8 Spanish Phrases Everyone Should Know How to Use
Visiting a Spanish-speaking country anytime soon? Or just want to bone up on your Español? These are the everyday terms to master.
Why we need pequeña cantidad (a little bit) of Spanish
We all need to know a little Spanish to get by whether we are heading to Barcelona, Mexico, another Spanish-speaking country or just staying put here in the U.S. for the foreseeable future. The United States is now the second largest Spanish-speaking country (Mexico is No. 1), according to the Spain-based nonprofit Instituto Cervantes. Fully 41 million native Spanish speakers live in the U.S., with an additional 11.6 million people who are bilingual, the group reports. If you took Spanish in high school or college, you can likely conjure up such arcane phrases as Juan y Maria van a la playa, (translation: Juan and Maria are going to the beach), but how often do these phrases really come up in casual conversation? Knowing these eight basic phrases and expressions will help you navigate the real world. After, check out these Italian phrases everybody should know.
Where is the bathroom?
¿Dónde esta el baño?
Pronounced: DOHN-deh ehs-TA el BAH-neeo
This question is bound to come up, so it’s a good one to keep in your hip pocket–especially if you are traveling with young children.
‘Llame al 911’
Pronounced: Ya-Me Al New-A-Vay Uno Uno
This is a phrase that we hope never to utter, but it’s good to know just in case.
How much does this cost?
Pronounced: KWAN-Toe KWES-tuh
Shopping makes the world go around, and whether you are visiting a foreign land purchasing souvenirs or somewhere closer to home, asking how much an item costs will certainly come in handy. Other phrases including Necesito cambio, por favor (I need change, please) or ¿Tiene cambio? (Do you have change?) can also help with transactions.
See you later!
Pronounced: AHS-ta looEH-go
“Hasta mañana” is another way of seeing see you later (or tomorrow), both which are customary and polite ways of saying good-bye in Spanish. Getting ready to pack your suitcase? These travel tips are actually no longer true.
Pronounced: booEHN-os DEE-as
This is the best way to greet a Spanish speaking person in the AM.
Buenas tardes (pronounced booEHN-as TAR-dehs) means “good afternoon,” and buenas noches (booEHN-as NO-chehs) is “good evening.”
Con permiso OR Perdóname
Pronounced: Kohn pehr-MEE-soh OR pehr-DOH-nah-meh
Interrupting is rude in any language or country. If you have a pressing question or concern, be as polite as possible by using these phrases. Here are more behaviors that are considered rude in other countries.
I am allergic to:
Soy alérgico(a) a _____ /
Pronounced: Soy Allergic-O a
My Child is allergic to:
Mi niño(a) es alérgico(a) a _____
Pronounced: Me Nee-NO S Allergic-O a
As many as 15 million Americans have food allergies including in every 13 children in the U.S., according to Food Allergy Research & Education, Inc. It’s important to be prepared when traveling or eating at a new restaurant. Fill in the blank with the allergen, whether peanuts, eggs, or dairy. (Peanut is cacahuete pronounced Ca-Ca-Wet-Tay. Maní—pronounced Man-ee—can also be used for ‘peanut.’)
I do not understand.
Pronounced: yoh no kom-PREN-doh
When in doubt, this is always good phrase to know.