Top Ten Spanish Phrases

Seville Flamenco Dancers

Seville Flamenco Dancers

Whether you are traveling to Spain, Mexico, South/Central America or interacting with people, here is a list of extremely useful basic Spanish phrases.  Whenever I travel or my coworkers/friends travel I prepare this very same list for them.  I have found that these are the top phrases that can handle 90% of any native conversation you would need to have.  Even with a travel phrase book, this list printed out can be a quick life saver.

1)         Hi / Bye
            Hola (Oh-lah) / Adios (Ah-dee-ohs)           

2)         Yes / No
            Si (See) / No (Noh)

    3)         Please / Thank you
            Por favor (Por fah-Vor) / Gracias (Grah-see-ahs)

 4)         Excuse me
            Perdón (pair-Dohn)

5)         Where is . . .?  (…the bathroom)
            ¿Dónde está . . .?  (dohn-Day ess-Tah)  (…el baño) (El Bahn-nyoh)
            The train station        La estación de tren    (Lah eh-stay-see-Ohn Day Trayn)
            The bus station     La estación de autobuses (Lah eh-stay-see-Ohn Day Ow-tow-Boos-ehz)
            The police station     La estación de policía            (Lah eh-stay-see-Ohn Day Po-lee-see-Ah)
            The embassy              La embajada              (Lah Em-bah-hah-Dah)
            The hospital               El hospital                  (Ehl Os-pih-Tahl)

6)         Take me to …
            Llévame a… (Jev-ah-may Ah)
TIP:  For this one, I have found it most helpful to have a business card (especially from your hotel), or a written name of the location you wish to go to, and point to it as you say “aquí” (ah-Kee).  It gives the driver/person a chance to study the location without asking you to repeat anything or to get into a lengthy conversation.

 7)         Do you speak English? / I don’t speak Spanish.
            ¿Hablas Inglés? (ah-Blas Eng-lays) / Yo no hablo Español. (Yoh Noh Ah-bloh ess-Pan-nyohl)

 8)         How much is this?
            ¿Cuánto cuesta esto?  (Qwan-toh Qway-stah Ess-toh)
TIP:  A nice shortcut for this is to just say “¿Cuánto cuesta?”  Most Spanish speaking people will understand what you mean and, in fact, use this abbreviated phrase themselves.

 9)         My name is… / What is your name?
            Mi nombre es … (Mee Nohm-bray Ess) / ¿Cuál es su nombre? (Qwahl Ess Soo Nohm-bray)

 10)       I need a doctor!
            ¡Necesito un medico! (ness-seh-see-Toh Oon Mehd-ihk-oh)

Now that you have the basics . . . get out there and meet some people!

Running With The Bulls

Running With The Bulls

The Cheat Sheet:

  • Hi / Bye                                   Hola / Adios
  • Yes / No                                  Si / No
  • Please / Thank you                  Por favor / Gracias
  • Excuse me                               Perdón
  • Where is…?                            ¿Dónde está . . .?
  • Take me to…                          Llévame a…
  • Do you speak English?           ¿Hablas Inglés?
  • I don’t speak Spanish.             Yo no hablo Español.
  • How much is this?                  ¿Cuánto cuesta esto?
  • My name is…                          Mi nombre es …
  • What is your name?                ¿Cuál es su nombre?
  • I need a doctor!                      ¡Necesito un medico!

 Author:                  Robert J. Gorman, Jr.
Date:                      9/12/2013

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