20 Popular Spanish Expressions

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Sometimes people speak to us in Spanish and we're like:
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Whether it was today in class, last week, or ten years ago, we've all been there. Here are 20 of the most popular Spanish words and phrases to help you fake it 'til you make it. With some practice, you'll be having great conversations in Spanish in no time!

1. ¿Cómo estás? = How are you?

It'll roll right off your tongue after hola.

Example:
Friend: Hola, ¿cómo estás? (Hi, how are you?)
You: Bien, gracias, ¿y tú? (Good, thanks, and you?) alt

2. Buenos días = Good morning

This greeting is always a great way to start off the day!

Example:
Friend: ¡Buenos días! ¿Quieres venir conmigo a la playa hoy? (Good morning! Do you want to come to the beach with me today?)
You: ¡Buenos días! Sí, pero primero tengo que hacer mi tarea. (Good morning! Yes, but I have to do my homework first.) alt

3. Buenas tardes = Good afternoon / evening

You can say buenas tardes any time in the afternoon or evening!

Example:
Ice Cream Man: ¡Buenas tardes! ¿Puedo ayudarles con algo? (Good afternoon! Can I help you with something?)
You: Sí, queremos dos helados de chocolate por favor. (Yes, we want two chocolate ice creams please.) alt

4. Buenas noches = Good night

This phrase is a farewell instead of a greeting, so only say it when you're calling it a night!

Example:
Friend: Hoy fue muy divertido. Debemos ir a la playa y comer helado más a menudo. (Today was really fun. We should go to the beach and eat ice cream more often.)
You: Sí, estoy de acuerdo. Pero ahora tengo que regresar a casa – ¡buenas noches! (Yes, I agree. But now I have to return home – good night!) alt

5. Hasta pronto = See you soon

Also a farewell, hasta pronto is often used in casual settings.

Example:
Friend: Me voy a Miami. ¡Hasta pronto! (I'm going to Miami. See you soon!)
You: ¡Ciao! (Bye!) alt

6. Hasta luego = See you later

Similar to hasta pronto, hasta luego is also a common way to bid farewell. The slight difference is that hasta luego tends to be used in situations where you're not sure when you'll next see each other.

Example:
Shopkeeper: Gracias por tu visita. ¡Regresa pronto! (Thanks for your visit. Come back soon!)
You: ¡Por supuesto! ¡Hasta luego! (Of course! See you later!) alt

7. Me llamo... = My name is...

You always gotta know how to introduce yourself.

Example:
Stranger: Hola, soy María. ¿Vienes aquí a menudo? No te he visto antes. (Hi, I'm Maria. Do you come here often? I haven't seen you before.)
You: Hola, me llamo Raúl. La verdad es que es mi primera vez aquí en este café. ¿Tienes recomendaciones para bebidas? (Hi, my name is Raúl. The truth is that it's my first time here in this cafe. Do you have any drink recommendations?) alt

8. Gracias = Thank you

If nothing else, know this word. Politeness is key!

Example:
Friend: Gracias por toda tu ayuda. No hubiera podido escalar esa montaña sin ti. (Thanks for all your help. I couldn't have climbed that mountain without you.)
You: ¡No, gracias a ti! No hubiera podido escalarla sin la distracción de tus canciones chistosas. (No, thank you! I couldn't have climbed it without the distraction of your funny songs.) alt

9. De nada = You're welcome

After thank you, comes you're welcome!

Example:
Friend: Gracias por venir conmigo al supermercado. Es muy aburrido cuando voy solo, pero contigo fue divertido. (Thanks for coming with me to the supermarket. It's really boring when I go alone, but with you it was fun)
You: De nada. ¡Sí, corriendo por la tienda con el carrito fue muy divertido! (You're welcome! Yeah, it was really fun running through the store with the cart!) alt

10. Perdón = Excuse me

Don't be a bother – excuse yourself.

Example:
Stranger: Perdón, ¿hay una estación de tren por aquí? (Excuse me, is there a train station around here?)
You: Sí, hay una al lado del supermercado en la próxima esquina. (Yes, there's one by the supermarket on the next corner.) alt

11. Por supuesto = Of course

A horse is a horse, of course of course!

Example:
Classmate: Perdón, pero ¿podrías prestarme un lápiz? (Excuse me, but could you lend me a pencil?)
You: ¡Por supuesto! Tengo millones. (Of course! I have millions.) alt

12. ¡Feliz cumpleaños! = Happy birthday!

Say this to your Latino friends on their birthday!

Example:
Friend: ¡Feliz cumpleaños a tu hermana! Creo que puedo venir a la fiesta el viernes. (Happy birthday to your sister! I think I can come to the party on Friday.)
You: ¡Gracias, le pasaré el mensaje! Por favor ven a la fiesta – vamos a tener demasiada comida. (Thanks, I'll pass along the message! Please come to the party – we're going to have too much food.) alt

13. ¿Cuántos...? = How many...?

Too many too count!

Example:
Friend: Hoy es el cumpleaños de tu hermana. ¿Cuántos años cumple? (Today is your sister's birthday. How old is she turning?)
You: ¡Sí, hoy cumple 12 años! (Yes, today she turns 12!) alt

14. ¿Cuánto...? = How much...?

Beware of the subtle difference between cuántos (how many) and cuánto (how much).

Example:
You: ¿Cuánto cuesta esta camisa? (How much does this shirt cost?)
Shopkeeper: $20, pero puedes comprar dos por $30. ($20, but you can buy two for $30.) alt

15. No sé = I don't know

When you're unsure of the answer, this is a safe response.

Example:
Professor: ¿Quien descubrió cómo ordeñar una vaca? (Who discovered how to milk a cow?)
You: Esa es una buena pregunta. No sé. (That is a good question. I don't know.) alt

16. Eres bella = You are beautiful

Thanks for the flattering compliment!

Example:
Friend: Juan me dijo que piensa que eres bella. (Juan told me that he thinks you're beautiful.)
You: Ah, ¿de verdad? ¡Juan es tan guapo! (Oh, really? Juan is so handsome!) alt

17.Te amo = I love you

Beware of the subtle difference in Spanish between te quiero (what you say to any loved one) and te amo (what you say to someone you're in a partnership or relationship with).

Example:
You: Te amo. (I love you)
Taco: ... (...) alt

18. Te extraño = I miss you

I miss you too!

Example:
Mother: No te he visto en siglos. ¡Te extraño! (I haven't seen you in ages. I miss you!)
You: Mamá, nos vimos ayer. (Mom, we saw each other yesterday.) alt

19. ¡Buena suerte! = Good luck!

Break a leg!

Example:
Friend: ¿Hoy tienes tu examen de matemáticas, verdad? ¡Buena suerte! (You have your math exam today, right? Good luck!)
You: ¡Gracias! La necesitaré. (Thanks! I'll need it.) alt

20. ¡Buen trabajo! = Good job!

You did it!

Example:
Friend: ¿Qué? ¿Sacaste 100% en tu examen? ¡Buen trabajo! (What? You got 100% on your exam? Good job!)
You: Ah, debemos marcar este día como un día monumental en la historia. (Ah, we should mark this day as a monumental day in history.) alt


With some practice, you can start using these popular words and phrases in your Spanish class, and when traveling to a Spanish-speaking country. You'll be a fluent Spanish speaker before you know it!


Related articles:
* Top 20 Most Popular Spanish Words
* Top 20 Most Translated English Words

Image citations:
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