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Archive for the 'Spanish Phrases' Category

Advanced Spanish Phrases for Studying and Working

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Learning a language, whether in the classroom or on your own, is a rewarding and fun experience. It allows you to watch movies and understand lyrics in another language, and it can even help you make new friends. When you reach an advanced level, however, a world of opportunities opens.

If you’re dreaming of an academic or professional career in Spain or another Spanish-speaking country, you’re already aware that it can be the pathway to a brilliant future. More than 500 million people around the planet speak the language—just imagine the possibilities! 

Need a little help getting there? Here are some advanced Spanish phrases that can put you on track. Also, stick around for some bonus everyday Spanish idioms that will make you sound like a native. Enjoy!

A Man in a Suit and a Woman Shaking Hands in an Office

Here’s to a brilliant career doing business in Spanish!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Useful Phrases for Academic Writing
  2. Power Phrases for Your Cover Letter
  3. Smart Phrases for Business and Meetings
  4. Bonus: Advanced Idioms, Sayings, and Proverbs for Everyday Usage
  5. Final Thoughts

1. Useful Phrases for Academic Writing

Academic writing is one of the most formal ways to express yourself. Once you’ve reached an advanced level in Spanish, you’ll be able to produce fluid and coherent texts for the academic sphere. Here are some advanced Spanish phrases for essays that will make your work look great:

En este ensayo… / En esta redacción… “In this essay…” 
In Spanish, “essay” can be translated as either ensayo or redacción, the latter being less formal and more commonly used in school. Ensayo, then, is often used in higher education and research.
  • En este ensayo, voy a demostrar la existencia de sirenas en el mar Mediterráneo. 
    “In this essay, I’m going to prove the existence of mermaids in the Mediterranean Sea.”

En referencia a… / En cuanto a… 
“In reference to…”
  • En cuanto a las teorías de Isaac Newton, la manzana es una fruta importante en la ciencia.
    “In reference to Isaac Newton’s theories, the apple is an important fruit in science.”

De acuerdo con… / Según… 
“According to…”
You can use either of these two expressions when citing other authors in your work.
  • Según Miguel de Cervantes, el Quijote se volvió loco porque leía muchas novelas. 
    “According to Miguel de Cervantes, Quixote went mad because he read too many novels.”

En mi opinión… / Según mi punto de vista… / A mi parecer… 
“In my opinion…”
Great academic writing does not prohibit you from expressing your mind on the matter. However, don’t forget to make it clear when a statement is your own opinion by including these useful expressions.
  • A mi parecer, España tiene una buena calidad de vida. 
    “In my opinion, Spain has a good quality of life.”

Por una parte… “On the one hand…”
  • Por una parte, la tortilla española es un plato típico. 
    “On the one hand, the Spanish omelet is a typical dish.”

Por otra parte… 
“On the other hand…”
  • Por otra parte, la tortilla también es muy nutritiva. 
    “On the other hand, the omelet is also very nutritious.”

Por el contrario… 
“On the contrary…”
  • Por el contrario, las patatas fritas no son muy sanas. 
    “On the contrary, fries are not very healthy.”

Tal y como está indicado… 
“As stated…”
To better structure your essay, it’s important to use expressions that point out the data or argument you think is most relevant. You can use variations of the expression above, such as:

Tal y como demuestran los datos… (“As the data show…”) 
Tal y como ha sido previamente mencionado… (“As it has been previously mentioned…”)
  • Tal y como está indicado en el gráfico 1, las ganas de celebrar la Navidad crecen cada año.
    “As stated in Chart 1, the desire to celebrate Christmas grows every year.”

Cabe destacar que… 
“It should be noted that…”
  • Cabe destacar que el Papa Francisco es originario de Argentina. 
    “It should be noted that Pope Francis is from Argentina.”

En resumen… 
“To sum up…”
  • En resumen, todas las canciones de Shakira hablan de amor. 
    “To sum up, all of Shakira’s songs talk about love.”

En conclusión… 
“In conclusion…”
  • En conclusión, hacer yoga por la mañana es mejor que por la noche. 
    “In conclusion, doing yoga in the morning is better than at night.”

    ➜ Would you like additional words and phrases to use in your essays and in the classroom? Then check out the lesson Academia on SpanishPod101.com!

A Young Woman Writing in a Notebook in Front of a Laptop

Ace your essay in Spanish!

2. Power Phrases for Your Cover Letter

In Spain, a cover letter goes a long way when applying for a job. Now that so many people have a good education and are well-experienced, showing who you really are in a few paragraphs can turn the tables in your favor. However, try to maintain a formal structure and use sophisticated vocabulary with these advanced Spanish phrases:

Entre mis competencias, cabe destacar… 
“Among my competencies, it should be noted…”

Cuento con una dilatada experiencia en… 
“I have extensive experience in…”

Uno de mis puntos fuertes es…
“One of my main strong points is…”
A very common question in Spanish job interviews is: ¿Cuáles son tus puntos fuertes y cuáles son tus puntos débiles? (“Which are your strong points and weak points?”) Be prepared to give a good answer!

Trabajo bien bajo presión. 
“I work well under pressure.”
Trabajo bien… (“I work well…”) is a handy expression for any type of situation in the workplace.
  • Trabajo bien en equipo. → “I work well in a team.” / “I’m a team
  • Trabajo bien en grupos reducidos. → “I work well with small teams.”

Me especializo en el campo de… 
“I specialize in the field of…”

Estoy realmente interesado en esta oportunidad. 
“I’m really interested in this opportunity.”

Admiro la cultura de trabajo de su empresa. 
“I admire your company’s culture.”
There are different things you might admire about a company that you can pinpoint in an interview or in your cover letter:
  • Admiro la trayectoria de su empresa. → “I admire your company’s trajectory.”
  • Admiro los logros de su empresa. → “I admire your company’s achievements.”
  • Admiro el impacto de su empresa en el sector. → “I admire your company’s impact on the sector.”

Espero que les interese mi perfil. 
“I hope you’re interested in my profile.”

Estoy disponible para aclarar cualquier duda. 
“I’m available to clarify any doubts.”
Showing interest in continuing the conversation with your potential interviewer is always a good idea. 

An alternative phrase would be: No duden en contactarme para cualquier cuestión. (“Don’t hesitate contacting me for any inquiries.”)

Espero aprender más sobre su proyecto. 
“Looking forward to learning more about your project.”

    ➜ Are you looking for a job in Spain? Don’t miss this blog post from SpanishPod101, where we give you the best advice, insight, and tips.

A Young Woman Speaking to a Man during a Job Interview

A good cover letter can get you your dream interview.

3. Smart Phrases for Business and Meetings

The business world has its own expressions and slang. Learning how to properly communicate in the workplace can make all the difference when trying to succeed in business. With these advanced Spanish phrases, you’ll learn how to express yourself in a meeting and also how to address others in a professional manner.

Gracias por asistir a esta reunión. 
“Thank you for coming to this meeting.”
After the greetings, it’s polite to thank your coworkers, superiors, or clients for making time for the meeting. 

En mi presentación, hablaré de… 
“In my presentation, I will talk about…”

Me gustaría añadir que… 
“I’d like to add that…”

Cumpliremos todos los términos del acuerdo. 
“We’ll fulfill all the agreement’s terms.”

Nos estamos retrasando con este tema. 
“We’re lagging behind with this issue.”

Tenemos que cerrar este proyecto. 
“We have to come to a close with this project.”
In order to succeed with your business endeavors, it’s important to be assertive so that everyone is on the same page when talking about work.

Tu aportación es muy interesante. 
“Your insight is very interesting.”

Es una idea brillante. 
“It’s a brilliant idea.”
Encouraging words always go a long way, even in the business world. Another way to celebrate someone’s good ideas is by saying: ¡Qué buena idea! (“What a good idea!”) Further, you can congratulate them for a job well done with: ¡Buen trabajo!

¿Podrías resumir tu argumento? 
“Could you sum up your point?”

Gracias por su tiempo. 
“Thank you for your time.”

Te contestaré lo antes posible. 
“I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”

    ➜ Do you want to learn some more advanced phrases in Spanish for the workplace? Then visit the lesson Spanish Business Phrases on SpanishPod101.com!

A Group of Coworkers in a Business Meeting

Thank your coworkers for coming to your meeting!

4. Bonus: Advanced Idioms, Sayings, and Proverbs for Everyday Usage

Spanish idioms are very present in everyday conversations. Do you want to know what your teacher means when (s)he tells you to “put on the batteries”? Or maybe what the young people mean when they say “molar”?

Fear not! We’re here to help you master advanced Spanish phrases, idioms, and slang expressions.

Ponerse las pilas 
“To get your act together”
Literally: “To put on the batteries”
Si quiere aprobar el curso, tiene que ponerse las pilas.
“If he wants to pass his classes, he has to get his act together.”

¡Es la caña!
“He / She / It rocks!”
Literally: “It’s the cane!”
Marta me cae muy bien, ¡es la caña!
“I like Marta a lot. She rocks!”

Estar en las nubes 
“To be in the clouds”
Estás en las nubes, no has escuchado nada de lo que he dicho.
“You’re in the clouds; you haven’t listened to anything I’ve said.”

Hablar por los codos 
“To talk up a storm”
Literally: “To talk through the elbows”
Mi abuela nunca se calla, habla por los codos.
“My grandma never shuts up; she talks up a storm.”

Tirar la toalla 
“To throw in the towel”
Cuando vio que se complicaba el camino, tiró la toalla y se fue.
“When he saw that the path got complicated, he threw in the towel and left.”

Echar una mano 
“To give a hand”
Miguel me echó una mano para estudiar el temario.
“Miguel gave me a hand studying the syllabus.”

No me importa ni un pimiento 
“I don’t care at all”
Literally: “I care less than a pepper”
No me importan ni un pimiento sus excusas.
“I don’t care at all about her excuses.”

Dejar plantado 
“To stand (someone) up”
Su pareja le dejó plantado.
“His partner stood him up.”

En un abrir y cerrar de ojos 
“In a split second”
Literally: “In an opening and closing eyes time”
Me comí el pastel en un abrir y cerrar de ojos.
“I ate the cake in a split second.”

Otro gallo cantaría 
“Things would be different”
Literally: “Another rooster would sing”
Si hubieras estudiado, otro gallo cantaría.
“If you had studied, things would be different.”

Tener mala leche 
“To be nasty”
Literally: “To have bad milk”
Antonia me da miedo, tiene muy mala leche.
“Antonia frightens me; she’s very nasty.”

Molar mucho 
“To be cool”
¡Esta fiesta mola mucho!
“This party is very cool!”

    ➜ Spanish is a rich language, and idioms play an important role in how we communicate each day. Don’t miss the lesson Spanish Idioms on SpanishPod101.com to learn more.

A Rooster

Otro gallo cantaría… (“Things would be very different…”)

5. Final Thoughts

In this guide to advanced Spanish phrases, you learned a variety of expressions that will help you improve your speaking and writing for the academic and business worlds. You even picked up several Spanish idioms! 

Studying and working in a Spanish-speaking country is possible for an advanced student such as yourself. However, it’s best to keep on learning and to memorize even more advanced phrases in Spanish. You can continue your studies with the variety of advanced Spanish lessons available on SpanishPod101.com, each one designed with both progress and fun in mind! In fact, we have advanced pathways for different varieties of Spanish: 

And don’t forget to check out the free vocabulary lists and other useful tools on SpanishPod101.com. They will make your path to mastery both fun and convenient. Create your free lifetime account to get started! 

¡Que te diviertas! (Have fun!)

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Intermediate Spanish Phrases for Everyday Conversations

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Once you’ve mastered the basics of a language, you’re ready to move on to the next level and start handling more complex interactions. Learning intermediate Spanish phrases will allow you to have everyday conversations, get around with confidence in a Spanish-speaking environment, and make new friends!

However, even if you’ve studied the grammar and memorized long vocabulary lists, sometimes it’s difficult to actually put your skills to the test. Have you ever found yourself having a conversation in Spanish and going completely blank, forgetting every lesson you’ve learned? If the answer is yes, don’t worry. SpanishPod101 is here to help.

In this guide, you’ll find a list of intermediate Spanish phrases for everyday conversations. Using these structures and expressions will help you navigate conversations about what you did last weekend, react to shocking information, and even give good restaurant recommendations.

A Group of Four Friends Having Coffee Beverages Together and Chatting

Learn how to invite new friends to brunch!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Talking About Past Events
  2. Making and Changing Plans
  3. Explaining and Listing Reasons
  4. Making Recommendations and Complaints
  5. Reaction Phrases for Everyday Conversations
  6. Etiquette Phrases for Social and Business Settings
  7. Final Thoughts

1. Talking About Past Events

Meeting new people often involves talking about past events. Whether you’re just making some chitchat about the weekend or talking about your childhood memories, what you did in the past will surely be a topic of conversation.

To talk about the past, of course, it’s crucial that you learn how to use the past tenses. You should quickly get the hang of it, though, as we use the preterit tense very often in Spanish. 

These intermediate Spanish phrases will help you kickstart a conversation about past events:

Llegué a España el mes pasado.I arrived in Spain last month.

El fin de semana pasado lo pasé genial.Last weekend, I had so much fun.
The Spanish expression pasarlo bien (or pasarlo genial) is a common way to say that you had a great time at a past event.

If you wanted to say you didn’t have a good time, then you would just have to change bien or genial to mal or one of its synonyms.
  • Cuando tuve la gripe lo pasé muy mal.
    → When I had the flu, I had a very hard time.

Ayer por la noche no pude dormir.Last night, I couldn’t sleep.
Crecí en un pueblo muy pequeño.I grew up in a very small town.
María y yo nos conocimos en Madrid.María and I met in Madrid.

Terminé la carrera hace dos años.I finished my degree two years ago.
Remember that the Spanish word carrera means both “professional career” and “educational degree.” It’s actually one of the most common false friends for native Spanish speakers!

Oh, and it also means “race” in the context of sports!

Cuando era joven tenía una moto roja.When I was young, I had a red motorcycle.
Mi padre me enseñó a tocar el piano.My father taught me how to play the piano.

    ➜ SpanishPod101’s verb conjugation series is the perfect tool for mastering verb tenses in Spanish. Don’t miss it!

Someone Lugging a Suitcase Behind Them at an Airport

Llegué a España el mes pasado. (“I arrived in Spain last month.”)

2. Making and Changing Plans

Once you’ve started to make new friends with your newly acquired intermediate Spanish skills, it’s time to make plans with them. 

Apart from learning the future tense, it’s important that you learn to use some courtesy expressions; this will help you ask politely about your friends’ availability or their interest in planning things together. These expressions would also be helpful in a business environment or even when making an appointment with the doctor.

Here are some common phrases in intermediate Spanish to get you started:

¿Qué planes tienes este fin de semana?What are your plans for the weekend?
Podríamos cenar comida mexicana.We could have Mexican food for dinner.

Espero que puedas venir a mi fiesta.I hope you can make it to my party.
This is a polite expression you can use when you invite someone to an event. It’s a way to express that you really want them to be there.

Here’s an example:
  • El viernes estrenamos mi nueva película. Espero que puedas venir, ¡me encantaría verte! 
    → Next Friday is the preview of my new film. I hope you can make it; I’d love to see you!

¿Quieres venir conmigo a la playa?Do you want to come with me to the beach?
Necesito cambiar la hora de la visita.I need to change the appointment time.
¿Podrás llegar a tiempo a la reunión?Will you make it on time for the meeting?
Llámame mañana por la tarde para hablarlo.Call me tomorrow afternoon to discuss it.

    ➜ If you want to learn more about making plans in Spanish, check out this useful lesson on SpanishPod101.com.

3. Explaining and Listing Reasons

If you want to start having more interesting conversations, a big step forward is learning to express your opinions and the motivations behind your actions. This way, once you’ve described the things you’ve done, you can also explain why so the other party can understand and get to know you better.

Don’t forget that, when dealing with a whole new language and culture, you’re probably going to make some errores de novato (“beginner mistakes”). So if a Spanish person ever tells you that you’re putting too much water into the paella, you can always try to explain yourself. 

Below are a few intermediate Spanish words and phrases you can use to give reasons and explain your actions.

Pensé que sería buena idea. I thought it’d be a good idea.
Creo que deberíamos hacerlo.I think we should do it.

En mi opinión, he hecho lo correcto.In my opinion, I did the right thing.
There are several other ways to state your opinion in everyday Spanish:
  • Opino que… → I think that… / I believe that… 
  • Creo que… → I believe that… 
  • Pienso que… → I think that… 

Decidí probar tu recomendación.I decided to try what you recommended.

Lo escogí por tres razones: 
En primer lugar… 
En segundo lugar… 
Por último…
I chose it because of these three reasons:
First of all…
Secondly…
Last but not least…

A Large Pan of Paella

Pensé que sería buena idea poner más agua en la paella. 
(“I thought it’d be a good idea to put more water in the paella.”)

4. Making Recommendations and Complaints

When you learn a new language, you’re bound to discover a whole new world, sometimes even physically. Learning Spanish allows you to travel to beautiful places, including Spain and many Latin American countries. Once you know how to recommend the hottest spots in town (and how to advise your friends to avoid tourist scams), you’ll be one step closer to mastering everyday Spanish conversations!

Here are just a few useful Spanish phrases for intermediate learners who are ready to explore—and review—their new surroundings.

No te pierdas las vistas desde el castillo.Don’t miss the view from the castle.
Tienes que probar el salmorejo de mi abuela, es el mejor del mundo.You should eat my grandma’s salmorejo. It’s the best.
Nos encantó el hotel, te lo recomiendo.We loved the hotel; I recommend it.
No me gustó nada el museo.I didn’t like the museum at all.
Barcelona es muy bonita, pero es muy cara.Barcelona is very beautiful but very expensive.

¡Deberías aprender español!You should learn Spanish!
Of course, if you encourage a friend to start learning Spanish, don’t forget to show them all the amazing beginner resources at SpanishPod101.com

A Child with a Backpack Looking at a Picture in a Museum from Behind a Stanchion

No me gustó nada el museo. (“I didn’t like the museum at all.”)

5. Reaction Phrases for Everyday Conversations

Maybe, while you’re going through the intermediate Spanish phrases in this guide, you’re wondering: What about when it’s the other person who’s explaining something? How do I respond to them?

It’s common to freeze when a conversation doesn’t exactly follow the script we had memorized. But actually, that’s what makes it a real conversation!

These Spanish phrases for intermediate speakers will be useful for those times when you need to react to what someone else is saying:

1 – Great!

A: El fin de semana pasado lo pasé genial. – Last weekend, I had so much fun.
B: Qué bien, ¡me alegro por ti! – Great, I’m happy for you!

2 – Sorry.

A: Ayer por la noche no pude dormir. – Last night, I couldn’t sleep.
B: ¡No me digas! Cuanto lo siento. – You don’t say! I’m so sorry.

3 – Interesting.

A: Crecí en un pueblo muy pequeño. – I grew up in a very small town.
B: Qué interesante. – How interesting.

4 – I can’t believe it.

A: Cuando era joven tenía una moto roja. – When I was young, I had a red motorcycle.
B: ¿De verdad? No me lo puedo creer. – Really? I can’t believe it.

5 – Cool!

A: Mi padre me enseñó a tocar el piano. – My father taught me how to play the piano.
B: ¡Qué guay! – How cool!

Mind that guay is a very colloquial word. Other colloquial expressions that also mean “How cool!” include ¡Cómo mola! and ¡Qué pasada!


6. Etiquette Phrases for Social and Business Settings

Even though Spaniards are known to be pretty easygoing, they do value good manners and expect you to use the most common courtesy expressions. Of course, por favor (“please”) and gracias (“thank you”) go a long way, but it’s wise to learn some other intermediate Spanish phrases in order to work on your politeness.

Also, you’ll quickly realize that Spanish people love to be hosts and will try to make you feel at home all the time. It’s only fair that you learn the most common Spanish phrases for being polite so that you can do the same for them when they visit you!

Buen provecho.Enjoy your meal. / Bon appetit.

Perdona que te interrumpa. [Informal]

Perdone que le interrumpa. [Formal]
Sorry for the interruption.
Although both expressions are polite, the use of the formal version will always sound even more well-mannered.
    ➜ Are you still struggling with how and when to use formal Spanish? Don’t miss SpanishPod101’s lesson on the topic.

Bienvenido a mi hogar.

Bienvenido a mi casa.
Welcome to my home.
Siéntete como en casa.Make yourself at home.
Llámame si necesitas cualquier cosa.Call me if you need anything.
Bienvenido a mi hogar. / Bienvenido a mi casa.Welcome to my home.
Disfruta de tu estancia.Enjoy your stay.
Espero noticias tuyas.I hope to hear from you.

Saluda a tus padres de mi parte.Send my regards to your parents.
In Spain, it’s a courtesy to ask the person you’re talking to about their loved ones. 

When you say your goodbyes, you can take the opportunity to send them your regards. Another (less formal and more affectionate) way to do this is to send hugs or kisses on your behalf, similar to the English expression “Give them my love.”

A: ¿Cómo se encuentra tu mujer después de la operación? – How’s your wife doing after her surgery?
B: Ay, mucho mejor, ¡gracias! – Oh, she’s much better, thank you!
A: Por favor, dile que le mando un abrazo. – Please, tell her I send her a hug. 
B: Claro, ¡de tu parte! – Of course, on your behalf!

¡Que tengas buen viaje!Have a nice trip!

An Older Couple Greeting Family Inside Their Home

¡Bienvenidos a nuestro hogar! (“Welcome to our home!”)

7. Final Thoughts

In this guide, you have learned the most common Spanish phrases for intermediate speakers. These examples will help you ace your everyday conversations about past events, future plans, recommendations and complaints, and much more. They’ll also be useful for reacting to what someone else says and following Spanish etiquette.

If you want to take your Spanish learning journey further, don’t forget to check out SpanishPod101.com. We have plenty of free vocabulary lists to expand your intermediate Spanish vocabulary, as well as useful lessons for intermediate-level and upper intermediate-level students.

Happy learning!

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Basic Spanish Phrases for Beginners

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When you first start learning any language, the first few lessons can feel overwhelming. If Spanish grammar seems too challenging or vocabulary lists just aren’t for you, why don’t you start by picking up some simple Spanish phrases for beginners?

Fortunately, you’ll be able to handle the most basic interactions by learning just a few of these ready-to-go expressions and sentence patterns. Saying hello and goodbye, making small talk, ordering in a restaurant…it’s really not so complicated. You’ll see!

In this guide from SpanishPod101, you’ll find more than 50 easy Spanish phrases for beginners that’ll help you navigate a variety of situations using this beautiful language. 

A Man and a Woman Greeting with an Air Kiss

If you want to meet Spanish people, you’ll need to learn some 
basic phrases—and how to give two kisses!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Greetings and Self-introductions
  2. Courtesy Phrases & Social Expressions
  3. Dining & Shopping Phrases
  4. Asking for Help
  5. Final Thoughts

1. Greetings and Self-introductions

First things first, let’s start by learning beginner phrases in Spanish for greeting others and introducing oneself in a conversation. This is one of the most basic interactions in any language, and learning these expressions will help you start off on the right foot. You probably know the meaning of the word hola, so you’re already on your way to mastering greetings and self-introductions in Spanish!

Let’s start with the most common greetings:

Hola.Hello.
Buenos días.Good morning.

Buenas tardes.Good afternoon.
Strictly speaking, you should change buenos días to buenas tardes right after noon. 

However, you’ll be surprised to learn that many Spanish people will say buenos días for a couple more hours. This is because many people don’t consider it to be the afternoon until they’ve had lunch, which in Spain tends to be quite late!

Buenas noches.Good evening. / Goodnight.
Buenas noches is both a greeting and a farewell expression. Here are a couple of examples:
  • Buenas noches, ¿tienen mesa para dos? → “Good evening. Do you have a table for two?”

  • Nos vemos mañana. Que descanses, buenas noches. → “See you tomorrow. Sleep well, goodnight.”

As we’ve just seen, buenas noches is a common farewell expression. Here are some others:

Adiós.Bye.

Hasta luego.Bye. / See you later.
In some regions in Spain, hasta luego is even more common than adiós

Even though it literally means “until later,” Spanish people don’t necessarily mean that they’ll see the other person ever again. It can be a bit confusing sometimes!

Hasta pronto.See you soon.
Nos vemos.See you.
Que vaya bien.Wish you well. / Have a nice one.

Que tengas un buen día. 
[informal]

Que tenga un buen día. 
[formal]
Have a nice day.

Cuidate.Take care.

If you’re meeting someone for the first time, here are some useful Spanish phrases you can use to introduce yourself:

Me llamo…I’m…
Soy…I am…

Mi nombre es…My name is…
The three expressions above mean basically the same thing. However, Me llamo… is the most common one, and Mi nombre es… is the most formal one.
  • Encantada de conocerte, me llamo Julia. → “Nice to meet you, I’m Julia.”

  • Buenas tardes, señor. Mi nombre es Marcos. → “Good afternoon, sir. My name is Marcos.”

¿Cómo te llamas?What’s your name?

Encantado de conocerte.
[masculine]

Encantada de conocerte.
[feminine]
Nice to meet you.

Mucho gusto.Nice to meet you.
¿De dónde eres?Where are you from?
Soy de…I’m from…

A Woman Waving to Someone and Smiling

¿Cómo va?  (“How’s it going?”)

2. Courtesy Phrases & Social Expressions

Once you’ve gotten past the greetings and introductions, it’s important to keep the conversation alive (as long as you can, anyway!). In this section, you’ll learn the most basic Spanish phrases for beginners that will help you master polite conversations with native Spanish speakers.

Here are the most important courtesy phrases in Spanish:

Gracias.Thank you.
Muchas gracias.Thank you so much.
De nada.You’re welcome.
Por favor.Please.

Disculpa. 
[informal]

Disculpe. 
[formal]
Excuse me.

Perdón.Sorry.
Perdón can be used in various forms. If you want to directly appeal to the person you’re saying sorry to, you can say the informal version (perdona) or the formal one (perdone). These words can also be used as a way to say “excuse me.”

But if you’re apologizing for something really serious, you should say perdóname (“forgive me”).
  • Perdone, ¿me podría decir a qué hora abre el museo?  → “Excuse me, could you tell me at what time the museum opens?”

  • No debería haberte mentido, perdóname. → “I shouldn’t have lied to you; please forgive me.”

Lo siento.I’m sorry.
No te preocupes.Don’t worry.
No pasa nada.That’s okay.

To get a conversation flowing, you’ll need some additional phrases. Here are some useful small talk expressions to get you started:

¿Qué tal?How’s it going? / How are you doing?
¿Cómo estás?How are you?

¿Cómo va?How’s it going?
The three expressions above mean more-or-less the same thing, and they can be used in most conversations. However, each one has a slightly different shade. 

¿Qué tal? is a very generic expression that can be used as a greeting. You might be asking about how the other person is, asking about a situation, or maybe just greeting the other person without expecting any response.

¿Cómo estás? is also used mainly as a small talk phrase. You wouldn’t expect the other person to get too deep with their answer, unless it’s someone close to you or if you’re having an intimate conversation.

¿Cómo va? is even more casual and generic than the two expressions mentioned above. It can be used as a greeting, too.

¡Hola, Amanda! ¿Cómo va?
¿Qué tal, Jaime? Cuanto tiempo sin verte.
Es verdad. ¿Qué tal, te has recuperado de tu lesión?
Sí, mi pierna está mejor, gracias.

Hi, Amanda! How’s it going?
How are you doing, Jaime? Long time, no see.
That’s true. How are you? Did you recover from your injury?
Yes, my leg is better, thank you.


Estoy bien, gracias.I’m well, thank you.
Que te recuperes pronto.Get well soon.
Me alegro de verte.It is good to see you.

Saluda a … de mi parte.Say hello to … on my behalf.
In Spain, it’s polite to ask about the other person’s family or common acquaintances. Before finishing the conversation, you can tell him/her to give them your best.
  • Me he alegrado de verte. Saluda a tus padres de mi parte. ¡Adiós! → “It was good to see you. Say hello to your parents on my behalf.”

    → Still confused about how to be polite in Spanish? Learn how to avoid impoliteness (and other mistakes) by reading through our guide!
Someone with a Cast on Their Foot and Leg

Que te recuperes pronto. (“Get well soon!”)

3. Dining & Shopping Phrases

If you travel to Spain, dining out and popping into the local shops will give you some great opportunities to practice your Spanish. If you go to a restaurant, it’ll be important to know how to politely ask for a table or order some food; in shops, you’ll need to know how much the item you like costs!

Here are some simple Spanish phrases for beginners that will be very useful to you:

¿Podría ayudarme, por favor?Could you help me, please?
¿Cuánto cuesta?How much is it?
¿Cuánto es?How much is it?
¿Puedo pagar con tarjeta?Can I pay with a credit card?
¿Puedo pagar con efectivo?Can I pay with cash?

¿Tienen mesa para … personas?Do you have a table for … people?
When you go to a restaurant with a party of people, it’s polite to ask if they have room for all of you. 

Alternatively, you could say: Querría una mesa para … personas. (“I’d like a table for … people.”)

Tengo una mesa reservada.I have a reservation.
Querría pedir…I’d like to order…
No como…I don’t eat…

Soy vegetariano / vegano. 
[masculine]

Soy vegetariana / vegana. 
[feminine]
I’m a vegetarian / vegan.
Historically, the gastronomy of many Spanish regions has been very meat-oriented. Nowadays, things are changing, and vegetarianism and veganism are increasingly popular in Spain. This means that there are now more vegetarian and vegan options in restaurants than were previously available. 

However, don’t forget to say soy vegetariano or soy vegano before ordering your food if you don’t want to find unexpected chorizo (Spanish sausage) or jamón (ham) on your plate!

A Waiter Carrying Three Plates of Salad

Querría pedir la ensalada. (“I’d like to order a salad.”)

4. Asking for Help

Some of the most common situations where you might have to rely on Spanish are, unfortunately, those where you’re in need of assistance. If you’re lost or feeling sick, having these simple Spanish phrases for beginners at hand will be crucial. 

¿Hablas inglés?Do you speak English?
No te entiendo, lo siento.I don’t understand you, I’m sorry.
No hablo muy bien el español.I don’t speak Spanish properly.
¿Cómo se dice … en español?How do you say … in Spanish?
¿Dónde está…?Where is…?
¿Cómo puedo llegar a…?How can I get to…?
¡Ayuda!Help!
¡Socorro!Help!
Necesito un médico.I need a doctor.
Llamad a una ambulancia.Call an ambulance.


A Tourist Asking Someone for Directions while They Both Examine a Map

¿Cómo puedo llegar a la estación? (“How can I get to the station?”)

5. Final Thoughts

In this guide to basic Spanish phrases for beginners, you’ve learned more than 50 of the most common Spanish expressions for different contexts. It’ll be a useful tool for you as you navigate your very first conversations in Spanish, and you can always refer back to it even as you progress in your studies. 

If you want to take your Spanish-learning journey further, don’t forget to check out SpanishPod101.com. We have plenty of free vocabulary lists to expand your Spanish vocabulary, as well as useful lessons for every level. We recommend creating your free lifetime account today and getting started with our Level 1 Spanish pathway.

Good luck!

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The Advanced Spanish Words You Definitely Need

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Speaking Spanish in casual conversations is a rewarding experience. Sure, native Spanish speakers converse at a really fast pace. But, if you ask them to slow down, they will—and they will probably try to help you understand and be part of the conversation.

At the end of the day, there’s a reason why Spanish-speaking countries are said to have some of the friendliest people!

But what happens when, instead of an informal chat over some wine and tapas, you have to face a doctor’s appointment or a super important business meeting? Formal situations will call for advanced Spanish words, which might be scary for those who are still learning.

Namely, you’ll have to step up your game in order to succeed in conversations related to higher education, business, the law, and even medicine. 

Don’t worry, though! You can be prepared for all those kinds of situations! SpanishPod101 is here to help with this guide to the advanced Spanish words you’ll need to thrive in a variety of contexts. Also, stick around for some bonus expressions that will help you ace your next Spanish essay.

¡Que lo disfrutes! (“Enjoy!”)

A Woman Interviewing for a Job

Do business in Spanish like a pro!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Advanced Academic Words
  2. Advanced Business Words
  3. Advanced Medical Words
  4. Advanced Legal Words
  5. Bonus: Alternative Words for Acing a Spanish Essay
  6. Final Thoughts

1. Advanced Academic Words

One of the reasons people move to Spain is to study, whether that means studying the Spanish language itself or pursuing another subject of interest. However, one must keep in mind that the academic environment is much more formal than everyday Spanish life. 

Especially if you have to write essays, compose a thesis, or discuss a topic in class, you’ll need to master some advanced Spanish vocabulary related to the academic world. Of course, if you forget some of the most common classroom phrases in Spanish, you can always head over to SpanishPod101.com to review them!

Here you’ll find the essential words related to studies and training, so you’ll be prepared for everything from exams to seminars. We have also included a section on advanced Spanish words that’ll help you defend your work or thesis.

You’ll notice that many words are similar to their English counterparts, as formal or niche words tend to evolve less in languages. This means you’re one step ahead in mastering advanced Spanish!

1 – Studies and Training

EstudiosStudies

FormaciónTraining / Studies
Formación is a common word used to describe one’s academic curriculum in formal situations (i.e., a job interview). It’s more generic than estudios, as it applies to both formal and informal training/education.
  • Se formó como mecánico pero acabó yendo a la universidad para completar sus estudios en ingeniería. → “He was trained as a mechanic, but he ended up going to university to finish his engineering studies.”

CursoTraining course
ConferenciaConference
SeminarioSeminar
ExamenExam
RedacciónEssay
TrabajoPaper
AvaluaciónAssessment

CarreraDegree
False friend alert! 

The word carrera, very similar to the word “career,” does mean the same as its English counterpart in work-related contexts. However, in the academic world, carrera also means “degree”!
  • Estudió la carrera de Enfermería y luego tuvo una carrera meteórica en el hospital. → “She studied a nursing degree and she later had a meteoric career in the hospital.”

GraduadoGraduate
DoctoradoPhD
CompetenciasCompetences
Plan de estudiosSyllabus

A Man Studying in a Library

¿Cuál es el plan de estudios de tu carrera? (“What’s the syllabus of your degree?”)

2 – Defending Your Thesis

InvestigaciónResearch
InvestigadorResearcher
Autor / AutoraAuthor
SujetoSubject / Exhibit
MuestraSample
AnálisisAnalysis
ExperimentoExperiment
DemostraciónDemonstration / Proof
Comprobación / VerificaciónVerification
ResultadoResult
CampoField
MétodoMethod
JustificaciónJustification
Reflexión / ConsideraciónConsideration
OpiniónOpinion

ArgumentoArgument
Take into account that the Spanish word argumento never refers to a quarrel. 

Instead, if you wanted to indicate that two scholars are having “a heated argument,” you would say they’re having una discusión acalorada.

AmbiguoAmbiguous
Polémica / ControversiaControversy

three researchers examining and recording data

Los investigadores (“The researchers”)

2. Advanced Business Words

Similar to entering the Spanish academic world, finding a job that requires you to speak fluent Spanish is a challenging opportunity. First things first: You need to learn all the essential words related to the workplace.

You already know the basics, of course. But if you need to review, you can refer to the Spanish Job Vocabulary lesson on SpanishPod101.com.

Here are the advanced words in Spanish that will help you handle business like a pro!

EmpresaBusiness / Company
Empresa is the most common word used to refer to a business or company. However, you will hear the word compañía more and more frequently due to influence from the English language. 

MultinacionalMultinational company
AsesoríaConsulting
ReuniónMeeting
ConvenciónConvention
FiscalidadTaxation
FacturaBill
TesoreríaTreasury
ContabilidadFinances / Accounting
OfertaOffer
ContraofertaCounteroffer
EstrategiaStrategy
CampañaCampaign
InformeReport
SalarioSalary / Wage

ConvenioCollective bargaining
In Spain, there are hundreds of convenios that apply to all kinds of different jobs. They establish a minimum wage, acceptable job conditions, and workers’ rights for each profession. 

Don’t forget to check out your convenio if you’re looking for a job in Spain!

ContratoContract

A Job Applicant and a Hiring Manager Shaking Hands

¡Estás contratado! (“You’re hired!”)

ProductoProduct
SuministroSupply
ServicioService
VentaSale
GananciasProfit
PérdidasLoss
AuditoríaAudit
Declaración de la rentaTax return
Trabajador asalariadoWorker (of a company)

Trabajador autónomoSelf-employed worker / Freelancer
From a fiscal point of view, there are two main types of workers in Spain: those who are employed by a company (trabajador asalariado) and those who are self-employed (trabajador autónomo).

MercadoJob market

    → Want to learn more advanced Spanish for business or review the basics? SpanishPod101 has plenty of lessons that can help you prepare for the Spanish workplace.

3. Advanced Medical Words

Some of the most important advanced Spanish words are those related to the field of medicine. You never really think about these words until you urgently need to use them!

Having to visit the doctor is normally an unpleasant (and often unexpected) situation that can make us feel vulnerable, especially if we don’t understand the words he or she is saying. “Radiografía? What’s that supposed to mean? It sounds bad…!”

Don’t panic. Here is an advanced Spanish vocabulary word list that will prepare you for any medical situation!

A Man Getting an X-ray

Knowing medical vocabulary in Spanish will definitely help you feel more at ease!

VisitaAppointment
RadiografíaX-ray test
BiopsiaBiopsy
EcografíaSonogram
Médico generalGeneral practitioner

Médico de cabecera / Médico de familiaFamily doctor
Médico de cabecera or médico de familia refer to general practitioners who are assigned to the different users of the public healthcare system.

As they know each of their patients and their background, they deal with most of the issues that don’t require a specialist. It’s important to have your own médico de cabecera if you live in Spain.

Médico especialistaSpecialist

Médico residenteResident doctor
This term applies to doctors who, after graduating medical school and passing a very demanding entry exam, specialize in their field of choice for four years.

Enfermero/aNurse
Auxiliar de enfermeríaNursing assistant
Dentista / Odontólogo/aDentist / Odontologist
Dermatólogo/aDermatologist
Cardiólogo/aCardiologist
Traumatólogo/aOrthopedic surgeon
Ginecólogo/aGynecologist
Urólogo/aUrologist
AmbulanciaAmbulance
GripeFlu

A Little Girl Who Has the Flu

Tengo la gripe… (“I got the flu…”)

Gastroenteritis / Virus estomacalStomach flu
Infección de orina / CistitisUrinary tract infection / Cystitis
InsolaciónSunstroke
Intoxicación alimentariaFood poisoning
EmboliaStroke
Ataque al corazón / InfartoHeart attack
Ataque de ansiedadPanic attack
DemenciaDementia
ComaComa

Receta médicaMedical prescription
Don’t forget your receta when going to the pharmacy!

In Spain, many common drugs cannot be bought without a medical prescription.

MedicamentoDrug / Medication
TratamientoTreatment


4. Advanced Legal Words 

Dealing with legal or bureaucratic situations is a classic example of when you would need to know advanced words in Spanish. Legal vocabulary is highly formal and technical, and it’s easy to feel frustrated if, for example, you can’t tell the difference between the abogado and the procurador.

With this advanced Spanish words list, you’ll learn the most important concepts of the legal world. Knowing these words will prepare you to face any situation involving the public administration or the court system.

Don’t forget to get yourself a good attorney, too!

A Gavel Sitting Atop a Book

¡Silencio en la sala! (“Order in the court!”)

DenunciaReport
DemandaLawsuit
SolicitudRequest
Representante legalLegal representative
AbogadoAttorney

Abogado de oficioPublic defender
In Spain, you have the right to have a defense attorney (abogado de oficio) assigned to you free of charge. 

ProcuradorLawyer
TestigoWitness
AcusadoDefendant
DenuncianteAccuser
FiscalProsecutor
JuezJudge
TribunalCourt
JuradoJury
JuicioTrial
Sentencia / CondenaSentence

Recurso / ApelaciónAppeal
Depending on the legal or bureaucratic process, the appeal will be called a recurso or an apelación.

AprobaciónApproval
DenegaciónRejection
BurocraciaBureaucracy
Administración públicaPublic administration
FuncionarioPublic worker

5. Bonus: Alternative Words for Acing a Spanish Essay 

As promised, here is a bonus list of advanced Spanish words you can use to surprise your Spanish teacher! 

You already know how to describe objects, people, and feelings, and how to maintain a coherent and fluent discourse. The next step is to start introducing some “high-end” words (including helpful connectors) into your vocabulary that can substitute basic everyday words. Using them well can help you score higher on your writing tests.

A Woman Wearing Glasses and Carrying a Load of Books

Connectors can definitely help you seem more clever!

1 – Adjectives

For “big” and “long”:

MayúsculoEnormous / Tremendous
ConsiderableNoteworthy
ProlongadoExtended
ExtensoExtensive
VastoVast

For “important”:

NotableNotable / Prominent
DestacadoProminent
SignificativoSignificant
TrascendentalVery, very important

For “small”:

DiminutoTiny
ReducidoLimited / Reduced
InsignificanteInsignificant
MinúsculoMinuscule

Several Tiny Chicks

¡Mira estos diminutos pollitos! (“Look at these tiny chickens!”)

2 – Adverbs

For “only” and “just”:

SolamenteSolely
ExclusivamenteExclusively

ÚnicamenteUniquely
Única y exclusivamente is a phrase that combines two of the words mentioned here. It means basically the same thing but helps reinforce the idea of “only.”

Note: In Spanish, when using an adverb ending in -mente after another, you can ditch the -mente in all adverbs except the last one. Here’s an example:
  • Está durmiendo tranquila, sosegada y pacíficamente. → “She’s sleeping calmly, serenely, and peacefully.”

Positive reinforcers:

CompletamenteCompletely
TotalmenteTotally
ÍntegramenteEntirely
ObviamenteObviously
EfectivamenteIndeed
EvidentementeEvidently
Sin dudaWithout a doubt
Por supuestoOf course

Negative reinforcers:

DifícilmenteHardly
LigeramenteSlightly
InsuficientementeInsufficiently
LevementeSlightly
PobrementePoorly
Con dificultadWith difficulty


3 – Connectors

For “likewise”:

TambiénToo / Also
IgualmenteEqually
AsimismoAdditionally

For “so”:

Así puesSo
JustamentePrecisely
PrecisamentePrecisely
De este modo / De esta formaThus

For “however”:

Sin embargoNevertheless
AunqueAlthough
AunEven if
Si bienAlbeit
No obstanteDespite
Pese a queIn spite of

For “moreover”:

AdemásIn addition
Es másMoreover / Furthermore

For “regarding”:

En cuanto aWith regard to
Respecto aRegarding / With respect to
En relación aIn relation to
A propósito deConcerning

For “to sum up”:

En conclusiónIn conclusion
En definitivaUltimately
En resumenTo sum up

A Woman Giving a Speech

¡Qué buen discurso! (“What a great speech!”)

6. Final Thoughts

In this guide to advanced Spanish words, you have learned the most important words in the academic, business, medical, and legal worlds. Also, the bonus section gave you a handful of tools you can use to ace your written exams or essays in Spanish class. You’re now prepared to face any type of formal situation! 

Did you know any of these words already? Which ones? 

Of course, you can still continue your journey of learning advanced Spanish! SpanishPod101.com has plenty of advanced Spanish lessons to help you gain knowledge, skills, and confidence. We will help you dive deeper into Spanish culture and flex your fluency in any situation. And don’t forget to check out the free vocabulary lists and other useful tools on SpanishPod101.com. They will make the path super fun!

¡Hasta pronto! (“See you soon!”)

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The Most Common Spanish Phone Phrases

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

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

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

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

Remember: Practice makes perfect!

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

Ready for great Spanish phone conversations? Start with Hola!

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

1. Picking up the Phone

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

1 – Calling

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

2 – Answering

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

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

Someone Picking up Their Work Phone

Pick up the phone; someone’s calling you!

2. Saying Who You Are

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3. Stating Why You’re Calling

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

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


A Woman Staying Late at Work and Taking a Phone Call

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

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

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

In informal conversations, you’d say the following:

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

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

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

And here’s a formal alternative:

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

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

5. Asking Someone to Wait

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

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

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


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

A Group of People Working in a Call Center

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

6. Leaving a Message

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

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

7. Asking for Clarification

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

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

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

A Businesswoman Stressed while Talking on the Phone

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

8. Ending the Phone Call

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

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

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


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

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

9. Bonus: Sample Phone Conversations

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

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

Enjoy! 

1 – Asking your friend to meet for brunch

A: ¿Sí? – “Yes?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Making a reservation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Woman Writing Something Down while Making a Reservation

¡Mesa para cinco! (“Table for five!”)

10. Final Thoughts

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

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

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

Happy learning!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Group of Four Friends Sitting Down with Drinks to Talk

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filler words in Spanish can perform the following functions:

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

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

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

2. The Top 10 Filler Words According to Their Functions

A Woman on Campus Waving Goodbye to Her Friends

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

2.1 Filler Words to Take a Pause

#1. Bueno

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

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

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

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

#2 Pues

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

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

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

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

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

2.2 Filler Words to Add Structure

#3 En fin

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

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

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

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

#4 Entonces

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

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

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

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

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

2.3 Filler Words to Express Agreement

A Woman Paying Close Attention in Class

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

#5 Ya

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

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

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

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

#6 Vale

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

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

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

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

2.4 Filler Words to Show Emphasis

#7 Mira

SpanishLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Mira“Look”“Look”

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

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

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

#8 Venga / Vamos

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

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

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

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

2.5 Filler Words to Check Engagement or Comprehension

Two Women Sitting on a Sofa and Chatting

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

#9 ¿Sabes?

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

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

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

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

#10 ¿Viste?

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

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

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

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

3. Pros and Cons of Filler Words

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

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

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

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

3.1 Sound Like a Native

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

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

3.2 Beware of Overusing Them

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

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

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

4. La despedida

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Getting to Know Each Other: Confess Your Affection

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

A Man and Woman Having Drinks and Exchanging Phone Numbers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Newlywed Couple being Congratulated by Friends and Family

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

4. Endearment Terms: Cute Couple Nicknames

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

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

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

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

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

Rey / ReinaKing / Queen

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

Mi vida
Vida mía
My life

CorazónMy heart

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

Treat your partner like a rey / reina!

5. Bonus: Must-Know Love Idioms

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

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

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

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

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

For example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Whole Orange beside a Half Orange

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

6. Final Thoughts

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

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

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

¡Viva el amor! (“Long live love!”)

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Master the Art of Saying No with Negatives in Spanish

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

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

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

In this article, we’ll teach you…

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

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

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

1. Negation in Spanish: An Overview

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

  • Subject + No + Verb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1- Most Common Negative Words in Spanish

Nunca – Never

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

Nada – Nothing / Anything

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

Nadie – Nobody

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

Ni – Neither / Nor

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

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

Ningun (o) (a) – None / Any

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

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

Tampoco – Neither / Either

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

Todavía no – Not yet / Still not

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

Ya no – Not anymore / No longer

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

Sin / Without

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

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

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

2- Affirmative and Negative Words in Spanish

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

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

Example:

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

2. Negative Questions and Answers: Rules and Examples

Two Women Looking at a Bus Schedule

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

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

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

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

3. Double Negatives

A Woman Grabbing Her Luggage at the Airport

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

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

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

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

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

The formula is:

  • No + Verb + Negative word

Some examples:

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

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

4. A Few More Negative Expressions in Spanish

Women with Delayed Flight Sleeping in the Airport

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

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

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

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

2- No falta nada. / Nothing is missing.

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

3- Por ningún lado / Anywhere

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

4- No pasa nada. / It’s okay.

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

5- Todavía no / Not yet

A: ¿Estás lista? 
B: Todavía no.

A: Are you ready?
B: Not yet.

6- De ninguna manera / By no means

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

7- Ya no / No longer

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

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

5. La despedida

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy learning! Y ¡Hasta luego!

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Spanish?

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

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

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

A Woman Smiling and Holding a Map

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

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

Factors You Should Take Into Account

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

Try to answer the following questions:

What languages do you speak?

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

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

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

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

Which learning method are you following?

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

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

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

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

A Row of Three Students Taking a Test in the Classroom

What methodology are you following to learn Spanish?

What’s your level of immersion?

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

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

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

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

How motivated are you?

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

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

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

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

What’s your objective?

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

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

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

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

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

Asian and Caucasian Coworkers Chatting

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

Mastering the Basics

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

Breakthrough > 90-100 hours: 

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

Waystage > 180-200 hours: 

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

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

Reaching an Intermediate Level

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

Threshold > 350-400 hours:

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

Vantage > 500-600 hours:

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

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

Beautiful Buildings in Barcelona, Spain

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

Native-Like Fluency

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

Effective Operational Proficiency > 700-800 hours:

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

Mastery > 1000-1200 hours:

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

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

Your Journey to Learning Spanish Starts Now!

SpanishPod101 Image

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

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

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

See you soon, hasta pronto!

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The Top 30 Essential Spanish Proverbs

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

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

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

Ready? Then let’s get started.

A Little Girl Hugging Her Mother from Behind

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

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

1. Proverbs About Relationships

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

#1

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

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


#2

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

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

#3

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

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

#4

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

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

#5

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

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


Two Birds Perched on a Branch

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

2. Proverbs About Opportunity

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

#6

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

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

#7

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

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

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

#8

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

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

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

3. Proverbs About Personality

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

#9

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

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

A Monkey

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

#10

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

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

#11

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

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

4. Proverbs About Social Situations

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

#12

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

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

#13

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

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

A Woman Holding a Globe in Her Hands

It’s a small world.

#14

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

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

#15

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

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

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

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

5. Proverbs About Life Situations

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

#16

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

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

#17

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

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

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

#18

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

There are longer versions of this proverb, as well: 

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

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

Three Walnuts, with One of Them Broken Open

Much noise and few walnuts…

#19

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

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

6. Proverbs About Actions and Consequences

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

#20

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

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

The Spanish City of Seville

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

#21

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

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

#22

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

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

#23

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

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

#24

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

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

#25

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

Someone Hitting Snooze on Their Alarm Clock

The early bird catches the worm.

7. Life Mottos

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

#26

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

#27

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

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

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

#28

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

#29

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

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

#30

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

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

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


8. Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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