Whether you're traveling to Spain, Mexico or another Spanish-speaking country on business or vacation, or you need to speak in a Spanish language environment closer to home, you'll need to know these commonly used Spanish expressions and sentences to communicate with those around you.
Resources for further reading:
Learn how to greet and farewell people in Spanish, and what to say at different times of the day. Perhaps you want to ask someone how they are, or what they've been up to lately... and you'll need to know what to say when someone asks you! Practice welcoming someone in Spanish, or saying sorry, and numerous other essential phrases...
Listen carefully to the pronunciation on the audio and repeat the Spanish sentences after the native speaker. Think of it as your very own speaking Spanish phrasebook, and remember, you can't just listen to them, you have to pronounce them... yes, out loud!
Here are some of the most basic Spanish expressions to get you started. Further on in this lesson, we will look at the pronunciation of these and more Spanish sentences.
Are you ready? Here is a brief Spanish conversation. Listen to Esteban and Estela as they greet one another.
Rocket Record lets you perfect your Spanish pronunciation. Just listen to the native speaker audio and then use the microphone icon to record yourself. Once you’re done, you’ll get a score out of 100 on your pronunciation and can listen to your own audio playback. (Use a headset mic for best results.) Problems? Click here!
¡Buenos días, Estela!
Good morning, Estela!
Buenos días, Esteban. ¿Cómo estás?
Good morning, Esteban. How are you?
Bien, ¿y tú?
Well, how about you?
Greetings like “good morning” or “good afternoon” are incredibly important in Spanish. As the Latin culture is more formal, going through the ritual of greeting another person is an important way of showing respect. In fact, in some parts of Latin America, you are expected to greet every person individually, even if they’re in a group. That means that if you’re walking along the road in a village and pass a group of five people, you’ll have to say, “Good morning,” five times! Here are some common greetings:
a shortened version of the above three greetings, suitable anytime
After you greet someone, you’ll want to ask how they are or how’s it going. Here are some common questions that follow a greeting:
How are you? (used with friends or family)
¿Cómo está usted?
How are you? (more formal; used with strangers, more senior persons, etc.)
¿Cómo te va?
How's it going?
¿Cómo has ido?
How've you been?
What are you doing?
What could you say if someone asks you one of these questions?
Bien, gracias. / Muy bien.
Well, thanks. / Very well.
Un poco cansado (for men) Un poco cansada (for women)
A little tired.
Estoy enfermo (for men) Estoy enferma (for women)
Más o menos.
A common follow-up question is, “And you?” ¿Y tú?
Here’s another conversation. This one is much more casual. You’re likely to hear this kind of conversation among young people.
Hola, Estela, ¿qué tal? ¿Qué haces?
Hello, Estela, how are you? What are you doing?
Nada, nada. Estoy enferma.
Nothing, nothing. I'm sick.
Ah, lo siento.
¿Y tú? ¿Cómo te va? ¿Bien?
How about you? How are you doing? Well?
Sí, todo bien.
Yes, all right.
The above words are extremely important. From experience, I know that the most important phrase in any language is how to say you’re sorry! Others disagree. They say that there are THREE important phrases that you absolutely must know in any language. They are:
I love you.
I need help
Hmm, I can’t think of a situation in which I’d need to use all three, but I’ll leave it to your imagination!
You can say goodbye with one of the following phrases:
see you soon
hasta la vista
until we see each other again
¡Con mucho amor!
Lots of love!
Have a good trip!
Enjoy your meal!
Take care! (formal)
Los mejores deseos para…
Best wishes to…
¡Bienvenidos! / ¡Bienvenidas!
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
Happy New Year!
¡Salud! has two usages… you use this word when giving a toast “Cheers!” and also when someone sneezes--the Spanish equivalent of “Bless you!”
Another way to say “I’m sorry” is Perdón. This one is more of an “Excuse me” phrase. Perdón, pero dónde están los baños? “Excuse me, but where are the toilets?”
One expression that is milder than Lo siento is Disculpeme. And when you’re late for a meeting, you can say…
A thousand sorry's!
When you have to interrupt a meeting, say…
Sorry to interrupt.
A polite way to ask someone to get out of your way, or if you’re leaving a conversation, or leaving a table is to say…
If someone stepped on your toes and apologized you might want to say…
¡No se preocupe!
I hope you've found this lesson on common Spanish phrases helpful. You'll soon see how much your attempts to become part of the Spanish-speaking community are appreciated, and it won't be long before you're ready to learn more Spanish.
You want to learn more already? Great! I happen to know a super-practical Spanish language course you're going to LOVE! Come see me at Rocket Spanish and I'll tell you all about it!
Or if you want to check out more free lessons on Spanish phrases, here are some recommended ones:
See you soon! ¡Hasta pronto!
Mauricio Evlampieff: Rocket Spanish
Reinforce your learning from this lesson with the Rocket Reinforcement activities!