Basic Spanish Phrases

Hola, ¿qué tal?

Essential Spanish Phrases

You’ve booked your ticket and are looking forward to exploring Granada. But you are afraid that the language will get in the way of really enjoying the trip. There’s a simple solution to your dilemma, Learn basic Spanish!
Now, here are the basic most common Spanish travel phrases that will help you communicate with the locals.
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Most Useful Spanish Travel Phrases


Spanish-speaking countries are very polite societies and you must always be courteous and say “hello” and “how are you?”. And don’t worry about making mistakes.

Good morning – Buenos días (bway nos  dee ahs)
Good afternoon – Buenas tardes (bway nahs  tar days)
Good evening – Buenas noches (bway nahs  noh chayss)
Hola (oh  lah) is “hi” and you can say that with people you know.
¿Cómo está? (coh moh  es tah) is “how are you?” if you don’t know someone and ¿Cómo estás? (coh moh  es tahs) if you do know them.
If they ask you how you are, you can say “good, thank you”  “bien, gracias” (bee ayn, grah cee ahs) because you, too, are a polite person.
Don’t ever forget:  Please – Por favor (por  fah vohr) – and Thank you – Gracias (grah cee ahs).  These are VERY IMPORTANT words in Spanish.
When you are introduced to someone, you say “Mucho gusto” (moo choh goos toh) and they will say the same thing back to you.  It means, “nice to meet you.”
¿Habla inglés? (ahblah  een glays)? – Do you speak English?  While it is never correct to assume that someone speaks English, you can ask if they do and they will like you so much better for asking in Spanish.

I want, I don’t want – Yo quiero, yo no quiero (yoh  kee ayr oh,  yoh noh  kee ayr oh)
I would like (more polite) – Me gustaría (may goo stah ree ah)
Where is – ¿Dónde está? (dohn des tah)
How much does it cost – ¿Cuánto cuesta? (cwahn toh cways tah)?
What time is it? – ¿Qué hora es? (kay orah ess)?
Do you have? – ¿Tiene? (tee ayn ay)?
I have, I don’t have – Yo tengo, yo no tengo (yoh  tayn goh,  yoh  noh tayn goh)
I understand, I don’t understand – Yo entiendo, yo no entiendo (yoh  ayn tee ayn doh,  yoh  noh ayn tee ayn doh)
Do you understand? – ¿Entiende? (ayn tee ayn day)?

I want a ticket, a hotel, a taxi – Yo quiero un boleto, un hotel, un taxi (yoh kee ayr oh oon boh lay toh, oon oh tayl,  oon tahk see)

Common Phrases

Where is a restaurant? – ¿Dónde está un restaurante?  (dohn days tah  oon rays tore rahn tay)?
A train? – ¿Un tren? (oon trayn)?
The street … ? – ¿La calle … ? (lah cah yay)?
A bank? – ¿Un banco? (oon bahn coh)?
Where is the bathroom? – ¿Dónde está el baño? – (dohn days tah  ayl  ban yoh)?
I want a hotel, I want a hotel with a bathroom – Yo quiero un hotel, yo quiero un hotel con baño (yoh kee ayr oh oon  oh tel, yo kee ayr oh oon ohtel cohn bahn yoh)
I need – Yo necesito (yoh nay say see toh). Very useful, and you can supply the noun.
Yo necesito un hotel, un cuarto, un cuarto con baño – (yoh nay say see toh oon oh tayl, oon cwar toh, oon cwar toh cohn ban yoh)
Where is the exchange? ; Where is a bank? – ¿Dónde está una casa de cambio? (dohn days  tah  oon ah  cah sah day  cahm bee oh)
¿Dónde está el banco? (dohn  days tah  ayl bahn coh)?
Money – Dinero (dee nayr oh).
Once you have asked a question, someone will answer you in Spanish. Here are some simple directions that someone may give you, to turn right, to turn left, or to go straight ahead. Listen for these key words:

Right – A la derecha ( a  lah day ray chah)
Left – A la izquierda (ah  lah eez kee ayr dah)
Straight ahead – Derecho (Day ray choh)
At the corner – En la esquina (a lah ays kee nah)
In one, two, three, four blocks – A una cuadra, a dos, tres, cuatro cuadras –  (a oona dohss, trayss, cwah troh cwah drahs)

Dining Out: What do you want to eat or drink?  

Probably the most useful phrases you will need are in a restaurant. Ask for anything by using “quiero” (kee ayr oh) or “quisiera” (kee see ayr oh) – “I want” or “I would like.” And remember to say “por favor” and “gracias”!

A table – Una mesa (oona may sah)
A table for two, three, four – Una mesa para dos tres, cuatro (oona may sah pah rah dohss, trays, kwah troh)
A menu – Un menú (oon may noo)
Soup – Sopa (soh pah)
Salad – Ensalada (ayn sah lah dah)
Hamburger (Another necessity!) – Hamburguesa (ahm boor gay sah)
With ketchup, mustard, tomato, lettuce – Con salsa de tomate, mostaza, tomate, lechuga – ( cohn sahl sah day toh mah tay, mohs tah sah, toh mah tay, lay choo gah)
An appetizer – Una entrada (oona ayn trah dah)
Dessert – Un postre (oon pohs tray)
A drink – Una bebida (oona bay bee dah)
Water – Agua (ah gwah)
Red wine, white whine – Vino tinto (vee noh teen toh), vino blanco (vee noh blahn coh)
Beer – Cerveza (sayr vay sah)
Coffee – Un café (oon cah fay)
Calling a waiter or waitress  – ¡Señor! or ¡Señorita! (say nyor, say nyor eetah)
The check – La cuenta (lah cwayn tah)

More Information

Credit cards. Many places in smaller towns still do not take credit cards so make sure you have enough cash with you.  You can ask if you can use a credit card – una tarjeta de credito (oonah  tar hey tah  day cray dee toh).
If you have questions, you can always use a noun with a question. For example, you can pull out your credit card and say: ¿Tarjeta de credito? They will understand.
An all-purpose word: No funciona (noh foonk see oh nah) – It doesn’t work!  You can use this for a million circumstances!  Just point at the shower or whatever and say “¡No funciona!”

Practice saying everything aloud so that you will remember some of the phrases without looking, and learn how to say these phrases relatively quickly and smoothly. Just hearing them spoken aloud will also help in your comprehension when people are speaking to you.

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