Here are 90+ common Spanish phrases — the Spanish phrases to know if you want to start speaking Spanish right now.
I’ve found that the best way to learn Spanish is to speak it from day one. And the best way to start speaking is to learn Spanish phrases that you’ll use in real conversations.
(You can read about how I learned Spanish here. I honestly believe it was never my destiny to speak Spanish, but I did it anyway).
Now, back to Spanish phrases.
Editor's note: before we get started, if you’re looking for an online Spanish course, here’s the course I actually recommend: Spanish Uncovered – Learn Spanish Through the Power of Story, a course with a fascinating new method.
Important Spanish Phrases to Know: The Basics
If you’re just starting out, you need to know basic Spanish greetings and introductions.
Here are a few to get started if you’re totally new to the language. Most of these are casual, so they’re best for informal situations.
- Hola – “Hello”
- ¿Qué tal? – “How are you?”
- ¿Qué pasa? – “What’s up?”
- ¿Cómo te va? – “How’re you doing?”
- Bien – “Good”
- Muy bien – “Very good”
- Así así – “So-so”
- No tan bien – “Not so good”
- ¿Y tú? – “And you?”
- Me llamo… – “My name is…”
- ¿Cómo te llamas? – “What’s your name?”
- Mucho gusto – “Nice to meet you”
- Placér – “A pleasure”
- Encantado/Encantada – “Charmed”, “Likewise”
Saying Goodbye in Spanish
- Nos vemos mañana – “See you tomorrow”
- Hasta luego – “See you later”
- Hasta pronto amigo – “See you soon, friend”
Polite Phrases in Spanish
- Gracias – “Thank you”
- De nada – “You’re welcome”
- No hay de qué – “No problem”
- Disculpe – “Excuse me”
- Lo siento – “I’m sorry”
If you want to expand more on the basics, check out these really useful Spanish phrases for conversation and travel, and all the essential beginning phrases you should know.
Common Spanish Phrases for Everyday Life
The sooner you can talk about your everyday life in Spanish, the easier you’ll find it to have real Spanish conversations.
Everyday life is different for everyone, so pay attention to the things you do throughout the day. What did you say? What did you do? Then, make your own list of words that are relevant for you so you can learn Spanish faster.
Use these phrases as starters to get you going.
Interests, Jobs, and Hobbies in Spanish
Getting to know others and talking about your interests are the bread and butter of learning a language. So you have to know how to express your hobbies!
- ¿Qué te gusta hacer? – “What do you like to do?”
- Mi pasatiempo favorito es… – “My favourite pastime is…”
- ¿Cuáles son tus pasatiempos? – “What are your hobbies?”
- ¿Qué haces en tu tiempo libre? – “What do you do in your free time?”
- Me gusta / No me gusta… – “I like / I don’t like…”
- Me encanta… – “I love…”
- ¿Qué te gusta leer? – “Do you like to read?”
- ¿Que música te gusta? – “What music do you like?”
- Mi favorito es… – “My favourite is…”
- Me gusta ir… – “I like going to…”
- ¿En qué trabajas? – “What’s your job?”
- ¿Te gusta tu trabajo? – “Do you like your job?”
- Trabajo en… – “I work at…”
With these phrases, you can say things like:
- Me encanta café. ¿Quieres ir a tomar una taza? (“I love coffee. Wanna go grab a cup?”)
- Trabajo en la escuela. Soy profesor. (“I work at the school. I’m a teacher.”)
Common Questions in Spanish
Once you know your basic Spanish question words, like qué and dónde, you can ask a whole number of things. These are some common questions you’ll hear:
- ¿Cuánto cuesta? – “How much is this?”
- ¿Dónde está el baño? – “Where’s the bathroom?”
- ¿Qué hora es? – “What time is it?”
- ¿Pasa algo? – “Is something wrong?”
- ¿Es esto correcto? – “Is this right?”
- ¿Me equivocado? – “Was I wrong?”
- ¿Me puede ayudar con esto? – “Can you help me with this?”
- *¿Puedes traerme … por favor?” – “Can you bring me … please?”
- ¿Puedo entrar? – “Can I come in?”
- ¿Quieres tomar una copa? – “Want to grab a drink?
- ¿A dónde deberíamos ir a comer? – “Where should we go to eat?”
- ¿Estás listo? – “Are you ready?”
Exclamations, Celebrations, and Well Wishes
It’s always good to know how to wish someone well, tell them happy birthday, or what to say when toasting at happy hour. These are simple, single-use phrases you can learn quickly.
- ¡Cuánto tiempo sin verlo(a)! – “Long time no see!”
- ¡Feliz cumpleaños! – “Happy birthday!”
- ¡Buena suerte! – “Good luck!”
- ¡Alto! – “Stop!”
- ¡Salud! – “Cheers!”
- Que te mejores – “Get well soon”
- Buen provecho – “Bon appetit”
- Cuídate – “Take care”
- Felicitaciones – “Congratulations”
- ¡Bien hecho! – “Well done!”
- ¡Genio!– “Genius!”
- Estupendo – “Stupendous” or “Amazing”
- Genial – “Great” or “Awesome”
- ¡Increíble! – “Incredible!” or “Impressive!”
Filler Words and Phrases
These words and phrases give you a moment to prepare what you’re going to say next. They’ll help you sound more natural and fluid, like how you speak in your native language. We use these types of sayings all the time!
- A ver… – “Let’s see…”
- Pues… – “Well…”
- Bueno… – “Well then…”
- ¿Sabes? – “You know?”
- Por supuesto – “Of course”
- *Por otra parte…” – “On another note…”
- Pero… – “But…”
- De verdad? – “Really?”
- Dios mio – “Oh my god”
- Entonces… – “So…”
- Asi que… – “So… About that…”
Helpful Phrases in Spanish
These are your essential phrases to fall back on when you need to express your intent, your needs, or you don’t understand.
- Necesito ayuda – “I need help”
- Llámame cuando llegues – “Call me when you arrive”
- Me voy a casa – “I’m going home”
- Necesito ir a… – “I need to go to…”
- ¿Como llego hasta ahí? – “How do I get there?”
- No lo sé – “I don´t know”
- No tengo idea – “I have no idea”
- ¿Lo entiendes? – “Do you understand?”
- No entiendo – “I don’t understand.”
- Quiero… – “I want…”
- ¿Puede hablar más despacio, por favor? – “Can you speak slowly, please?”
Funny Spanish Phrases
Add a little colour to your conversation with funny Spanish phrases and idioms! When you can use a well-known phrase like these, you sound much more natural in your everyday speech.
- Ponte las pilas – “Put in your batteries”. It’s like telling someone to “look alive”, “snap out of it”, or “wake up”. You say it to a person who’s daydreaming.
- Papando moscas – “Catching flies”. Speaking of daydreaming, that’s called catching flies in Spanish. Which is quite a visual: Your friend sitting there, so completely lost in thought, the flies have started to land on him or her. But he or she doesn’t even notice!
- Comiendo moscas – “Eating flies”. Flies are popular in Spanish idioms for some reason. You use this phrase when the person talking to you is quite long-winded. It can be said about anyone who goes on tangents, or someone who can’t stay on point.
- Buena onda – “Good wave”. This means good vibes. You can also use it to describe someone who has a positive outlook and attitude.
- Me pica el bagre – “The catfish is biting me”. The catfish being your stomach, and the biting being the painful ache of hunger. In other words, “I’m starved!”
- Hablando del rey de Roma – “Speaking of the king of Rome”. It has the same meaning as “speak of the devil” in English. You say this whenever you were just talking about someone, and then they appear.
- Meter la pata – “To put a paw it in.” It means “to screw up”, and it’s used like how we say in English, “to put your foot in your mouth”.
- Creerse la última coca-cola del desierto – “To think of yourself as the last Coca-Cola in the desert”. This is an interesting one to me. It means you think you’re better than everyone else, or you think you’re hot stuff.
- Tener la cola sucia – “To have a dirty tail.” It comes from the idea of being sneaky like a fox. Doing something you know is wrong, but doing it anyway and trying to get away with it.
- Se puso hasta las chanclas – “Puts on his flip-flops”. It’s like the saying “He/She put on his/her beer goggles.” He or she got hammered, too drunk, trashed.
- Échale ganas – “Insert desire”. It means to try your best. “How bad do you want it?”
- Mandar a alguien por un tubo – “Send someone through a tube”. You use this to tell someone to “shove it”.
- Mala leche – “Bad milk”. You can say this about someone who has bad intentions.
- Tirar la casa por la ventana – “Throw the house out the window”. Or as you would hear Donna from Parks & Rec say, “Treat yo’ self”. It means to splurge, spend a lot of money, or otherwise go all out for a special occasion.
¡Felicitaciones! You’re Off to a Good Start
Well done! That was a lot to go through, but you made it. I hope you learned some helpful phrases to start speaking with others in Spanish. Keep practising, and ¡buena suerte!
Did I miss any phrases that you use every day? What phrases did you add to your list? Let me hear them in the comments.
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.