Basic Spanish Words for Beginners: 100+ Essential Words and Phrases - Lingua Linkup (2023)

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Spanish is the world’s second most popular language with 480 million people around the world being native speakers. So, if you have made the excellent decision of learning this vibrant language, we can help you get started with our Spanish survival phrases below. We have prepared a list of 100+ essential Spanish words and phrases, which, if you learn just 20-25 per day, you can master in less than a week. Let’s get started.

Greetings and Salutations in Spanish

The first question that pops into your head is probably, “How do I say Hello, or How are you? In Spanish”. Indeed, these are the very first words you use when interacting with someone – be it in a business or casual environment – and much of the first impression you make depends on your correct usage of salutation phrases.

Hi / Hello / Good Morning / Good Afternoon / etc. in Spanish

First, you want to actually greet a person. You can use the following words:

  • Hola – Hello
  • Buenos días – Good morning: It depends on the culture of the country you’re in, but, generally, you can say buenos días until around noon.
  • Buenas tardes – Good afternoon: It’s safe to use buenas tardes until the sun starts going down.
  • Buenas noches – Good evening or Good night: Since it means both Good evening = Hello and Good night = Goodbye, pay attention to the context.

How are you? / Pleased to meet you / I’m well, thank you/ etc. in Spanish

After you greet someone, in a natural conversation you are expected to carry on with a few pleasantries, like inquiring about the other person’s well-being. Here are a few examples:

  • ¿Cómo está? – How are you?: This is a formal way of inquiring
  • ¿Cómo estás? – How are you?: An informal way of inquiring
  • ¿Qué tal? – How’s it going?: Also an informal way
  • ¿Qué hubo? – What happened?: Informal, generally used with friends
  • ¿Dónde has estado? – Where have you been?: An informal way of asking someone what they’ve been up to if you haven’t seen them in a while.
  • ¡Hace tiempo que no te veo! – It’s been a while since I’ve seen you!
  • Mucho gusto – Nice to meet you
  • Encantado – Nice to meet you
  • Bien, gracias – Good, thank you
  • Muy bien – Very well
  • ¿Y tú? – And you?

Bye / Goodbye / Have a nice day / etc. in Spanish

At the end of your conversation, when you are ready to part ways, you can use the following phrases:

  • Buenas noches – Good night
  • Adiós – Goodbye
  • Hasta pronto – See you soon
  • Hasta luego – See you later
  • Hasta mañana – See you tomorrow
  • Chao – Bye
  • Cuídese – Take care
  • Que tengas un buen día – Have a great day
  • Que pases un buen día – Have a great day
  • Nos vemos luego – See you around: This is very informal and used when you know a person well

Introducing Yourself in Spanish and Learning More About the Other Person

If you are traveling to a new country – be it for business or pleasure – chances are that you don’t know many people there, meaning you’ll be introducing yourself and trying to learn about the other person rather frequently. These phrases will come in handy:

  • Me llamo Stefanie – My name is Stefanie
  • Hola, soy Jack – Hello, I’m Jack
  • ¿Cómo se llama usted? – What is your name?: Used very formally
  • ¿Cómo te llamas? – What is your name?: Used informally
  • ¿Qué haces para ganarte la vida? – What do you do for a living?
  • ¿Cuál es tu libro/película/canción favorito? – What is your favorite book/movie/song?
  • ¿Cuántos años tienes? – How old are you?
  • ¿De dónde eres? – Where are you from?

Counting in Spanish

If you are trying to buy anything at a market, ask for a price, or explain how old you are, you need to learn how to count. At least till 100.

Counting in Spanish 1-10

  • Uno – 1
  • Dos – 2
  • Tres – 3
  • Cuatro – 4
  • Cinco – 5
  • Seis – 6
  • Siete – 7
  • Ocho – 8
  • Nueve – 9
  • Diez – 10

Counting in Spanish 10-19

  • Once – 11
  • Doce – 12
  • Trece – 13
  • Catorce – 14
  • Quince – 15

Starting from 16, you combine “Dieci..” and the Second Number.

  • Dieciséis – 16
  • Diecisiete – 17
  • Dieciocho – 18
  • Diecinueve – 19

Counting in Spanish 20-100

  • Veinte – 20
  • Treinta – 30
  • Cuarenta – 40
  • Cincuenta – 50
  • Sesenta – 60
  • Setenta – 70
  • Ochenta – 80
  • Noventa – 90
  • Cien – 100

For numbers above twenty, you combine the “tens” number and the “ones” number, connecting them with y = and. For example, 37 = treinta y siete.

Days of the Week / Months in Spanish

Now that you’ve learned how to count, it will be useful to learn days of the week and months. This will allow you to schedule meetings, agree on deadlines, explain when you were born, etc. Let’s start with days of the week in Spanish. Repeat after us:

  • Lunes – Monday
  • Martes – Tuesday
  • Miércoles – Wednesday
  • Jueves – Thursday
  • Viernes – Friday
  • Sábado – Saturday
  • Domingo – Sunday

Moving on to months. It should be pretty easy to learn as they sound similar to how you would say them in English:

  • Enero – January
  • Febrero – February
  • Marzo – March
  • Abril – April
  • Mayo – May
  • Junio – June
  • Julio – July
  • Agosto – August
  • Septiembre – September
  • Octubre – October
  • Noviembre – November
  • Diciembre – December

Useful Phrases in Spanish to Ask Strangers if You Need Information

Whether you’re trying to find directions to your hotel or buy something at a grocery store, these questions and phrases will help you get the right information.

  • ¿Qué hora tienes? – What time is it?
  • ¿Qué has dicho? – What did you say?
  • ¿Puede repetirlo?– Can you say that again?
  • ¿Cuánto cuesta eso? – How much does it cost?
  • ¿Está desocupada esta silla? – Is this seat taken?
  • ¿Vienes seguido por aquí? – Do you come here often?
  • ¿Dónde está [insert name of person/place/thing]? – Where is […]?

Many questions can be answered with a simple yes or no and here’s how you say it:

  • – Yes
  • No – No
  • Quizás/Tal vez – Maybe/Perhaps

Ordering at a Restaurant in Spanish

Yes, you can always point at a menu item and use intensive gesturing to communicate your order. But wouldn’t it be nicer to speak to the wait staff in their native language and explain what you’d like to eat or drink? We thought so. The basic question you can expect from the waiter is:

  • ¿Qué vais a ordenar (o pedir)? – What will you order?

Your answer will be:

  • Yo voy a perdir/ordenar + [food / drinks] – I will order + [food / drinks]

You can also use the following phrases to order:

  • Quisiera… – I would like…
  • ¿Puede darme…? – May I have some…?
  • ¿Qué me aconseja? – What would you recommend?

Not sure what to order and would like to see a menu? No problem!

  • Perdona, ¿nos traes la carta, por favor? – Excuse me, could you bring us the menu, please?

Food and Drink Items in Spanish

Learning the following list of various foods and drinks will guarantee that you never go hungry. We’ll save fancier items for another article. These are just the basics.

  • Cerveza – Beer
  • Vino – Wine
  • Café – Coffee
  • Con leche – With milk
  • Negro – Black
  • Descafeinado – decaffeinated
  • Agua – Water
  • Huevos – Eggs
  • Queso – Cheese
  • Mantequilla – Butter
  • Pan tostado – Toasted bread
  • Pescado – Fish
  • Carne de res – Beef
  • Cerdo – Pork
  • Pollo – Chicken
  • Pavo – Turkey
  • Arroz – Rice
  • Tomate – Tomato
  • Papa – Potato
  • Banano – Banana
  • Manzana – Apple

Other Useful Phrases in Spanish You Can Use in a Café/Restaurant:

  • ¿Dónde está el baño?– Where is the bathroom?
  • Nada más, gracias – Nothing more, thank you
  • ¿Nos trae la cuenta por favor? – Will you bring us a check, please?
  • La cuenta, por favor – Check, please
  • ¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito? – Do you accept credit cards?

Phrases in Spanish for Special Occasions

If you got invited to a birthday party, a wedding, or another special occasion, you should learn a few key phrases to feel more comfortable:

  • ¡Feliz cumpleaños! – Happy birthday!
  • ¡Que todos tus deseos se hagan realidad! – May all your wishes come true!
  • ¡Felicidades! – Congratulations!
  • ¡Felicidades por el nacimiento de su niño/niña! – Congratulations on the arrival of your baby boy/girl!
  • ¡Feliz aniversario! – Happy anniversary!
  • ¡Feliz navidad! – Merry Christmas!
  • ¡Feliz año nuevo! – Happy New Year!
  • ¡Felices Fiestas! – Happy Holidays!
  • ¡Felicidades por tu graduación! – Congratulations on your graduation!
  • ¡Buen trabajo! – Good job!
  • Bien hecho – Well done
  • Mis condolencias para la familia – My condolences for the family
  • Recupérate pronto – Wish you a speedy recovery

How To Be Polite in Spanish

Whether you accidentally bump into someone on the street or would like to thank a waiter for their service, it’s a good idea to brush up on some polite phrases, like the ones below:

  • Gracias – Thank you
  • De nada – You’re welcome
  • No hay de qué – No problem
  • Disculpe/Con Permiso – Excuse me
  • Lo siento – I’m sorry

And there you go. By learning these words and phrases in Spanish, you will be able to introduce yourself to new people, learn more about them, buy stuff in a store, set meetings, order at a restaurant, attend special occasions, and more. Stay tuned as we share more useful phrases and tips for learning Spanish.

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