You don’t have to speak fluent Spanish to get around in Spain, but you should definitely learn some phrases to help you out. Even if you’re learning Spanish and your end goal is to be able to speak it fluently with no problems and you don’t want to just speak learned lines, it can still help you to have some of these in mind. That way if you get stuck and you’re speaking skills aren’t up to scratch yet to explain yourself properly, you have some of these useful phrases to help you out.
We’ve divided our sections into greetings, being polite, out and about, numbers, and the doctors. Hopefully you will find these words and phrases useful for when you go to Spain. If you think there’s any useful phrases that we’ve missed then let us know in the comments below.
There’s nothing more useful to get you started out than learning some words used for greetings. This way you can open a dialogue with Spanish people and make some friends. One thing to remember is that when Spanish people greet each other they kiss each other twice on the cheeks. So if someone leans in don’t be surprised, just go with it. The only problem with this is that if you’re in a room full of new people it takes ages to meet everyone.
Hello – Hola
How are you? – ¿Cómo estás?
I’m fine thank you – Estoy bien gracias
I’m sad – Estoy triste
What’s your name? – ¿Cómo te llamas?
My name is…. – Me llamo Sarah
Nice to meet you – Mucho gusto
Likewise – igualmente
Being polite goes a long way in any country and Spain is no exception. Saying please and thank you in their language makes the locals know you’re making an effort even if you can’t speak Spanish yet. It won’t take you long to memorise some of these phrases to use. One thing to note is that the Spanish don’t use the word sorry as often as British people, who tend to apologise even if it’s not their fault. So if you bump into someone and they don’t say sorry, don’t take offence, it just doesn’t make sense to apologise for something like that.
Please – Por favor
Thank you – Gracias
Excuse me – disculpe
Pardon – pardón
Yes – sí
No – no
I would like…. – me gustaría
I’m sorry – lo siento
Out and about
This kind of thing will be most useful for you if you’re going to Spain as a tourist. No matter how well prepared you are, it’s easy to get lost in a new city and knowing how to ask where things are comes in incredibly useful. Learn these phrases and keep them in your head so you’re prepared if you get stuck in Spain.
Where is the….. – ¿Dónde está el/la…?
Train station – Estación de tren
Bus station – Estación de autobuses
Hotel – Hotel (you don’t pronounce the H)
Hospital – Hospital (you don’t pronounce the H)
Toilet – Baño
How much is this? – ¿Cuánto cuesta?
Can you speak more slowly? – ¿Puedes hablar más despacio?
The bill – La cuenta
Typical food and drink to order
If you’re going to Spain you don’t want to eat food from your country, you want to get stuck in and eat and drink like a local. So here are some common Spanish foods and the names for them that you have to try out while you’re there.
Spanish omelette – Tortilla
Paella – paella
Tasty potatoes with sauce – Patatas bravas
Prawns – gambas
Ham – jamón
Bread – pan
Olive – aceituna
Salty peppers – Pimientos de Padrón
Coffee with milk – Café con leche
Numbers are always useful to learn in any language. If you pluck up the courage to ask the shop keeper how much something costs, you don’t want to look at them confused when they reply. Knowing your numbers will help you a lot. Sometimes a song can really help you learn numbers. If you feel like a kid try to shake those feelings and go along with it. It’ll help you remember the numbers much more quickly.
One – uno
Two – dos
Three – tres
Four – cuatro
Five – cinco
Six – seis
Seven – siete
Eight – ocho
Nine – nueve
Ten – diez
Eleven – once
Twelve – doce
Thirteen – trece
Fourteen – catorce
Fifteen – quince
Sixteen – dieciséis
Seventeen – diecisiete
Eighteen – diecisocho
Nineteen – diecinueve
Twenty – veinte
Twenty-one – veintiuno
Twenty-two – veintidós
Thirty – treinta
Thirty one – treinta y uno
Forty – cuarenta
Fifty – cincuenta
Sixty – sesenta
Seventy – setenta
Eighty – ochenta
Ninety – noventa
One hundred – cien
Two hundred -doscientos
Three hundred – trescientos
Four hundred – cuatrocientos
Five hundred – quinientos
Six hundred – seicientos
Seven hundred – setecientos
Eight hundred – ochocientos
Nine hundred – novecientos
One thousand – mil
There’s nothing worse than feeling ill in a foreign country but if it does happen you definitely want to be prepared with the right things to say so you can get the help you need.
I’m ill – Estoy mal/estoy enfermo
I would like an appointment – Me gustaría una cita
Help – Socorro
It’s an emergency – es una emergencia
My stomach hurts – me duele el estomago/ me duele la barriga
I have a headache – me duele la cabeza
My back hurts – me duele la espalda
I have diarrhoea – Tengo diarrea
I have a cough – tengo tos
I have a sore throat – me duele la garganta
Call an ambulance – ¡Llama una ambulancia!
He’s having a heart attack – Él está teniendo un ataque al corazón
I have a fever – tengo fiebre
I have the flu – tengo gripe
We hope you’ve found these words and phrases useful. There seems like a lot to learn but if you read through the useful Spanish phrases and find what will be most applicable to you then it won’t seem like so much.
If there are any other topics you would like us to cover or you think we’ve missed off a phrase that could be useful then please let us know in the comments below.
Once you’ve mastered these phrases check out how to improve your Spanish accent so you can sound more convincing to the locals.
Good luck and we hope you enjoy your time in Spain.