48 common Spanish phrases to survive any situation

November 10, 2023

Keen to learn Spanish? Jumpstart your language journey with some basic Spanish phrases that will help you chat with native speakers in everyday situations.

Whether you’re studying Spanish, planning a trip to a Spanish speaking country, or want to impress a new Spanish amigo, learn these essential Spanish phrases to ensure the conversation progresses past hola

Whether you want to learn how to introduce yourself, ask for directions or order a delectable meal, we’ve put together a list of the essential Spanish phrases that will help you survive your first Spanish conversation in any situation! 

Remember: you don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to get by. Learning even just a couple of basic Spanish phrases will go a long way. 

8 basic Spanish greetings

A good first impression always starts with an opener – a small gesture to break the ice. So if you only learn one Spanish phrase, make sure it’s one of these.

  1. ¡Hola! – Hello!
  2. Buenos días – good morning
  3. Buenas tardes – good afternoon
  4. ¡Buenas! – Hi there! (a more informal and laidback approach; use it with friends or family, at any time of day)
  5. Adiós – goodbye 
  6. ¡Hasta luego! – See you later!
  7. Me llamo … – My name is ….
  8. Encantada/o de conocerte – Nice to meet you

Want to learn more Spanish phrases?

Don’t limit yourself to just saying “Hola!” in Spanish. With Busuu’s free expert-designed online courses, you can enrich your vocabulary and discover a world of useful Spanish phrases. Get started today!

Start learning for free


6 polite Spanish phrases

“Please” and “thank you” are two magical words that go a long way in English speaking countries. 

Especially in the UK, “sorry” is used a lot, ,even when you don’t actually mean it, or when it’s not even your fault. 

But Spanish speakers don’t tend to overdo politeness with niceties, like por favor or gracias. Use these six Spanish phrases half as much as you would in English, and you’ll sound a bit more like a local!

  1. Gracias – thank you
  2. Muchas gracias – thank you so much
  3. De nada – you’re welcome
  4. Por favor – please
  5. Disculpe – excuse me
  6. Lo siento – I’m sorry

7 useful Spanish phrases that’ll help you survive)

Even with a vocabulary full of Spanish phrases, there’ll come a time when you get stuck. 

You might get a response that’s delivered so fast that you didn’t quite catch it, or one that uses structures and vocab that are currently a little too advanced for your liking.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed. But it’s perfectly okay not to understand everything at the beginning.  

So these seven useful phrases will help you ask someone to repeat what they said, or say it slower. The last one is especially helpful  when you have no clue what to say. All bases = covered.

  1. No entiendo – I don’t understand
  2. Más despacio, por favor – slower, please
  3. ¿Puede repetir? – Can you repeat?
  4. ¿Qué significa…? – What does … mean? 
  5. No sé – I don’t know
  6. No hablo español – I don’t speak Spanish
  7. ¿Habla inglés? – Do you speak English?

Want more than just a few common Spanish phrases to use while traveling?

Check out our latest article which includes Spanish travel phrases and continue learning with Busuu’s free online travel courses today!

Start learning for free


11 Spanish phrases for travel

With so much to take in and so little time to do it in, at some point or another during your trip you’re going to get lost – and you’re going to need to ask for directions.

Start with these 11 useful Spanish phrases for travel: 

  1. ¿Dónde está el baño? – Where is the bathroom?
  2. ¿Dónde está el restaurante? – Where is the restaurant?
  3. ¿Dónde está la calle…? – Where is … street?
  4. ¿Dónde hay un restaurante? – Where can I find a restaurant?
  5. ¿Dónde hay una estación de metro? – Where can I find a metro station?
  6. A la derecha – on the right
  7. A la izquierda – on the left
  8. Al final – at the end
  9. En la esquina – in the corner
  10. Aquí – here
  11. Allí – there  

5 Spanish weather phrases

If all else fails, talking about the weather is the safest topic for small talk all around the world. These five Spanish weather phrases will help you break the ice when meeting someone new.

  1. ¿Cómo está el tiempo? – How’s the weather?
  2. Hace calor – It’s hot
  3. Hace frio – It’s cold
  4. Está lloviendo  – It’s raining
  5. ¡Ay, qué calor! – Oh, it’s so hot!

11 Spanish phrases to use at a restaurant

Food, glorious food. Eating out and trying Spanish delicacies are memorable moments worth savouring.

From ordering food and drinks to asking for the bill, here are 11 of the most useful phrases you will need in any bar or restaurant:

  1. Quiero – I want
  2. Quiero un café, – I’d like a coffee.
  3. Quisiera un billete de ida y vuelta. – I’d like a return ticket.
  4. Un café con leche, por favor. –A latte, please.
  5. Una caña, por favor. – A beer, please.
  6. ¡Salud! – Cheers!
  7. ¿Me pone…? – Can I have…?
  8. ¿Me pone un café? – Can I have a cup of coffee?
  9. El menú, por favor – The menu, please.
  10. La cuenta, por favor. – I’ll have the bill, please.
  11. ¿Cuánto es? – How much is it?

Our 3 insider tips:
1. Forget about una cerveza. Una caña is what locals actually say when they’re ordering a beer in Spain. It’s a draft beer, usually half a pint. 
2. At the end of a meal in a restaurant, you ask for la cuenta.
3. But if you’re in a bar and you’re paying for your drinks or food at the bar, just ask the waiter ¿Cuánto es?. Or to sound even more authentic, ¿Me cobra?

We now pronounce you officially ready for your first Spanish conversation! 

With these common Spanish phrases in your vocabulary, we know you’ll do great! 

¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)

Want to keep this learning trend going?

Keep going with Spanish, or try one of our 13 other language courses on the Busuu app. 

Learn languages with Busuu's award-winning app

We think you might also like…

Learn a language