Well the first time you are likely to come into contact with a Spanish speaker they are probably going to greet you and it is nice if you can just return their greeting in their language. As you know first impressions mean a lot and that is a good reason to learn a few of these common greetings before traveling to an area where Spanish is spoken.
Just a basic knowledge of Spanish can make your exchange a bit smoother. After all, we really should remember that we are in their country and should not expect them to be able to speak in English.
Keep in mind, some phrases may vary from location to location, and it may depend on the age or social status of the person you are speaking to but most will understand you without any trouble.
¡Vamos! (Let’s go!)
You are likely to be greeted with:
Hola – Hello, Hi
Buenos días (which is sometimes shortened to buen día) – good morning
Buenas tardes – good afternoon/evening
Buenas noches – good night
All you have to do is say one of the above back to them.
You may also be welcomed with
Bienvenido (male), Bienvenida (female), Bienvenidos (more than one male or a mixed group), Bienvenidas (more than one female) – welcome
You may also be greeted with the more informal
¿Qué pasa? ¿Qué hay? ¿Cómo te va? ¿Cómo le va? ¿Qué tal?– which are like “how’s it going?”. In Mexico you could hear ¿Qué hubo? ¿Qué onda?
When you come to leave you can say:
Adiós or the more informal Chau (which sounds like the Italian Ciao) – goodbye
or as The Terminator would say Hasta la vista – be seeing you
Hasta luego or hasta pronto - see you soon
You may be asked ¿Cómo se llama usted? – What is your name? You could reply Me llamo Roberto or Mi nombre es Jackie – My name is …
Now if you are asking the question you would use the above in most circumstances but if you are talking to a child say ¿Cómo te llamas?
If you have been introduced to somebody it is nice to say “it is a pleasure to meet you” – Mucho gusto or Encantado (if you are a man) or Encantada (if you are female).
Por favor – Please
Gracias or Muchas Gracias – Thank you or Thank you very much
No hay de qué or De nada – No problem, you’re welcome
Perdón or Perdóneme – Sorry or Excuse me
Lo siento – I am sorry
Here are a few phrases that will help you get what you want and pay the bill.
¿Qué desea? – Can I help you?
Quisiera comprar … – I would like to buy
¿Algo más? – Anything else?
¿Eso es todo? – Is that all?
No – No
Si – Yes
¿Tiene …? – Do you have…
¿Tiene otro? – Is there another one?
¿Tiene otro más barato? – Is there a cheaper one?
¿Cuánto cuesta? – How much does it cost?
¿Cuánto debo? – How much do I owe?
¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito? – Do you accept credit cards?
Ordering food & drink
Una mesa para dos, por favor – a table for 2 please
¿Qué va a tomar? or ¿Qué desean Ustedes? – What would you like?
¿Puedo ver el menú, por favor? – Can I see the men please?
Quisiera … – I’ll have …
¿Desean algo de postre? – Would you like dessert?
¿Para beber? – And to drink?
me gustaría … – I would like…
un vaso de … – A glass of …
una botella de … – A bottle of …
la cuenta, por favour – the check please
Don’t forget por favor and gracias! (please and thank you)
Explaining that you only speak a little Spanish
Nobody will mind if you say that you are a novice at learning Spanish. The following phrases will come in useful and always try to understand what is being said in Spanish before going back to English or gestures.
Hablo un poco español – I speak a little Spanish
No entiendo – I don’t understand
Repítalo, por favor – Repeat it please
Un poco más lento, por favor – a little slower please
Escríbamela, por favor - please write it down
What is next?
If you want to learn more Spanish phrases then I suggest you head over to Rocket Languages, where you will find plenty of free help. But if you are really serious about learning Spanish then I suggest that you invest in a good Spanish course, such as that offered by Rocket Languages. If you go to the official Rocket Spanish site today you will find discounts of at least 25% off their recommended price, or if you are still not sure then there is free 6 day trial. What have got to lose? Click here to take advantage of these great offers now!