish)
  • Esta mañana fui a hacer la compra. (Latin American Spanish)

5. Which Spanish Variety Should You Learn?

I get asked this question a lot, and the answer always depends on what you’re learning Spanish for. If you’re learning Spanish because you want to travel the world, especially South America, you should learn the type of Spanish spoken in the places you want to visit most.

Woman Uncertain of Something

If you’re learning Spanish for business, education, or the media, you may learn neutral Spanish for Spain. But if you’re going to work in a certain country, you should familiarize yourself with their Spanish so you can better enjoy your time there.

Some people find Latin American Spanish easier than the Spanish from Spain, whereas others may prefer Spain’s variety because the language originated there. 

What I always suggest is to learn the Spanish variety of your choice in a place where that variety is spoken. This will help you get used to pronunciation and other nuances of that variety faster!

6. Conclusion

For more information about the Spanish language, visit our website SpanishPod101.com. We hope to make every aspect of your learning journey both fun and informative, and we believe that with enough hard work and determination, you can master any variety of Spanish! 

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you learned anything new today about Spanish dialects and varieties. Which one do you want to learn, and why? We look forward to hearing from you! 

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A Quick Overview of Spanish Grammar

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As you know, grammar is an important part of any language, and Spanish is no exception. Spanish grammar has many similarities with other Romance languages, including many features that are comparable to English. 

In this article, we’re going to briefly explain the basics of Spanish grammar. We’ll also provide links to other articles and lessons on our website, where you’ll be able to find more detailed information on crucial Spanish grammar topics. In addition, we’ll explain some of the differences and similarities between the grammar rules of Spanish and English.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. General Rules
  2. Verbs
  3. Nouns
  4. Adjectives
  5. Negation
  6. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

1. General Rules

To begin, we’ll look at some of the similarities between Spanish and English. 

a) Verbs

Spanish verbs have tenses and undergo conjugations. While English does have a few conjugations, Spanish, like any Romance language, definitely has more. We have an article on Spanish conjugations where you’ll find all the information you need on the topic. 

That said, the tenses are quite similar to those in English. There are only a few exceptions of tenses that exist in Spanish but aren’t specified in English. 

We’ll explain verbs a little further in the next section.

b) Word Order

As we explained in our article about Spanish word order, Spanish has the same basic word order model as English: S + V + O (Subject + Verb + Object). There are a few differences when it comes to adverb and adjective placement, but to create a basic sentence, you just need to follow the same order you would in English. Here’s an example of a simple sentence that translates word for word:

Example: Mi padre canta una canción.
Translation: “My father sings a song.”

Easy, right?

c) Vocabulary

While vocabulary isn’t actually a grammatical component, we thought we would briefly mention it as well, since it shares many similarities with English.

It’s interesting to know that a lot of the vocabulary in English and Spanish share the same root. While English is not a Romance language, and is in fact a Germanic language, it has been highly influenced by French and Latin in the past. 

In fact, English is often jokingly referred to as being nothing more than a mix of other languages. Considering it has been heavily influenced by other Germanic languages, Latin, French, and many others, this association should come as no surprise. English hasn’t been influenced too much by Spanish, but its influence from other Romance languages gives it many similarities with Spanish.

There are many words that look similar in both English and Spanish, but we’ll only give you a couple here:

Example: nación
Translation: “nation”

We’ve chosen to include this word because there are actually dozens of Spanish words that end in the suffix -ación, the equivalent of “-ation” in English. Información (“information”), decoloración (“discoloration”)…we could keep going. 

This suffix comes from Latin, and that’s why it ended up being used in Spanish and English, as well as other languages. In all of the examples we’ve provided, English and Spanish share both the origin of the stem (which is also Latin) and the origin of the suffix. That’s why they’re all so similar!

Example: animal
Translation: “animal”

This second example actually shares the same spelling, but they’re pronounced a bit differently. This is another example of a word that comes from Latin, explaining its similarity to the Spanish counterpart.

Turtle

2. Verbs

As we explained, Spanish verbs have many more conjugations than those in English. Basically, while you could pretty much count English conjugations on one hand, Spanish verbs have a different conjugation for each person in the singular and plural forms, in all tenses and moods. In all verb conjugations, every person shares the same stem but has a different ending. Let’s look at how the verb comer (“to eat”) would conjugate:

  • Yo como → “I eat”
  • Tú comes → “You eat”
  • Él / ella come → “He / she eats”
  • Nosotros comemos → “We eat”
  • Vosotros coméis → “You eat” (plural)
  • Ellos / ellas comen → “They (masculine / feminine) eat”

Each form has the stem com, but there is a different ending for every person. Once again, if you would like to learn more about conjugations, remember to check out our dedicated article.

Family Eating Ice Cream

Just like English, Spanish has regular and irregular verbs. However, English verb irregularities are pretty much only obvious in the past and participle forms. In Spanish, because verbs need to conjugate for every person, these irregularities become much more obvious. As explained in our article about verbs, irregularities can occur at different times. Sometimes, a verb might only be irregular in a specific person in the present simple, for example. Other times, a verb can be fully irregular in every tense and conjugation.

Speaking of irregular verbs, there are two verbs in Spanish we can’t ignore: ser and estar. If you’re already familiar with Spanish, you might know what we’re talking about. But in case you don’t, ser and estar both mean “to be,” and you must use the correct one depending on the context. 

Other Romance languages have equivalents to these verbs—être and avoir in French or essere and stare in Italian, for example—but English doesn’t. Instead, these two verbs, despite having different meanings, share a  translation in English (“to be”). To give you an idea of what differentiates them, ser usually indicates stability, while estar indicates something temporary. Here’s an example of each:

Example: Soy español.
Translation: “I’m Spanish.”

Example: Estoy triste.
Translation: “I’m sad.”

Sad Man

In the first example (featuring ser), we establish something permanent, which is the fact that I’m Spanish. In the second example (featuring estar), we refer to something temporary. Usually, if we say we’re sad, like in the example, we mean that we’re sad in the moment or that we’re sad for a while, but not forever! 

3. Nouns

The main difference between Spanish nouns and English nouns is that Spanish nouns have grammatical gender: masculine and feminine. Honestly, just be thankful we don’t have any more genders (many languages have three or more!). That said, this is a facet of Spanish grammar you really need to know!

We’ll show you an example of a noun for each gender:

  • el horno (“the oven”) is masculine
  • la nevera (“the fridge”) is feminine

You might be wondering what makes an oven masculine and a fridge feminine. Nothing, really. It’s all based on its etymology and the evolution of the language.

For most words, you’ll need to memorize their gender along with their meaning. However, there are words that have more obvious genders. For example, una mujer (“a woman”) is obviously a feminine word, and un hombre (“a man”) is most definitely masculine.

We do have a super-simple tip to help you determine if a word is masculine or feminine: Words that are masculine almost always end with an -o, while words that are feminine almost always end with an -a. This tip isn’t fool-proof, but it will help you out in the vast majority of situations.

Keep in mind that nouns must always agree with the article in gender and number. You might have noticed that in the examples we’ve given you, because they were all accompanied by articles.

There’s a lot more we could explain about nouns in Spanish, but it might be easier for you to read our article on nouns.

4. Adjectives

There are a few basic things that you need to know about adjectives in Spanish. First of all, adjectives must always agree with the noun they accompany in gender and number. We’ll give you some examples using the adjective negro (“black”):

SingularPlural
MasculineCoche negro (“Black car”)Coches negros (“Black cars”)
FeminineCasa negra (“Black house”)Casas negras (“Black houses”)

While looking at these examples, you might have noticed that the noun was placed before the adjective. In Spanish, most adjectives are placed after the noun like this, though there are a few exceptions.

If you feel like you need to learn more about Spanish adjectives, here’s an article that’s perfect for you!

Black Car

5. Negation

Today, we’ll provide a brief overview of Spanish negation. Essentially, what you need to know is that you form basic negative sentences in Spanish by placing the word no before the verb. Here are a couple of examples:

Example: No tengo coche.
Translation: “I don’t have a car.”

Example: Hoy Martín no quiere ir al colegio.
Translation: “Martín doesn’t want to go to school today.”

You may have noticed that while the adverb in the last example was in a different position than in English, the negative word remained in the same location in both versions: between the subject—unless it’s omitted in Spanish—and the verb.

Kid Skipping Class

6. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

This article only provided a brief Spanish grammar overview, but you probably noticed that for every topic, we linked to another article or lesson that went more in-depth. 

Do you feel like you need more Spanish grammar help? Create your free lifetime account on SpanishPod101.com and gain access to tons of lessons on every Spanish-related topic imaginable. Give it a try, and you’ll start learning Spanish like never before!

In the meantime, let us know in the comments which aspect of Spanish grammar is most difficult for you. We look forward to hearing from you, and will do our best to help.

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Popular Spanish Quotes: Little Nuggets of Spanish Wisdom

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How many proverbs and quotes do you think you encounter on a given day? These words of wit and wisdom can appear almost anywhere, whether you’re scrolling through your Instagram and Pinterest feeds, watching a movie, or talking with friends and family.

In Spanish, we use refranes (“sayings”), which are ready-made phrases that come from our mothers and grandmothers, passed down from one generation to another. These sayings have become very popular over the years, and Spaniards frequently use them in their daily lives. Learning these Spanish quotes and sayings will help you connect with the Spanish language on a deep level and immerse you in the culture.

In this article, we’re going to review the most popular refranes that Spanish students will surely hear when having a conversation with a Spanish speaker. Many of these unique Spanish quotes, when translated literally, don’t make much sense in English. Because we want you to become familiar with each one, we’ll provide both the literal translation and an English approximate. 

In addition to these sayings, we’ve included some other phrases from writers, philosophers, and movies, and have included links to relevant vocabulary lists on SpanishPod101.com

Are you ready? Let’s go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Quotes About Wisdom
  2. Quotes About Success
  3. Quotes About Life
  4. Quotes About Time
  5. Quotes About Love
  6. Quotes About Family
  7. Quotes About Friendship
  8. Quotes About Food
  9. Quotes About Health
  10. Quotes About Language Learning
  11. Conclusion

1. Quotes About Wisdom

If you’re looking for some Spanish quotes to live by, you may find something valuable in these quotes about wisdom.

#1

SpanishA buen entendedor pocas palabras bastan.
Literally“A good listener, few words are enough.”
Equivalent“A word to the wise is sufficient.”
This saying comes from popular Spanish wisdom. It means that when you’re speaking to someone who is wise or has a good understanding of a subject, you won’t need to use many words to explain something to them. 

We may use this expression to draw the attention of a person who hasn’t followed our orders or directions. It’s also an ironic way of saying that there’s no need to repeat.

#2

SpanishQuien a buen árbol se arrima, buena sombra le cobija.
Literally“Whoever approaches a good tree, shelters a good shadow.”
Equivalent“It’s not what you know, but who you know.”
This famous proverb means that if you surround yourself with good people, you’ll be a good person and do well in life.

Imagine a leafy tree with a lot of shade on a very hot summer day. Of course you’d want to settle down underneath it for protection and refreshment! Just as you would be on the right track in doing so, so would a person who surrounded themself with good people.

#3

SpanishMás vale pájaro en mano que ciento volando.
Literally“A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.”
Equivalent“A bird in the hands is better than two in the bush.”
This is another famous proverb, and it means that you shouldn’t risk losing something you already have for something that’s better but uncertain.

We might use this saying when, for example, we’re thinking about leaving our current job for a better one, and then decide not to because our current job is a safer bet. 


Book

#4

SpanishA palabras necias, oídos sordos.
Literally“To foolish words, deaf ears.”
Equivalent“Don’t listen to the words of fools.”
This quote means that you shouldn’t listen to people who speak without knowledge or with bad intentions. Literally, it says that you should make yourself deaf and not listen.

It’s typically used when a person makes a comment about us, or about a matter related to us, that we don’t agree with.

#5

SpanishDad crédito a las obras y no a las palabras.
Literally“Give credit to works and not to words.”
Equivalent“Actions speak louder than words.”
Source and background infoThis is a quote from the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, from his famous book Don Quijote de la Mancha.
This phrase from the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra means that what we do has more power than what we say. 

It’s typically used when we see that someone speaks more than he does or can do. 

2. Quotes About Success

Do you have big plans for the future? Or maybe just an upcoming project you’re worried about? Check out these Spanish quotes on success to stay motivated and on the right path!


#6

SpanishEl arte de vencer se aprende en las derrotas.
Literally“The art of winning is learned in defeat.”
Equivalent“The art of victory is learned in defeat.”
Source and background infoThis is a quote from Simón Bolívar, a Venezuelan political soldier and one of the most prominent public figures in Latin America. He fought during the Hispano-American Revolution in the nineteenth century.
This phrase from Simón Bolívar means that difficulties are part of life, and that we can become stronger and more victorious through them.

Some Spanish speakers, especially from the political sector, have used this quote as a motivational phrase in times of crisis in their countries.

Cheerful Young Man

“El arte de vencer se aprende en las derrotas.” (Simón Bolívar)

#7

SpanishTodo lo que puede ser imaginado es real.
Literally“Everything that can be imagined is real.”
Equivalent“Everything you can imagine is real.”
Source and background infoThis is a quote from the famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. With these words, he makes a parallel between his perception of the world and his experience with art.
This phrase is completely inspirational and is quite common in motivational courses in companies. It provides a mental framework in which people can achieve anything.

#8

SpanishLo difícil lo hago de inmediato, lo imposible tardo un poquito más.
Literally“I do the difficult immediately, the impossible takes a little longer.”
Equivalent“Difficult is done at once, the impossible takes a little longer.”
Source and background infoThis is a phrase by Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno Reyes, known worldwide as Cantinflas.

This is one of the most popular quotes in Spanish, especially among Mexicans, as Cantinflas gained fame through her performances in the cinema.

This actor and humorist is one of the characters that most reflects Mexico’s national identity.
This phrase means that you can face any situation without limitations and achieve everything you set your mind to.

#9

SpanishLo importante es marcarse metas en la vida y poner toda tu alma en cumplirlas.
Literally“The important thing is to set goals in life and put your whole soul into achieving them.”
Equivalent“Set your goals high, and don’t stop til you get there.”
Source and background infoAmancio Ortega said this in one of his interviews. 

The most prominent businessman in Spain and creator of the fashion brand ZARA, he is one of the most influential characters in the country thanks to his successful business model and his worldwide fame in fashion.
This quote means that you can achieve anything if you’re clear about your goals and follow them with discipline.

It could be used, for example, as a reference in an entrepreneurship conference.

3. Quotes About Life 

Who knows what life really is? If you enjoy pondering the big picture and admiring the minutest details, read through these Spanish quotes about life and gain some insight!

#10

SpanishAunque la mona se vista de seda, mona se queda.
Literally“Even if the monkey dresses in silk, it remains a monkey.”
Equivalent“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
This is one of the most popular Spanish sayings. It’s used in both Spain and Latin America to indicate that you can’t change your essence or your natural appearance for something superficial.

You can use this Spanish quote about life in any context, particularly with the people closest to you, such as friends and family.

#11

SpanishA enemigo que huye, puente de plata.
Literally“A fleeing enemy, silver bridge.”
Equivalent“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”
Source and background infoThis phrase is of Spanish origin, said by Gonzalo Fernández Córdoba, known as The Great Captain of the sixteenth century. He pronounced it in front of his troops in the military fields as a mandate to facilitate the flight of the defeated enemy.
The Spanish use this phrase when a person wants to harm them. This person would be considered the enemy, and thus should be forgiven or made to flee.

People tend to use this phrase on a daily basis.

#12

SpanishEl que no arriesga un huevo no saca un pollo.
Literally“He who does not risk an egg does not take out a chicken.”
Equivalent“The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing…” (Paul Tillich)
This popular phrase means that those who don’t take risks don’t obtain benefits. It’s widely used in Latin America (especially in Colombia), and it’s sometimes used in Spain as well.

A person can use this phrase in situations where they need to risk something in order to experience positive change. Examples include getting another job, starting a business, or changing partners.

This quote can also be applied in contexts involving teamwork and goal achievement. The Spanish Pep Guardiola once stated a similar phrase in reference to his job as a soccer coach: No hay nada más peligroso que no arriesgarse. (“There’s nothing more dangerous than not taking any chances.”)

#13

SpanishA veces te tienes que lanzar de cabeza y la gente te ayuda por el camino.
Literally“Sometimes you have to jump head first and people help you along the way.”
Equivalent“Many hands make light work.”
Source and background infoThis quote was taken from the Spanish movie El olivo, a 2016 film that critiques abuse of power and tells an exciting story about a grandfather and his granddaughter.
This phrase indicates that you sometimes have to get out of your comfort zone and find people to help you fulfill your mission. It depicts an ideal life in which you can reflect on the things you want to do and bring them to fruition.

Someone may use this quote when, for example, their close friend is talking about the dreams or goals they’re too afraid to go after.

Young People Making Hearts with Their Hands

4. Quotes About Time

You’ve seen the most popular Spanish sayings on life, so let’s now dwell a little on time: the most valuable asset a person has and the only thing a person can never recover.

Here, we’ve compiled several inspirational Spanish quotes to encourage you to live life and take advantage of your time! Some of these quotes are from Hispanic figures who have become famous through film and politics. 

#14

SpanishSer libre es…gastar la mayor cantidad de tiempo de nuestra vida en aquello que nos gusta hacer.
Literally“Being free is…spending the most time in our lives on what we like to do.”
Equivalent“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.”
Source and background infoThis quote is from Pepe Mujica, former President of Uruguay. He has stood out over the years for his wise phrases in television interviews and his altruistic nature.
This quote invites people to prioritize the most important things, because time is limited. It’s best to invest our time in what we like, and to be happy in doing so.

It’s an inspiring phrase for many of the politician’s followers, as well as for ordinary people who identify with his way of thinking. This quote can be used in everyday life, in business talks, and in conferences.

#15

SpanishMejor tarde que nunca.
Literally“Better late than never.”
This is a very popular saying, meaning that it’s better to do things even if they’re late than to not do them at all.

People can use this phrase in reference to any task, especially those they don’t necessarily want to do: exercising, getting to an appointment early, etc.

#16

SpanishA quien madruga, Dios le ayuda.
Literally“Whoever gets up early, God helps him.”
Equivalent“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
This is a typical phrase in Spanish-speaking cultures, widely used in work-related contexts. It means that we must be responsible and efficient concerning our tasks on a daily basis.

#17

SpanishNo siempre serás joven, te lo digo por experiencia.
Literally“You will not always be young, I tell you from experience.”
Equivalent“Youth comes but once in a lifetime.”
Source and background infoThis quote is taken from the 1982 Spanish film Laberinto de pasiones from director Pedro Almodóvar. Although it was not very successful, many people consider it a cult film.
This quote is from an argument that a nymphomaniac girl has with someone in the film. She’s had to fight her illness since childhood, reflecting the bitterness of lost time.

People use this quote to refer to the importance of taking advantage of one’s youth, because many things are lost with old age.

Life is shorter than we like to think. If you’re feeling a bit melancholy, see our vocabulary lists of Hobbies and Life Events for some ideas on how to make the most of your time!

Watch

Mejor tarde que nunca.”

5. Quotes About Love

Are you in love? Or maybe you’re a hopeless romantic? Either way, we think you’ll enjoy these Spanish quotes about love and romance! 


#18

SpanishEs tan corto el amor y tan largo el olvido.
Literally“Love is so short and oblivion so long.”
Equivalent“Love is so short, forgetting is so long.”
Source and background infoThis is a quote from the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, taken from his work entitled “20 poemas de amor y una canción desesperada.”
This is a famous phrase from the poet who won the Nobel Prize in Literature and has dedicated his poems to love and heartbreak. He has been one of the most representative figures in Latin American culture.

This quote means that while the good things in life don’t last, the things that hurt us the most last forever.

#19

SpanishEscoge una persona que te mire como si quizás fueras magia.
Literally“Choose a person who looks at you as if you were perhaps magic.”
Equivalent“Romantic love reaches out in little ways, showing attention and admiration.”
Source and background infoThis famous phrase is from the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, one of the most important figures in Latin America.
This phrase encourages us to find a partner that we’re passionate about and to whom we are important.

During her life, Frida Kahlo stood out for her famous inspirational phrases about life and love. She became the benchmark for many women and men, who in this day and age, fill their Instagram posts with messages from the artist.

#20

SpanishEl amor es eterno mientras dura.
Literally“Love is eternal while it lasts.”
Source and background infoNobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez penned this quote in his story I Only Came to Use the Phone, which is part of the book Twelve Pilgrim Tales.
This is one of the most famous quotes from the Colombian writer, who reflects on the immortality of love and its ability to transcend time. Love has many qualities: it’s real but intangible, both long-lasting and short-lived. But as long as we feel it, it will be eternal.

#21

SpanishOjos que no ven, corazón que no siente.
Literally“Out of sight, out of mind.”
This popular expression is used in both Spanish and English, and it’s generally used to mean that it’s better for us not to know if our romantic partner is doing something to hurt us. It’s widely used among couples and friends to comment on infidelity.

Heart

« El amor es eterno mientras dura ». (Gabriel García Márquez)

#22

SpanishNadie sabe lo que vale el agua hasta que le falta.
Literally“No one knows what water is worth until it is lacking.”
Equivalent“You never know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”
This popular saying demonstrates the importance of valuing what we have, whether it’s a person, a good of some kind, or a life situation.

It’s a very popular phrase in Spanish-speaking cultures, often used in conversations with close friends and family.

6. Quotes About Family

Family consists of the people you love the most, and sometimes get along with the least. Learn more about family in Spanish-speaking cultures through the following quotes and sayings.


#23

SpanishParece que no tienes abuela.
Literally“It seems that you don’t have a grandmother.”
This saying is very popular in Spain, said to people who have a high opinion of themselves or are self-centered.

Why is it related to grandmothers? Because grandmothers are usually the ones who praise their grandchildren the most; if someone is self-centered, that person doesn’t need his grandmother in order to feel superior.

#24

SpanishSalirse de madre.
Literally“Get out of mother.”
Equivalent“To lose one’s self-control.”
This is another famous Spanish expression, used when there’s an excess of something. For example, if a party has more guests than normal or expected. Its origin dates back to when it rained so much that the rivers overflowed.

#25

SpanishEs en la familia donde aprendemos a abrirnos a los demás, a crecer en libertad y en paz.
Equivalent“It is in the family where we learn to open ourselves to others, to grow in freedom and in peace.”
Source and background infoThis quote is from Pope Francis, taken from the book Catechesis on the Family.
This quote became famous around the world, especially among Catholic believers, as it adds value to the family. Pope Francis is a world icon, but has great relevance in Latin American culture due to his Argentine origin. 

7. Quotes About Friendship

There are many great Spanish quotes on friendship, but we’ll only be sharing the most popular with you here!


 #26

SpanishLos amigos son la familia que uno escoge.
Equivalent“Friends are the family one chooses.”
This is a popular phrase among friends, used as a sign of affection. Friends are the people with whom you share the most, even more than you share with your family sometimes.

#27

SpanishEs mejor tener amigos que dinero.
Literally“It’s better to have friends than money.”
Equivalent“Friendship is more important than money.”
The meaning of this expression is very valuable. It refers to those true friends who are always ready to help us in the most difficult moments.

#28

SpanishEl amigo es aquel que entra cuando todo el mundo ha salido.
Literally“The friend is the one who enters when everyone has left.”
Equivalent“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”
Source and background infoThis phrase is taken from the 2012 Spanish movie Tengo ganas de ti, starring the famous Spanish actor Mario Casas.
The plot of the film is based on the love of two friends who meet again after a long time, and who want to start a new life and leave their past behind.

This quote from the story refers to those unconditional friends who are with you when others turn their backs on you. It closely resembles reality, making it a quote that ranks high in terms of practical value.

#29

SpanishEl amigo ha de ser como la sangre que acude luego a la herida sin esperar que lo llamen.
Literally“The friend must be like the blood that comes to the wound without waiting for him to be called.”
Source and background infoThis quote is from the Golden Age Spanish writer Francisco de Quevedo.
This is one of the most famous phrases, found in the most outstanding books of poems in Spanish—and in many Spanish social media posts!

Through this quote, the author reflects on how ideal friends should be: unconditional, supportive, and overall good.

Friends

« El amigo ha de ser como la sangre que acude luego a la herida sin esperar que lo llamen ». (Francisco de Quevedo)

8. Quotes About Food

Food: What better motivation or joy does the world have to offer? Learn what Spanish-speaking cultures have to say about food with these popular quotes, and walk away from this section with a full belly and a happy heart.

    → While you’re at it, why not learn the names of the most popular Mexican Foods?

#30

SpanishPanza llena, corazón contento.
Equivalent“A full belly and a happy heart.”
This quote is of Spanish origin, and refers to the satisfaction and contentment we feel after a good meal. It also indicates that when we cover our most basic needs (eating, sleeping, etc.), we have a better disposition that allows us to do other things.

It’s popularly used in all Spanish-speaking countries.

#31

SpanishLo que no mata, engorda.
Equivalent“What doesn’t kill you, makes you fat.”
This is a popular saying in Latin America and Spain, mainly used when eating something unhealthy or of dubious quality.

#32

SpanishEl hambre desata la locura.
Equivalent“Hunger unleashes madness.”
Source and background infoThis phrase is taken from the 2020 Netflix movie El Hoyo. It has become one of the most successful films in Latin American history.
This quote is a manifestation of what the poorest social classes live with when they’re faced with hunger and misery. These situations can lead to despair and even acts of barbarism.

The film’s plot is an exposition of the current reality in which the economic levels are strongly marked in our society. It also sends the suggestive message that the distribution of wealth should be more equitable.

#33

SpanishPoner toda la carne en el asador
Literally“Put all the meat on the grill”
Equivalent“Give it everything you got”
This phrase is especially popular in Mexico. It’s used when a person puts great effort into something or takes big risks to achieve a goal.

You can apply this to your Spanish learning! Put all the meat on the grill until you master the language. Feel motivated?

9. Quotes About Health

We all want to take care of our health, but we may not always do a great job of that. Here are some Spanish quotes to give you insight into how Spanish-speaking cultures perceive health. 


#34

SpanishMejor prevenir que curar.
Equivalent“Prevention is better than cure.”
This common phrase in Spain and Latin America is used to say that it’s better to avoid a bad situation than to face the consequences after it happens.

It’s widely used by mothers and grandmothers as advice for their children, especially when they have to make decisions about an unsafe situation.

#35

SpanishQuién salud no tiene, de todo bien carece.
Literally“Who’s health does not have everything well lacks.”
Equivalent“Life is not merely being alive, but being well.”
What is the use of living if you’re not healthy? Well, this popular Spanish saying means that the greatest wealth is having health, regardless of your social condition. It also encourages people to reflect on and be grateful for their health, especially when they hear of others who are sick.

#36

SpanishPeor es el remedio que la enfermedad.
Literally“The remedy is worse than the disease.”
Equivalent“The cure is worse than the disease.”
This saying states that some solutions generate more inconvenience than the problem they’re designed to fix. For example, imagine taking someone to a party with you so that no one will bother you, but the person you brought behaves badly at the party.

In countries like Colombia, this phrase is very popular, but it changes a little: Salió más cara la cura que la enfermedad. (“The cure was more expensive than the disease.”)


Woman Eating Healthy

«Quien salud no tiene de todo bien carece »

10. Quotes About Language Learning

To end our article, let’s look at a popular Spanish quote on learning! 

#37

SpanishLoro viejo no aprende a hablar.
Literally“Old parrot does not learn to talk.”
Equivalent“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
This popular saying, generally used by older people, means that it’s more difficult for an older person to learn new things than it is for a younger person.

You can also apply this quote to your language learning! If you’re young, take advantage of that and learn as much as you can; if you’re not so young, just remember: Mejor tarde que nunca.

Conclusion

In this guide, you learned many popular Spanish sayings and phrases. You were motivated by love, family, and friends; you reflected on life and time; you got excited about food… And most of all, you familiarized yourself with certain aspects of Spanish-speaking cultures!

Which quote was your favorite, and why? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments! 

The Spanish language is diverse and may appear complex at times. But keep practicing! The more lessons you learn, the faster you’ll master Spanish. 

If you need more motivation, we have vocabulary lists of Reasons for Learning a Language and Spanish Quotes About Language Learning.

We hope to see you around!

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The Top Phrases for Doing Business in Spanish

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A lot of people who decide to learn Spanish do so because they’re thinking of moving to Spain or another Spanish-speaking country. 

Even if this isn’t the case for you, you never know when knowing just a few basic Spanish business phrases will come in handy. For example, you might be the only person, or one of only a few people, in your company who speaks at least a little Spanish. If your boss ever required you to travel to Spain for a business trip, knowing some phrases for doing business in Spanish could be crucial for you! 

At SpanishPod101.com, we think it’s better to be safe than sorry. Why not be ready for that moment?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Nail a Job Interview
  2. Interact with Coworkers
  3. Sound Smart in a Meeting
  4. Handle Business Phone Calls and Emails
  5. Go on a Business Trip
  6. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

1. Nail a Job Interview

Job Interview

If your intention is to work in Spain, one of the first things you need to sort out is, well, finding a job! 

Lucky for you, we’ve already published an article on How to Find a Job in Spain. In that article, we even listed five questions that you’re likely to be asked in an interview, so we would definitely recommend that you take a look at them.

But there are a few more phrases and sentences that you should be familiar with. Some of these are quite simple, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook them!

Man and Woman in a Job Interview

Greetings

What’s the first thing you should say when you arrive at your job interview? You should greet your interviewer, of course! Here are some examples of appropriate Spanish business greetings:

  • Hola.

Translation: “Hello.”

As you probably know by now, hola means “hello.” This greeting, while simple, is neither formal nor informal, and you can definitely use it to begin your job interview.

  • Buenos días.

Translation: “Good morning.”

The greeting Buenos días is slightly more formal than Hola. Keep in mind that you can never go wrong with Hola, but Buenos días might be an even more appropriate greeting. 

If you would like to learn other possible greetings to use for your job interview, read our article on How to Say “Hello” in Spanish.

Introductions

The next step in your greeting is to introduce yourself. Because the employer is probably interviewing several candidates, you’ll need to let them know who you are.

  • Soy [name].

Translation: “I’m [name].”

In this case, we recommend using the form Soy ___, such as in: Soy Carlos. (“I’m Carlos.”) This is because the interviewer will most likely already be familiar with your name, but they might not know what you look like.

Other times, the person you meet at the reception desk might not know that you’re there for an interview, so you’ll need to specify this:

  • Tengo una entrevista.

Translation: “I have an interview.”

Usually, you’ll make this sentence a little longer. For example, if you have an interview at ten in the morning, you can say:

  • Tengo una entrevista a las 10. → “I have an interview at ten.”

If you know the name of the person who will be interviewing you, you can mention that as well:

  • Tengo una entrevista con Pablo Martínez. → “I have an interview with Pablo Martínez.”

Other Useful Phrases

Once you’re at the interview, there are a few more sentences you should know. Here are a couple of useful examples: 

  • Disculpa, ¿podrías repetir la pregunta?

Translation: “Excuse me, could you repeat the question?”

Some Spanish speakers tend to talk a little bit too fast—sorry about that—so there might be a few times that you’re not entirely sure what the question was. Instead of guessing and giving a completely unrelated answer just to see if that’s what they meant, don’t be shy; just ask them to repeat the question. 

  • Tengo experiencia (en) ___.

Translation: “I have experience (in) ___.”

The interviewer will most likely ask you about your experience in the company’s particular industry, or even in the workforce in general. You can also opt to add how much experience you have. Some of your answers might be like the following:

  • Tengo cinco años de experiencia trabajando como jardinero. → “I have five years’ experience working as a gardener.”

Thank Your Interviewer

  • Muchísimas gracias por esta increíble oportunidad.

Translation: “Thank you very much for this incredible opportunity.”

This is a sentence that will always make you look good. Even if you’re not sure the interview went as well as you wanted it to, we think it’s always nice to thank your interviewers for considering you for the job and taking their time to interview you.

Women Shaking Hands

2. Interact with Coworkers

Jobs

When you’re learning business Spanish, you can’t overlook the importance of knowing how to communicate and connect with your coworkers.

Let’s assume that your interview was successful and you got the job. First of all, congratulations! Now, let’s learn some more vocabulary that will be helpful for you on the job.

  • ¡Hola, soy el nuevo programador!

Translation: “Hello, I’m the new programmer!”

On your first day at work, a few people might have already been told that you’d been hired, and others might have met you at the interview. But not everyone will know you, so you should introduce yourself

While the example above refers to a male programmer, let’s look at an example for a female teacher:

  • ¡Hola, soy Ana, la nueva profesora de matemáticas! → “Hello, I’m Ana, the new Math teacher!”

In this case, the sentence can be used to introduce yourself to both your new colleagues and your students. If you were talking to your students, you could change it to la nueva profesora to vuestra nueva profesora (European Spanish) or su nueva profesora (Latin American Spanish) so that it means “your new teacher,” but it’s not absolutely necessary.

You might have noticed that in this example, we also included one of the elements we discussed above: stating your name.

Introducing Yourself to Someone

  • Disculpa, ¿me puedes ayudar?

Translation: “Excuse me, can you help me?”

When you start a new job, you’ll have lots of questions and doubts. Even if you’re an expert in your field, getting a job in a new company means there will be aspects of the job that are new to you. Never underestimate the importance of asking for help!

There are a few other ways of asking this same question, some more formal and others less formal. The one we listed above is simple and slightly more formal than others. But the following example is a very casual way of asking someone for help, since it includes an informal expression:

  • Perdona, ¿me puedes echar una mano con esto? → “Excuse me, could you give me a hand with this?”

Interestingly, the expression echar una mano has a nearly literal translation in English: “to give a hand.”

  • ¿Me puedes explicar cómo funciona?

Translation: “Could you explain to me how it works?”

This question might refer to a specific aspect of your job, such as a new software program you don’t entirely understand yet, a machine you need to operate, or anything you come across that’s either new or complicated. 

  • Lo siento, me he equivocado.

Translation: “I’m sorry, I made a mistake.”

Some people have difficulty admitting that they made a mistake, but we believe it’s important to be honest. After all, it’s common to make a few mistakes, especially when you’re new. Your coworkers also started somewhere, and we’re sure that they’ll understand. 

  • ¿Puedes decirle al jefe que estoy enfermo?

Translation: “Could you tell the boss I’m sick?”

There are several ways to let your employer know that you’re sick and won’t be able to go to work. One of them is to text a close colleague and get them to talk to your boss. Of course, you could also call your boss yourself and say something like this:

  • Estoy enfermo y no voy a poder venir/ir hoy. → “I’m sick and I won’t be able to come/go today.”

We hope your boss will wish you a speedy recovery, like so: 

  • De acuerdo, mejórate pronto. → “Alright, get well soon.”

  • ¿Quieres ir a tomar algo luego?

Translation: “Would you like to have a drink later?”

In a new job, it’s always nice to make some friends. This is where it’s important to note that Spanish for business isn’t limited to what goes on in the workplace! 

There’s not always enough time to chat at work, so it’s very common to go out with coworkers for a cup of coffee or even a beer. In Latin American Spanish, the verb tomar refers exclusively to drinking alcohol, but in Spain, it can mean any kind of drink (and sometimes even food). It’s a very versatile term.

  • Qué pesado es Ernesto. No me deja en paz.

Translation: “How annoying is Ernesto. He won’t leave me alone.”

Sometimes, things don’t go very well at work and we might not always get along with our coworkers. This is why we thought it might be useful for you to know how to complain about someone.

  • Querría presentar una queja formal.

Translation: “I would like to present a formal complaint.”

While the previous example was just a casual complaint about a coworker, this is a phrase you would use if things at work had gotten pretty ugly. We hope you don’t need this one, but we’ll leave it here just in case!

Business Phrases

3. Sound Smart in a Meeting

Some workplaces require that you attend regular meetings. We can’t prepare you for the specific meetings that you’ll have, but we can offer a few useful Spanish phrases for business meetings and expressing your opinion.

People in a Meeting

  • Creo que…

Translation: “I think…”

One of the most basic ways of expressing your opinion is to say what you think.

  • Creo que es una buena idea. → “I think it’s a good idea.”

Other times, you might want to say the opposite:

  • No creo que tengas razón. → “I don’t think you’re right.”

Remember that, just like in the example, the adverb no will always be in front of the verb.

  • Me gustaría hacer una propuesta.

Translation: “I would like to make a suggestion.”

If you’re shy, offering a suggestion at work may be difficult for you. If this is the case, we hope that you gain the confidence you need to do so and make your voice heard. Using this phrase is a great way to ensure that they’ll take you seriously and consider your idea. ¡Buena suerte! (“Good luck!”)

  • Estoy de acuerdo contigo.

Translation: “I agree with you.”

It’s very important to know how to tell someone that you agree with them, whether in a meeting, at the office, or while going about your day-to-day life.

  • No estoy de acuerdo con lo que has propuesto.

Translation: “I disagree with what you’ve suggested.”

Knowing how to express disagreement is just as important as knowing how to agree. 

  • ¿Puedes terminar esto para mañana?

Translation: “Can you finish this by tomorrow?”

If tasks are being delegated during the meeting, there’s a chance that you’ll need to ask someone to finish a certain task or project.

4. Handle Business Phone Calls and Emails

Whether you work in an office or not, you should be ready to take phone calls and handle your business email in Spanish. 

  • Buenas tardes, le atiende Sandra.

Translation: “Good afternoon, Sandra speaking.”

If you have to answer phone calls at work, your company might have a standard phrase for you to use. But in case they don’t, this is a rather common and simple way of doing so. Of course, the beginning of the sentence will change depending on the time of day. 

Sometimes, the company you work for will ask you to state the name of the company when you answer the phone. Let’s say you’re working for SpanishPod101.com, it’s nine in the morning, and you need to take a phone call. Here’s something you could say:

  • SpanishPod101.com, buenos días, le atiende Paula. → “SpanishPod101.com, good morning, Paula speaking.”
Call Center

  • ¿Me puede decir su nombre, por favor?

Translation: “Could you tell me your name, please?”

Sometimes you might have to ask for the customer’s name. In most companies, you’ll be told not to ask for their name directly, but to ask it in a way that’s more formal and not too direct (like in the example sentence). However, if there’s no such policy, you’ll be able to use the more common sentence below:

  • ¿Cómo te llamas? or ¿Cómo se llama? [if you still need to speak formally] → “What’s your name?”

  • Gracias por contactar con [company name].

Translation: “Thank you for contacting [company name].”

Once again, the company you’re working for might have a script that includes thanking the customer for calling or emailing them. This phrase is rather flexible, and can be used at the beginning or end of the call, depending on your company’s specifications.

  • Estimada Marta,

Translation: “Dear Marta,”

As you may have guessed, this is a standard Spanish business email greeting. You’ll use it at the beginning of a letter or an email.

If the email or letter you’re writing doesn’t need to be too formal and will be sent to someone you know well, you can change the Estimado/a to Querido/a

  • Atentamente

Translation: “Sincerely”

Just like in English, there are a few different Spanish business email closings that are considered appropriate, some more formal than others. We think Atentamente is a good choice for all formal and business emails. 

5. Go on a Business Trip

In the introduction to this article, we explained that maybe you don’t plan on moving to Spain and working there, but that you might need to go there on a business trip at some point. If this is the case for you, you might find this next section useful.

  • Esta semana tengo que irme de viaje de negocios a Italia.

Translation: “This week, I need to go on a business trip to Italy.”
Man and Woman Going on a Business Trip

  • Buenos días, tengo una reserva a nombre de Andrea Pérez.

Translation: “Good morning, I have a booking under Andrea Pérez.”

One of the first things you might do when you arrive at your hotel will be to mention that you have a reservation. If you don’t, well, that’s another story, so we’ll leave it for the next item on our list!

  • Buenas tardes, ¿tienen alguna habitación libre para esta noche?

Translation: “Good afternoon, do you have a free room for tonight?”

If you don’t have a room booked—which is unlikely in the context of a planned business trip, unless something has gone wrong—you’ll need to use this sentence.

  • Gracias por tu hospitalidad.

Translation: “Thank you for your hospitality.”

You might not always need this sentence, but we think it’s still good to know.

6. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

We hope you found this article useful and that it helps you in the future! Even if you never go on a business trip to Spain, a huge portion of the vocabulary listed in this article can still prove helpful when traveling to Spain for leisure purposes, or when you need to speak Spanish in a non-casual situation.

SpanishPod101.com has even more great lessons related to business Spanish and other basic phrases you should know. Check out the following vocabulary lists:

Happy learning!

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All About the Subjunctive Spanish Mood

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Do you know the names of all the verbal moods and tenses in English (or in your native language)? You might know a few, you might know all of them, or you might not even be familiar with any of them. Knowing the names isn’t so important, unless you’re a huge fan of grammar or you study something related to linguistics. But, even if you don’t know all these names, you know how to use them, don’t you? Otherwise you wouldn’t make much sense in your native language.

We’re going to teach you everything you need to know about the subjunctive Spanish mood and all its tenses, which is going to be incredibly helpful for your Spanish. 

This is what’s important: not what we call them—even though it’s still helpful when learning them—but knowing how to use them and understanding the differences between the different moods and tenses. In real life, no one is going to ask you the difference between infinitive and subjunctive, but you must learn them in order to be fluent! Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. What is a Grammatical Mood?
  2. Infinitive vs. Subjunctive
  3. Subjunctive Spanish Tenses
  4. Uses of Subjunctive
  5. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

1. What is a Grammatical Mood?

Just like we explained in our article on conjugations, verb conjugations are divided into different groups that we call moods, or modos in Spanish.

Even though there are a few more grammatical moods than the ones we’ll cover today, in Spanish, there are three main verbal moods: infinitivo (“infinitive”), subjuntivo (“subjunctive”), and imperativo (“imperative”). 

The third one, imperativo, is the easiest to explain because it’s not divided into several tenses like the other two moods. Instead, it only refers to very specific forms, which are the ones we use to give orders to someone. For example, if you want to make someone sing, you’ll say: ¡Canta! or ¡Cantad! (“Sing!”), depending on whether you’re telling one person (the first example) or more than one (the second example).

Man Studying

The other two moods, infinitive and subjunctive, are the ones we use every time we speak. Whether we want to use the present tense, past tense, or future tense, it will always be a part of one of these two moods. We’ll need to use one or the other depending on what we mean to say.

In today’s article, we’ll be focusing on the Spanish subjunctive mood, but before we do that, we need to explain some of the differences between subjunctive and infinitive, so that you can understand it more easily.

2. Infinitive vs. Subjunctive

Let’s start with the indicative mood. In Spanish, indicative essentially refers to facts, as well as beliefs. Here’s an example: 

  • El agua se congela a 0 ºC.
    “Water freezes at 0 ºC.”

This is definitely a fact, which means it can’t be argued against, so we use the indicative mood.

Man Climbing Ice

As opposed to indicative, subjunctive Spanish marks anything that isn’t a fact. Among others, this includes hypothetical statements or something you wish had or hadn’t happened. For example: 

  • No quiero que te hagas daño.
    “I don’t want you to get hurt.”

In the example above, it’s not something that has happened, so it’s not a fact. Instead, this mood has been used to refer to something you wish wouldn’t happen. We hope this doesn’t sound too confusing. If it does, don’t worry, we’ll fix it.

You might not know this, but the subjunctive mood actually exists in English as well. It’s not as widely used as it is in Spanish, and when it is used, it’s not as obvious. Let’s look at the following examples:

  • “If I were you, I would go to the doctor.”
  • “I wish you were here.”

In the first example, we don’t say “I was,” but “I were.” This is because it’s in the subjunctive mood! In the second example, it shouldn’t surprise us that we use the form “were,” because that’s the form we use for the second person “you.” But it might surprise us that it’s in the past, instead of the present, as in “I wish you are here.” That doesn’t make sense, right? Well, that’s because we need the subjunctive mood, just like in Spanish. So, of course, when translated into Spanish, these two sentences also use the subjunctive mood.

  • Si fuese tú, iría al médico.
    “If I were you, I would go to the doctor.”
  • Ojalá estuvieras aquí. 
    “I wish you were here.”

3. Subjunctive Spanish Tenses

The subjunctive mood, as we’ve already mentioned, is divided into several tenses. Do you remember our previous article on conjugations? In that article, we had examples of the subjunctive conjugations of a few different verbs. Here, because we don’t want to repeat ourselves, we’re only going to show you one verb, specifically the verb cantar (“to sing”). But you can always check that article again if you need to look at the subjunctive tables.

In Spanish, the “present” (presente) and “past tenses” (pretéritos) of the subjunctive are used quite often, but the two future tenses (futuro simple and futuro compuesto) are never used. They’re included in the following subjunctive Spanish tenses chart so you’re aware that they exist, but there’s no need to learn them. If you ever ask a native Spanish-speaker about them, they wouldn’t even know how to use them!

Note that these tenses don’t have a direct translation in English, but we’ll use them in the examples we’ll give you below.

Simple tenses

SubjectPresentePretérito imperfectoFuturo simple
Yocantecantara or cantasecantare 
cantescantaras or cantasescantares 
Él/Ellacantecantara or cantasecantare
Nosotros/ascantemoscantáramos or cantásemoscantáremos
Vosotros/ascantéiscantarais or cantaseiscantareis
Ellos/ascantencantaran or cantasencantaren

Compound tenses

SubjectPretérito perfecto compuestoPretérito pluscuamperfectoFuturo compuesto
Yohaya cantadohubiera or hubiese cantadohubiere cantado
hayas cantadohubieras or hubieses cantadohubieres cantado
Él/Ellahaya cantadohubiera or hubiese cantadohubiere cantado
Nosotros/ashayamos cantadohubiéramos or hubiésemos cantadohubiéremos cantado
Vosotros/ashayáis cantadohubierais or hubieseis  cantadohubiereis cantado
Ellos/ashayan cantadohubieran or hubiesen cantadohubieren cantado

Singer on Stage

4. Uses of Subjunctive

When do you use subjunctive Spanish? As we’ve said before, the subjunctive mood is generally used in sentences that are not facts. We think you’ll find it useful to take a look at the following list of specific uses:

a) Expressing Emotions

You can use the Spanish subjunctive to express feelings or emotions. Anytime you want to say that some action makes you sad, or happy, or angry, you’ll need to use the subjunctive mood.

  • Me entristece que te vayas a vivir tan lejos.
    “It saddens me that you’re going to live so far away.”
  • Me alegró que se hubieran decidido a adoptar un bebé. 
    “It made me happy that they decided to adopt a baby.”
Women with Baby

b) Wishes 

As we’ve said before, the subjunctive is often used to express wishes. But before we get into that, we’ll have to tell you about a more basic kind of wish. When all you want to say is something you want, we just use the infinitive form of the verb, as we explained in our previous article about Spanish sentence patterns

  • Quiero comer galletas. 
    “I want to eat cookies.”

However, sometimes we need to express a wish related to a different subject than the main subject of the sentence. For that, we might use a full sentence, such as in the following examples:

  • Espero que te recuperes pronto. 
    “I hope you get better soon.”
  • Mi madre quería que estudiara Arquitectura
    “My mother wanted me to study Architecture.”

Or instead of using a full sentence, we might do something similar to the next example. This sentence uses the word ojalá, which can’t be translated literally into English, but can be understood as “hopefully.” This word can only be used with the subjunctive mood.

  • Ojalá hayas aprobado
    “Hopefully you have passed.”

Some other verbs we use to express wishes are gustar (“to like”), preferir (“to prefer”), desear (“to wish”), and apetecer (“to feel like”).

c) Requests or Commands

We always use the subjunctive mood when we need to request or command something (unless we use the imperative!). In this case, we’re giving you two very similar examples, but in different verb tenses.

  • Me ha pedido que vaya a ver a la abuela
    “She has asked me to go see grandma.”
  • Me pidió que fuera a ver a la abuela. 
    “She asked me to go see grandma.”
Grandma and Grandchildren

Other verbs you might use as well as pedir (“to ask”) are ordenar (“to command”) and prohibir (“to forbid”).

d) Doubts

As you might remember, we said that sometimes the subjunctive is used when something isn’t a fact. When someone expresses a fact, but you’re not sure it’s true, you can express doubt by using the subjunctive mood.

  • No creo que sea verdad. 
    “I don’t think it’s true.”
  • Dudó de que estuviéramos diciendo la verdad. 
    “She doubted we were telling the truth.”

In the case of doubts, we won’t always use verbs, and there are some expressions that will help you: tal vez / quizá (both mean “maybe”) and seguramente / probablemente (both mean “probably”). In the case of these words, we can use both the indicative and the subjunctive, but we’ll use the subjunctive when our doubt is greater.

  • Seguramente está en casa
    “She’s probably home.” (Indicative)
  • Seguramente esté en casa
    “She’s probably home.” (Subjunctive)

e) Opinions

When expressing your opinion, notice that we use the indicative in positive sentences, like in the following example: 

  • Creo que se lo está pasando bien. 
    “I think he’s having a good time.”

Subjunctive, however, is used in negative sentences: 

  • No creo que se lo esté pasando bien. 
    “I don’t think he’s having a good time.”

To express an opinion, other verbs we can use besides creer (“to believe”) are pensar, opinar, considerar… They’re all different synonyms for the verbs “to think” and “to believe.”

5. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

We know the subjunctive isn’t the easiest (or most fun) subject to learn, but it’s necessary if you really want to learn Spanish. But grammar isn’t the only thing you can learn with us. At SpanishPod101.com, you’ll learn everything you need to become fluent in Spanish.

Did we answer all your questions about this topic? If not, feel free to reach out in the comments and we’ll do our best to help you out! 

If you felt like this was a bit too hard for you right now, remember that we have material for all levels, from absolute beginner to advanced. With us, you can learn grammar, vocabulary, and conversation skills—and you’ll be speaking Spanish in no time!

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Learn How to Say Goodbye in Spanish!

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You’ve already learned how to say hello in Spanish, so now it’s time to start saying goodbye.

Like in any language, there are many different ways you can say goodbye in Spanish depending on the context. In this article, we’ll teach you common Spanish goodbye phrases for any situation, from formal encounters to leaving a group of friends or ending a phone call. By the end, you’ll be able to recognize many different Spanish goodbyes when you hear them, and understand how to use them yourself to sound more like a native speaker!

    → In addition to this guide, we have a series of activities on SpanishPod101.com for you, so you can put all of this new knowledge into practice.
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Spanish Goodbye Phrases for Formal and Informal Situations
  2. When to Use Nos vemos (“See you soon”)
  3. Common Ways to Say Goodbye Before a Long Trip
  4. How to Say Goodbye When You’re in a Hurry
  5. Have a Nice Day
  6. Keep in Touch
  7. Saying Goodbye from a Distance
  8. Other Cool Ways to Say Goodbye in Spanish
  9. Goodbye Idioms in Spanish
  10. In Conclusion…

1. Spanish Goodbye Phrases for Formal and Informal Situations

A Woman Saying Goodbye with a Hand

The most common word to say “goodbye” in Spanish is adiós, but there are several other options depending on the situation. In particular, the way we say goodbye tends to vary based on how formal or informal the context is.

In English, saying “goodbye” is less formal than wishing someone “farewell,” and the same thing happens in Spanish. While you might say adiós to your friends or acquaintances, this would likely be frowned upon in the context of a formal meeting or job interview.

So what would a more proper Spanish goodbye sound like? 

A- Formal Farewells

  • Hasta luego. / “See you later.”

This is a more cordial and respectful way to say goodbye to strangers, people in authority, or coworkers you don’t know very well.

  • Que esté(s) muy bien. / Literally: “That you will be very well.”

This is a respectful, but slightly more intimate, way to say goodbye to neighbors, acquaintances, friends, colleagues, and strangers. Additionally, you can use this goodbye phrase in both formal and informal contexts.

  • Que tengas un buen día. / “Have a good day.”

This phrase is typically used in the morning, specifically when you don’t plan on speaking to the other party for the rest of the day. It’s a cordial but familiar way to say goodbye when ending a conversation with family or friends, or when leaving a(n):

  • Office
  • Bank
  • Supermarket
  • Store

B- Informal Farewells 

There are two very common Spanish goodbye words that you can use with close friends and family members.

  • Adiós. / “Bye.”

You can say this to friends, family, or close coworkers at any time of day. It’s used both in Spain and in Latin America. 

  • Chao. / “Bye bye.”

As you probably know, this one comes from the Italian word ciao. It’s used in a lot of places in Europe and in Latin America.

2. When to Use Nos vemos (“See you soon”)

Before we go any further, let’s talk about the various ways of saying nos vemos (“see you soon”) in different situations.

Saying Goodbye to a Group of Friends

This is a very common phrase in Spanish, and it’s used informally with friends and family to indicate that you’ll be seeing each other again.

Examples:

  • Hasta luego. / “See you soon.”

This is a more casual and polite way to say goodbye. It’s used to indicate that you’ll meet at a certain time: In the afternoon, tomorrow, next week, another day, etc. In the capital of Spain, Madrid, it’s common to say Hasta luego instead of Adiós, even if you’re not going to see each other again anytime soon.

  • Nos vemos. / “See you.”

This one is very similar to Hasta luego, only more informal and reserved for close friends and acquaintances. It’s an open farewell because it doesn’t specify when you’ll see each other again. 

  • Hasta la vista. / “So long.”

This one is even more informal, and it’s only used between really close friends when they’re unsure of when their next meeting will be.

  • Hasta la próxima. / “Until next time.”

This one is similar to “see you,” but it’s a little more polite. You can say it to friends, acquaintances, or strangers. It’s used to indicate that you’ll see each other another time: tomorrow, in a few weeks, in another casual meeting, next month, etc. 

3. Common Ways to Say Goodbye Before a Long Trip

Most Common Goodbyes

That moment when you or a loved one is about to board a plane, train, or bus can be very emotional. Travel often leads to more loving and meaningful goodbyes, regardless of how far away that person is going or how long they’ll be gone. And for each unique situation, there are several ways you could tell your loved one goodbye.

Below are just a few examples of how you can wish a loved one goodbye during those emotional last moments before they leave.

  • Adiós. / “Goodbye.”

This is the most popular way to say goodbye in the Spanish language, and the most informal.

  • Cuídate mucho. / “Take it easy.”

This phrase expresses your care for the other person, and asks them to take care while they’re away. On many occasions, adiós will be accompanied by cuídate mucho.

  • Que te vaya bien. / “Good luck.”

There’s no direct translation for this phrase, but in English, it would be like “Have a good time.” It’s a more familiar way to wish someone well on their trip.

  • Mucha suerte. / “Good luck.”

This is similar to que te vaya bien. It’s a cordial way of wishing friends, family, colleagues, or acquaintances the best on their trip. 

  • Pórtate bien. / “Be nice.”

This is the literal translation of “Behave well.” Native Spanish-speakers often say this to children who are going on a trip.

  • Te echaré de menos. / “I will miss you.”

You can use this to say goodbye to your loved ones: parents, children, brothers, partners, best friends. It’s usually accompanied by a strong hug.

  • Nos vemos pronto. / “See you soon.”

This is an informal and close way to say goodbye to family, friends, or colleagues to indicate that you’ll see each other again in the near future.

  • Buen viaje. / “Good trip.”

Like in English, this is a cordial way to say goodbye to anyone and wish them success on their trip.

 4. How to Say Goodbye When You’re in a Hurry

Running Over

In this section, I’ll show you how to say goodbye in Spanish when you need to leave in a hurry. You may notice while reading that some of the expressions, when translated, are similar to those you would use in English. By the time you finish reading through these, you should have little problem leaving a party, dinner, or meeting before everyone else! 

A- Informal 

  • Adiós, tengo prisa. / “Bye, I’m in a hurry.”

You can use this phrase with friends and family when you need to leave quickly. 

  • Estoy de afán. Or: Tengo prisa. / “I’m in a hurry.”

Tengo afán is the same as Tengo prisa. The only difference is that the first one is used in Latin American countries and the second one in Spain. It’s an informal phrase you can use when speaking to people you’re close to. 

  • Tengo que correr. Or: Tengo que volar. / “I have to run.” Or: “I have to fly.” (Literal translation)

This is a colloquial way to say goodbye when you’re in a hurry and can’t stay any longer. Tengo que volar is very common in countries like Colombia.

  • Me tengo que ir. / “I have to go.”

You can use this informal expression with friends and family, much like how you would use it in English.

  • ¡Es tarde, tengo que irme! / “It’s late, I’d better get / be going!”

This phrase goes a step farther by explaining why you need to leave: it’s late. 

  • Me voy. / “I’m off.” Or “I’m leaving.”

This is another informal way to say that you’re leaving. You can soften it a bit by explaining your motives first. For example: Bueno, me voy, tengo un día ocupado mañana. In English, this would be: “Anyway, I’m off: I have a busy day tomorrow.” 

B- Formal

  • Encantado/Encantada de verle de nuevo, espero que otro día podamos hablar con más tiempo!
    “It was nice to see you again, hope to catch up soon!”

Just like in English, this is a cordial way to say goodbye to someone in more formal situations. It indicates that it was pleasant to see him/her and that you hope to meet with them again.

  • Adiós, espero verte pronto. / “I hope to see you soon. Bye.”

This is a close and warm way to say goodbye to someone whose presence you enjoy, indicating that it would be nice to see him/her again.

5. Have a Nice Day

“Have a nice day!” 

I’m betting you say this to someone just about every day. Like in English, this cordial way to say goodbye is also used in Spanish after a short chat with a neighbor, a friend, or even a stranger.

Greeting to Neighbors

Here are some examples of when or how you might use this phrase:

  • In the morning

Imagine you have a short conversation with your neighbor early in the morning. To end the conversation, you may want to wish them a nice rest of their day. 

  • When greeting someone for the first time

If you run into a friend or coworker early in the morning, they’ll definitely appreciate it if you wish them a nice day.

  • When you’re with strangers or colleagues

If you’ve started talking with someone at the store, bank, or library, wishing them a nice day is a polite way to end the conversation. 

  • “Have a good day.” / Que te vaya bien

This phrase literally translates as “May it go well to you.” This is a good way to wish friends or family well in their upcoming activities for the day. 

In countries like Colombia or in Barcelona, Spain, people may say: Que vaya bien. It literally means: “May it go well to.” It’s always appropriate to respond with gracias (“thank you”), and to return the wish, you can also say igualmente (“likewise”).

6. Keep in Touch

Here are some Spanish goodbye phrases you can use to let the other person know you want to keep in touch! 

  • Te veo al rato. Or: Te veo luego. / “I’ll see you in a bit.”
  • Te veo después. / “Catch you later.” Or: “See you later.”
  • Te veo pronto. / “See you soon.” (nearby)
  • Seguimos en contacto. / “Keep in touch.” (formal)
  • Hasta la próxima. / “Until next time.”
  • Hasta pronto. / “See you soon.” (formal)

Note: In Spain, you may also hear the phrase hasta ahora which literally means “until now.” This expression is very typical of the country and is said to anyone, regardless of whether they’ll see each other again or not.

7. Saying Goodbye from a Distance

Our communication revolves around the internet and social networks, both of which have also changed the way in which we talk to each other. For example, thanks to emoticons and emojis, language is much more universal and less limited.

It’s fun, right? 

But it’s cooler to be able to express yourself with confidence and sound like a native. That’s why I’m going to leave you with some of the most commonly used expressions for saying goodbye in Spanish from a distance.

A- Over the Phone

  • Adiós. / “Bye.”
  • Besos. / “Kisses.” Or: Un beso. / “A kiss.”
  • Hablamos. / Translated literally, it means “We talk,” but it really means “Keep in touch.”

B- By Mail

i. Formal 

Here are some phrases you can use if the message is work-related or otherwise formal in nature.

  • Espero su respuesta.
    “I look forward to hearing from you.”
  • Cualquier duda, no dude en contactarme.
    “If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.”
  • Saludos cordiales.
    “Best regards.”
  • Seguimos en contacto.
    “Keep in touch.”

ii. Informal 

And here are phrases to use if you’re contacting someone about a personal topic, such as to give an announcement or to wish then congratulations. 

  • Mis mejores deseos.
    “Best wishes.”
  • Saludos.
    “Cheers.”

C- Text Messages

  • Adiós.
    “Bye.”
  • Hablamos luego.
    “Let’s talk later.”

D- Chat

This is the most popular way to communicate with people. Although it’s more common to use with relatives, there are some cases where you might be chatting with a stranger. Here are some good expressions you can use:

  • Nos vemos.
    “See you later.”
  • Adiós.
    “Bye.”
  • Besos.
    “Kisses.”
  • Cuídate.
    “Take care.”
  • Chao.
    “Bye.”

If the context is a bit more formal:

  • Feliz día. / Feliz noche.
    “Have a good day.” / “Have a good night.”
  • Seguimos en contacto.
    “Keep in touch.”

8. Other Cool Ways to Say Goodbye in Spanish

Some countries use very cultural expressions to say thank you and goodbye, especially in work-related environments:

  • Gracias por trabajar duro. / “Thanks for working hard.”

This phrase is popular in Asian countries to acknowledge someone’s hard work.

  • Buen viento y buena mar. / “Good wind and good sea.”

This one is popular in Latin America. It’s used to say goodbye when someone will be changing jobs soon or leaving the company.

9. Goodbye Idioms in Spanish

In Spain, although the official language is Spanish, there are different regions that use their own dialect. For example, they speak Gallego in Galicia and Catalonian in Catalan. Each country has particular ways of saying goodbye that you can only understand if you’re immersed in the culture. Let’s look at some of the most common examples:

  • Hasta luego Lucas.

This is a fun way to say goodbye in Spanish. It’s used informally and usually among friends.

  • Me piro. / Me abro.

The expression “Bueno, ¡me piro!” is widely used in Spain in very familiar environments and never with strangers. Me abro is the same, but it’s used more in countries like Colombia.

A Young Man
  • Ahí te quedas.

This literally translates to: “That is where you stay.” It indicates that you’re leaving the other person at the moment so you can go about doing other things. It’s used in the area of ​​Malaga in Spain and in some countries of Latin America, like Colombia.

  • Adéu.

This is a Catalan expression that’s normally used by the natives of Barcelona to say goodbye. It can be used with friends or strangers.

  • Ciao.

This is the official way to say goodbye in Italian, though many other languages ​​have adopted this phrase.

  • Ahueco el ala.

This one is a very colloquial way of saying goodbye or telling someone to leave. Its literal English translation is: “I cup the wing,” which, as it turns out, doesn’t make much sense. But in the local language, it really means something like “I’m off.”

Ahueco el ala is used in Spain, Colombia, and Mexico. Keep in mind that it should only be used with people you know well, and never with strangers.

10. In Conclusion…

In this guide, you’ve learned the most common ways to say goodbye in Spanish, from casual expressions to more formal ones. In addition, you saw several idioms from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries; this will certainly help you immerse yourself in the culture! 

Do you feel ready to continue your journey of language exploration? Remember that at SpanishPod101.com, you’ll find many more lessons like this one to keep your vocabulary fresh and your grammar knowledge on-point!

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Is Spanish Hard to Learn, and Should You Start Learning?

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There are many reasons why you should learn Spanish, and truth be told, everyone who’s looking to learn has their own special reason. Some learners might want to move to a Spanish-speaking country, while others might have a Spanish-speaking significant other. Some learners might just like the language, while others think that it’s a useful language to learn. And it is! In fact, Spanish is one of the most useful languages to learn in the world. 

But is Spanish hard to learn, as well? 

Well, it has the second-largest number of native speakers (after Mandarin Chinese) and it’s the fourth most-spoken language overall. Anyone who’s able to speak at least two of the most-spoken languages in the world already has a huge advantage compared to millions and millions of people. Have we convinced you yet?

Any reason you have for wanting to learn Spanish, or any other language you might be interested in, are valid. Once you start, we’re all in this together. But before you do, we’re sure you still want us to answer a few more questions about why Spanish is hard for some learners (and what things about it aren’t so bad). 

Here we go!

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  1. So, is it Hard to Learn Spanish?
  2. What are the Hardest and Easiest Parts of Learning Spanish?
  3. I Want to Learn Spanish. Where Should I Start?
  4. What Advice Would You Give to a New Spanish Learner?
  5. Why is SpanishPod101.com Great for Learning Spanish?

1. So, is it Hard to Learn Spanish?

This is a question you’ve probably asked before while deciding whether to start learning Spanish. Maybe you’ve asked someone you know who’s learned the language, or a native Spanish-speaker, or even the Internet. In fact, that’s probably how you got to this article! It’s not an easy question to answer, because there are some factors you need to consider here. Let’s take a look at the main factor.

If you already speak another Romance language, such as French or Italian, you’ll already be familiar with the structures of the language and a lot of the vocabulary, which will make things much easier for you. This doesn’t mean that someone whose native language is Portuguese, for instance, will be able to learn Spanish immediately. But it will definitely be easier than it would be for someone who has never been around languages that are so close to Spanish.

For example, the word casa (“house”) in Spanish is also casa in both Portuguese and Italian. This is a phenomenon you’ll find going on with many other words, too! However, even though French is also a Romance language, it actually uses a very different word (maison) for “house.” Other words, nevertheless, will be the same or very similar. So there’s a bit of everything, really! 

But if your native language isn’t a Romance language, there’s no need to worry, because Spanish is still not counted among the most difficult languages. Just take a quick look at this article titled “The 20 Most Difficult Languages in the World to Learn.” You’ll notice that Spanish is not on it. That’s good news, isn’t it?

In conclusion, to answer the question we originally asked: No, it’s not hard to learn Spanish. Just like everything else in life, it will have some difficulties. But overall, it’s not that hard and anyone can learn it, no matter their native language, age, or any other factor that you’ve been told might affect your ability to learn a second language. Yay!

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2. What are the Hardest and Easiest Parts of Learning Spanish?

The answer to this question depends on who you ask and what your mother tongue is, but we’re pretty sure we can give you the type of answer you’re looking for. Here, we’ll cover what makes Spanish hard to learn as well as things that aren’t so bad for most students! 

A- Verbs

Every language, like it or not, has some hard parts. In this case, we believe that the hardest part of learning Spanish is the verbs, unless your native tongue is another Romance language with a similar number of conjugations. Spanish verbs are more complicated than verbs in English, because English doesn’t have as many conjugations.

The topic of ser and estar, two of the main Spanish verbs, is a particularly tough one. But lucky for you, we have the perfect article for that, as well as articles for many other difficult topics! This isn’t something you’ll have to worry about at the beginning of your Spanish learning, but it’s good to keep in mind for future reference.

Kid Struggling with Homework

B- Pronunciation

There are many easy aspects of learning Spanish, we think. For example, pronunciation, though it might seem tricky at first, is easy once you understand all the sounds. If you follow the rules, you know there aren’t going to be any surprises. We pronounce everything the way it’s spelled, with a couple of rare exceptions, such as not pronouncing the letter u in the combinations que, qui, gue, and gui (like in the English word “guitar”).

Spanish has a total of five vowel sounds, which is heavenly compared to the ridiculous number of vowel sounds in English. In this sense, Spanish likes to keep it simple. 

C- Vocabulary

Even though English isn’t a Romance language, there are thousands of words that sound very similar and that you’ll be able to identify immediately. Here are some examples:

  • Example: elefante
  • Translation: “elephant”
  • Example: invitación
  • Translation: “invitation”
  • Example: memoria 
  • Translation: “memory”

As you can see, despite the slight differences in spelling, you can immediately understand the meaning of these words in Spanish. There are also words that are spelled identically in both languages (idea, hotel, festival…). In most cases, the pronunciation won’t be exactly the same, but it sure does make the learning process a little smoother! 

D- False Friends

Be careful about false friends, though! False friends are words that also sound very similar, but have different meanings. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

  • Example: constipado
  • Translation: “to have a cold”

But you might have thought of a different word:

  • Example: estreñido
  • Translation: “constipated”

And now let’s look at a different pair from the opposite perspective. You might want to be careful whenever you say you’re embarrassed by something:

  • Example: embarazada
  • Translation: “pregnant”

The word you actually want to use is: 

  • Example: avergonzado/a
  • Translation: “embarrassed”

Keep in mind that most false friends won’t be as surprising as these! We selected the most shocking ones, but they’re exceptions. 

3. I Want to Learn Spanish. Where Should I Start?

We know that the first stages of learning a language can be overwhelming. There are many different ways to go about starting your language-learning journey, and it’s important to find the best one for you. We recommend starting with the basics. Before trying to learn too much at once, learn how to say “hello” and a few more basic words and phrases.

Beginning of a Race

Usually, one of the first lessons when you learn a new language is how to introduce yourself and how to ask another person to introduce themselves. You normally don’t start learning complicated grammar rules straight away. Instead, the idea is to build your skills up slowly.

4. What Advice Would You Give to a New Spanish Learner?

If you’ve just decided to start learning Spanish, welcome! You’re in for a treat. 

It won’t always be an easy ride, and some days you might find yourself getting stuck in a particular aspect of the language, but don’t give up! If there’s something you’re struggling with, ask us questions, do more research, or maybe move on to a different aspect for a while. Sometimes, a break is all you need to see things more clearly.

And remember: You won’t get anywhere without practicing! We’re sorry, we also wish we could learn it just like that, but any language requires practice to become fluent! There are many ways you can practice Spanish online, but if you can, we would recommend that you visit Spain and make some local friends.

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5. Why is SpanishPod101.com Great for Learning Spanish?

At SpanishPod101.com, you’ll find everything you need to learn Spanish, from beginner lessons to more advanced ones. We have tons of free content for you to use, and we have so much more to offer if you upgrade your account to one of our Premium plans

If you upgrade your plan, you’ll have access to hundreds of useful lessons, videos, quizzes, and all of the vocabulary and grammar tools you need to become fluent in Spanish. In our most complete plan, Premium PLUS, you’ll even have access to a teacher who will be there just for you, so your program will be completely personalized. This means that if you ever have doubts or questions, you’ll be able to get help whenever you need it. 

Speaking of questions, feel free to drop us a comment with any questions or concerns you have about learning Spanish. We’ll be glad to help you out!

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