Spanish Phrases That Are Nice To know

Spanish Phrases


International travel is a myriad of emotions from excitement to anxiety, especially if you’re not fluent in the native language. Whether you’re asking for directions, ordering at a restaurant, or simply being friendly with the locals, having even a general grasp on the language can make a big difference in your travels.

The Spanish language dates back centuries to the fall of the Roman empire with roots in Latin. While is it widely known as a romance language, it is used by 437 million people around the world making it the second most widely used language in the world. Since it is such a popular language, it's easy to see why having a few handy phrases in your pocket can help you in your travels. When traveling abroad, it is important to always remember to respect the natives and their culture and customs and greeting them in their own language is a great way to start.

The Spanish language has many words that are similar to English and can be a cinch to learn once you get used to the different pronunciation of the vowels and, unlike English, each Spanish vowel has exactly one sound:

  • A is pronounced like the “a” in ‘”father”
  • E is pronounced like the “e” in “bed”
  • I is pronounced like the “ee” in “see”
  • O is pronounced like the “o” in “go”
  • U is pronounced like the “oo” in “too”
  • Y sounds like the letter e when Y stands alone or at the end of a word.

The trick is to practice making clear, consistent vowel sounds that don’t change: ah, eh, ee, oh, ooh. (A, E, I, O, U). Practice these sounds first and then try working them into some words.

Another commonly confusing bit of the Spanish language are the letters B & V. The difference between “b” and “v” is almost indistinguishable and they both sound like the English letter “b” in most situations. When the b or v comes at the beginning of a word, or when it follows the letter m or n, pronounce it like the letter “b” in the English word “ball.”



The Basics

Spanish (Pronunciation) English

¡Hola! (O-la) Hello
¡Buenos días! (BWAY-nos DEE-as) Good Morning!
¡Buenas tardes! (BWAY-nas TAR-des) Good Afternoon!
¡Bienvenido! (Bee-en-ven-EE-doh) Welcome!
¿Cómo estás? (KOH-moh eh-STAHS) How are you?
Estoy bien ¡Gracias! (eh-STOY bee-en GRA-see-as) I’m fine, thanks
¿Y tú? (ee too) And you?
¿Qué haces? (kay AH-says) What are you doing?
¡Gracias! (GRA-see-as) Thank you!
¡De nada! (de NA-da) You’re welcome!
¡Perdone! / ¡Oiga! (per-DON-ay/ OY-ga) Excuse me
¡Disculpe! (dis-KUL-pay) Sorry? (if you didn’t hear something)
¡Lo siento! (lo see-EN-to) Sorry! (for a mistake)
¿Puede ayudarme? (PWE-day ay-oo-DAR-may) Can you help me?
No entiendo (no en-tee-EN-do) I don’t understand
No hablo español (no AB-lo es-pan-YOL) I don’t speak Spanish
Mi español es malo (mi es-pan-yol es MA-lo) My Spanish is bad

Food & Drink

Spanish (Pronunciation) English

Desayuno (deh-sah-yoo-noh) Breakfast
Almuerzo (ahl-mwer-zoh) Lunch
Cena (ceh-nah) Dinner
té helado (teh eh-lah-doh) Iced tea
café (cah-feh) Coffee
vino blanco / vino tinto (vee-noh blahn-koh / ee-noh teen-toh) White Wine / Red Wine
restaurante (rehs-taur-rahn-teh) Restaurant
pedir (peh-deer) To order
camarero / camarera (cah-mah-reh-roh / cah-mah-reh-rah) Waiter / waitress
¿Viene con ...? (bee-eh-neh kohn ...?) Does this come with ...?
¿Qué me recomienda? (keh meh reh-koh-mee-ehn-dah) What do you recommend?
Tengo alérgia a... (tehn-goh ah-lehr-hee-ah ah...) I am allergic to ...
Soy vegetariano, vegetariana (soy veh-heh-tah-ree-ah-noh, veh-heh-tah-ree-ah-nah) I am vegetarian

Places & Direction

Spanish (Pronunciation) English

¿Dónde está...? (don-deh es-tah) Where is...?
aeropuerto (air oh pwair toe) Airport
el bus (boos) the bus
¿Dónde está la estación de metro? (don-deh es-tah lah es-tah-thyon deh meh- troh) Where's the metro station?
¿Dónde puedo cojer un taxi? (don-deh pweh-doh koh-hair oon tah-xee) Where can I find a taxi?
Al aeropuerto, por favor (al ah-eh-roh-pwair-toh por fah-bor) The airport, please.
¿Va este tren a...? (bah es-teh tren ah...) Does this train go to...?
¿Está ocupado este asiento? (es-tah oh-koo-pah-doh es-teh ah-syen-toh) Is this seat taken?
¿Dónde está el despacho de billetes? (don-deh es-tah el des-pa-choh deh bee- yeh-tehs) Where is the ticket office?
¿Cuánto le debo? (kwan-toh leh deh-boh) How much do I owe you?

Like any new skill, learning another language takes a lot time and practice but there's many options out there to help you improve. Program like Rosetta Stone have been proven to work for many people with all sort of different learning styles. Prefer to give it go on you own? Make flash cards and review them often. Draw comics to illustrate different phrases or activities. Listen to movies or TV shows in french with English subtitles.

No matter your method, the absolute most important thing to remember is that you..

La Vida es un Viaje

Enjoy the journey