Spanish phrasebook

Spanish (español), also known as Castilian (castellano), is the third most-spoken language in the world (after English and Mandarin Chinese), with around 540 million speakers. Originating in Spain and spoken by most residents there, it is also an official language in Mexico and all of Central America except Belize (though it is widely understood there as well), and of most countries in South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela. Spanish as a second language is generally understood to some level in most of the rest of the continent.

Regions with Spanish as an official language. They are mostly concentrated in Europe and the Americas.

In the Caribbean, Spanish is spoken in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. In the United States, Spanish is a co-official language of New Mexico, and is also a first language for many people especially in California, Texas, New York City, Chicago, South Florida, and most of the American Southwest. There are around 50 million Spanish speakers (including native and second language speakers) in the U.S., making it the country with the second-highest Spanish-speaking population in the world after Mexico. Additionally, Spanish is an official language in the African country of Equatorial Guinea. In Europe, it is a widely spoken unofficial language in Andorra and in the British territory of Gibraltar.

A Western Romance language, Spanish is closely related to and somewhat mutually intelligible with the other Romance languages, such as Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. English and Spanish share variants of approximately one third of their words (via Latin), although the pronunciation and spelling tend to be very different.

Be careful of false friends if you speak Portuguese or Italian. Examples of these include Portuguese embaraçada (embarrassed) vs Spanish embarazada (pregnant), Portuguese oficina (workshop) vs Spanish oficina (office), Italian burro (butter) vs Spanish burro (donkey) and Italian carta (paper) vs Spanish carta (letter).



Grammatical gender


Spanish nouns come in two genders, feminine and masculine. Grammatical gender is not tied to biological sex, so unlike English, even inanimate objects are assigned a gender (e.g. silla [chair] is feminine; libro [book] is masculine). The article before the noun depends on the gender and number: the definite article (which in English is the) is la for singular feminine nouns, el for singular masculine nouns, las for plural feminine nouns, and los for plural masculine nouns. The grammatical gender of nouns referring to people generally follow their sex, but there are nouns which remain of the same gender regardless of the sex of the person they are referring to (e.g. persona [person] is feminine even if referring to a male person). While this may sound confusing or disorientating to English speakers at first, the system can be understood quickly. Most nouns that end in -o are masculine, and most nouns that end in -a are feminine. Most nouns ending in consonants are also masculine, with some notable exceptions. For instance, every noun ending in -ción (e.g. información [information], nación [nation]) is feminine. If you make a gender-based mistake (e.g. saying el mesa rather than la mesa [the table]), Spanish speakers will still understand you, although you may be corrected. There are some common words which break these conventions (e.g. la mano [the hand]) or which can even take either gender depending on dialect (e.g. la/el mar [the sea]).

Verb tense


The Spanish verb tense system is fairly similar to English, but all six person/number combinations take different endings in the indicative. The formal you (usted in singular, ustedes in plural) takes a third-person verb. Adjectives must match the gender and number of the noun they're describing, so a man says encantado and a woman says encantada for being "delighted" on meeting you. Adjectives always inflect to match the gender and plurality, even if the noun has the "wrong"-looking ending; for example, "clean hands" is manos limpias, even though mano ends in an -o. The indirect object and the animate direct object are both marked by a: preguntar a alguien (to ask somebody).

When in doubt


The Spanish institution in charge of the language is the "RAE" (often pronounced as a word rather than the individual letters) the Real Academia Española or Royal Spanish Academy of the language founded in the 18th century with the perhaps somewhat antiquated motto to "clean, make certain and give splendor" to the language. While their linguistic prescriptivism may rub some the wrong way and despite efforts to include more Latin American voices it is still a largely eurocentric institution, one can be certain that any use endorsed by the RAE will be acceptable in all corners of the Spanish speaking world if in some cases a bit stilted. Still, the reluctance of the RAE to embrace change, particularly Anglophone loanwords or efforts at gender neutral language, has made it lose a bit of its influence even though it is still seen as the "gold standard" of the language in Spain, it is much less influential in Latin America where people tend to speak (and to some extent write) without giving heed to the linguistic commandments from Madrid.

Pronunciation guide


Spanish spelling has the pleasant characteristic of being very phonetic, with only a few clearly-defined exceptions. This means that if you know how to pronounce the letters of a word, it's relatively easy to sound out the word itself. Although Spanish has loan words that have been acquired from a variety of other languages, it is nothing like the hodge-podge that is English, with wildly unpredictable spelling, etymology, and grammatical rules which cannot be relied upon. Spanish also has a much stronger tendency to "localize" loanwords than English, which means spelling, pronunciation or both will be changed to better fit the logic of the Spanish language, resulting in words like "beisbol".

Spanish pronunciation varies by region, though speakers from different countries can generally understand each other without trouble. Dialects are usually grouped into the varieties spoken in Spain (which is called Iberian, Peninsular, or European Spanish) and the varieties spoken in Latin America, but there is substantial variation between each of these groups. The one most striking difference between all Latin American dialects and most Spanish dialects lies in the pronunciation of "z", and "c" before "e" or "i". While all Latin American dialects produce an "s" sound (thus making "caza" and "casa" homophones) most Spanish dialects in Spain produce a "th" sound (with the tongue between the teeth, represented as "θ") for those consonants.



The vowels in Spanish are short crisp sounds. They are not dragged out like some English vowels. Spanish makes no distinction between "long" and "short" vowels and Spanish-speakers are unlikely to even hear a difference. There is however a distinction between stressed and unstressed.

like 'a' in "father"
between 'ay' in "pay" and 'e' in "pet"
like 'ee' in "see"
like 'o' in "roll"
like 'u' in "rule"
like 'ee' in "see". Very rarely used at the middle or ending of words. Like "y" in young at the beginning of words.


like 'b' in "elbow" at the beginning of a word and after 'm': boca (mouth). A soft vibration sound almost like English 'v' elsewhere, specifically a 'v' sound but with your two lips pressed together in a 'b' or 'p' shape with the airflow of a 'v'.
In most cases it is pronounced like 'c' in "scare": calle (street). When followed by 'e' or 'i', it is like 's' in "supper" (in the Americas, the Canaries and some parts of the Philippines) or 'th' in "thin" (Spain): cine (cinema, pronounced by Latin Americans as SEE-nay, Spaniards as THEE-nay)
like 'ch' in "touch": muchacho (boy) [tʃ]
like 'd' in "dog" at the beginning of a sentence or after 'n' or 'l'; like the 'th' in "the" between vowels: de (of/from), pasado (the adjective or noun past). You're usually fine just using the 'th' sound as in "the".
like 'f' in "fine": faro (lighthouse)
when followed by 'e' or 'i', like a throaty 'h' (general = heh-neh-RAHL, meaning general), otherwise like 'g' in "ago" (gato, cat). In the clusters "gue" and "gui", the 'u' serves only to change the sound of the consonant and is silent (guitarra, guitar), unless it bears a diaeresis, as in "güe" and "güi" (pedigüeño, beggar). In between vowels, it tends to be weakened to a softer sound, [ɣ].
silent: hora= OR-ah (hour). Pronounced like a softer 'j' only in foreign words.
like a throaty 'h' in "ha": jamón (ham), the sound of Scottish or German "ch" as in "Loch" is close [x]
like 'k' in "ski" or silent like Spanish H: kilo knox The letter K is only used in foreign words (kárate, kilo, Kevin, Karen, etc.).
like 'l' in "love": lápiz (pen)
Varies substantially by dialect. The easiest widely understandable pronunciation is like 'y' in "year": llamar (to call). Pronounced like a 'zh' [ʒ] as in 'Zhivago' or 'sh' [ʃ] as in 'show' only in Argentina and Uruguay; in some other countries it may be pronounced like an English 'j' [dʒ] as in "ninja" or like 'ly' [ʎ] as in the English word "million". The [ʎ] pronunciation was once enforced in school education as the "only correct" form especially in Francoist Spain but is now retreating northwards in Spain and otherwise only prevalent among bilingual speakers whose other language (e.g. Catalan or Quechua) contains this phoneme.
like 'm' in "mother": mano (hand, a rare example of a word whose grammatical gender breaks the rules outlined above—"la mano" is correct)
like 'n' in "nice", and like 'n' in "anchor": noche (night), ancla (anchor)
like 'ny' in "canyon": cañón (canyon) [ɳ], piñata. This is a separate letter in the Spanish alphabet. Pronouncing this as "n" will usually be intelligible but can sometimes make an entirely separate word. For instance, año is "year" but ano is "anus"—you'll want to avoid saying that you have 33 anuses when you mean to say that you're 33 years old.
like 'p' in "spit": perro (dog)
like 'k' in "ski" (always with a silent "u"): queso, pronounced KAY-so (cheese)
r, rr
Spanish has two 'r' sounds, both of which are different from their counterpart in English. Some effort should be made to approximate each of them, to help listeners distinguish between perro ("dog") and pero ("but") — or perhaps to understand you at all:
  • single r: For American English speakers, like the dd in "ladder". This sound is created by putting the tip of the tongue up against where the front of the roof of the mouth meets the upper teeth, very similar to the action English speakers make to pronounce l or d. To some English speakers, it may sound a bit like a combined "d-r". Take care to pronounce r separately when it follows a consonant; a blended English tr will not be recognized in the Spanish word otro ("other"), which should be pronounced more like "OHT-roh". Try to avoid the common pitfall to distinguish the words by the vowel: There is no difference in the e sound of pero and perro and Spanish native speakers won't hear any if you try to make one.
  • rolled r: Written "r" at the beginning of the word, or "rr" between vowels. It's a trill, a multiply vibrating sound. Whereas most English speakers can learn to tap out a single r, many adults learning Spanish find this sound impossible to produce; in this case, pronouncing it like a Spanish r or fumbling out a d-r will be better understood than pronouncing it like a long English r.
like 's' in "son": sopa (soup); in Spain, it is often pronounced like a soft, palatised "sh" at the end of a word or syllable.
like 't' in "stop": tapa (top)
Pronounced the same way as b (see above): like 'b' in "elbow" at the beginning of a word and after 'n'; closer to the English 'v' sound elsewhere. To distinguish v from b when saying the name of the letter, one says "ve chica" or "be grande" to indicate which; native Spanish speakers may not hear the difference between "vee" and "bee".
like 'w' in "weight" in English words, whisky, (pronounced "WEESS-kee"). Like 'b' in "bed" in German words. This letter is never used in native Spanish words and you can live your entire life in a Hispanic country and never hear it outside of the word "whisky".
like 'x' in "flexible" (flexible). Like 'ss' in "hiss" at beginning of a word (xilófono, xylophone). Like a throaty 'h' in the words México, mexicano, Oaxaca, and oaxaqueño. Often found in words of indigenous American origin where it may not follow Spanish pronunciation logic.
like 'y' in "yes": payaso (clown). Like 'y' in "boy": hoy (now). Pronounced like a 'zh' [ʒ] as in 'Zhivago' or 'sh' [ʃ] as in 'show' only in Argentina and Uruguay: yo no sé (I don't know), pronounced "zhoh noh say".
like 's' in "supper" (Latin America, parts of Spain), like 'th' in "thin" (most of Spain) [θ]: zorro (fox). See c above.

Similarities in pronunciation between b/p/v can be difficult for gringos (English speakers). Many Spanish speakers are familiar with Anglo cultures, particularly in Mexico and Spain, where they interact with English-speakers on a regular basis, so they may have more familiarity with your inability to pronounce their words as they do. If you are visiting remote villages in the Andes, Hispanics there will be less likely to decode mispronunciations.



Most diphthongs can be approximated by blending the first vowel into the second in a single syllable. However, according to the Real Academía Española only diphthongs containing an i or u are "one syllable", all others are two syllables (this is relevant in questions of where to place accents)

ai, ay
like 'eye': baile (BAI-leh, dance)
like 'ow' in "cow": causa (KOW-sah, cause)
like 'eh-ah': fea (FEH-ah, ugly)
ei, ey
like 'ay' in "say": reina, rey. (RAY-nah, queen)
like 'eh-oo': euro ("EH-oo-roh")
like 'ee-yah': piano (pee-YAH-noh)
like 'ee-yeh': pie (PYEH, foot)
like 'ee-oh': dio (DYOH, gave)
like 'ee-oo': ciudad (see-oo-DAHD, city)
oi, oy
like 'oy' in "boy": soy (soy, I am)
like 'wa' in "wallet": cuatro (KWAH-troh, four)
like 'we' in "well": puedo (PWEH-doh, I can)
ui, uy
like 'wee' in "ween": ruido (RRWEE-doh, noise)
like "wo" in "won't": averiguo (ah-beh-REE-gwoh, I find out)

Accents and stress


Word stress can affect the meaning of the word and generally follows these rules:

  • If a word is marked with an accent, then that syllable receives the stress.
    • Additionally, if the accent marks a diphthong a syllable break occurs between the two vowels of the diphthong.
  • If a word is NOT marked with an accent, then
  1. if the word ends in a consonant other than N or S, the stress occurs on the last syllable.
  2. if the word ends in a vowel, N or S, the stress occurs on the next to last syllable.

Examples: (1st pronunciation: Iberian; 2nd pronunciation: Latin America; when there is only one, it's shared)

círculo (THEER-koo-loh/SEER-koo-loh) → circle
circulo (theer-KOO-loh/seer-KOO-loh) → I circulate
circuló (theer-koo-LOH/seer-koo-LOH) → he/she/it circulated
estás (ehs-TAHS) → you are
estas (EHS-tahs) → these
origen (oh-REE-hehn) → origin
orígenes (oh-REE-hehn-ehs) → origins
ciudad (thee-yoo-DAHD/see-yoo-DAHD) → city
ciudades (thee-you-DAH-dehs/see-yoo-DAH-dehs) → cities

An accent can also be used to differentiate between words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings:

él (he) el (the)
(tea) te (you [object])
(you [subject]) tu (your)
(me) mi (my)
(give [present subjunctive]) de (of/from)
(yes) si (if)
(I know) se (one [pronoun])
más (more/plus) mas (but)

Castilian and Latin American Spanish


In addition to pronunciation differences, there are significant lexical differences between the Spanish spoken in Spain and the Spanish spoken in Latin America. There are also often lexical differences between different Latin American Spanish dialects (e.g. pineapple is piña in Mexico and ananá in Argentina). In particular, the Spanish spoken in Argentina and Uruguay has strong Italian influences, and some items may be better known by their Italian names instead of their standard Spanish names (e.g. birra instead of cerveza for beer).

To overgeneralize, the higher the register of language (think highbrow newspapers or government communiques) the more similar American and Peninsular Spanish will be. However, "slang" and spoken language can diverge significantly, drawing reactions ranging from puerile snickering to baffled looks to simply not being understood when trying to use the wrong slang in the wrong country.

The table below gives examples of some of the common terms that differ between Spain and Latin America.

English Spain Latin America Notes
beef carne de vaca carne de res
car coche carro In Spain, carro is a vehicle that is pulled by an animal like a chariot or a wagon.
A neutral term that is understood in all Spanish-speaking areas is auto or automóvil.
computer ordenador computadora
juice zumo jugo
mobile phone móvil celular
potato patata papa

Phrase list


The pronunciation guides below approximate one Latin American accent. As mentioned above, the most salient difference in Castilian Spanish is that z, as well as c before i and e, is pronounced like the 'th' in "think" instead of the 's' in "sink". Good pronunciation cannot be represented by English approximations. If you pronounce these phrases as shown here, your amused listeners will probably understand you, but after listening to their pronunciation for a while, you can ignore what we have suggested here.



Common signs

Abierto (ah-bee-EHR-toh)
Cerrado (sehr-RAH-doh)
Entrada (ehn-TRAH-dah)
Salida (sah-LEE-dah)
Empuje/Empujar (ehm-POO-heh/ehm-poo-HAHR)
Tire/Tirar/Jale (TEE-reh/tee-RAHR/HAH-leh)
Baños (bahn-YOS) / Servicios (sehr-BEE-see-yohs) / Aseos (ah-SEH-ohs); also S.H. or S.S.H.H. for Servicios Higiénicos
Hombres (OHM-brehss) / Caballeros (kah-bah-YEH-rohss)
Mujeres (moo-HEH-rehss) / Damas (DAH-mahss) / Señoras (seh-NYOH-rahs)
No fumar/fume (noh foo-MAHR/FOO-meh)
Prohibido (pro-ee-BEE-doh)
Hello/Hi (informal)
Hola (OH-lah)
Have a good day
Que pase (formal)/pases (informal) un buen día (keh PAH-seh/PAH-sehs un BWEHN DEE-ah)
How are you? (informal)
¿Cómo estás? (KOH-moh ehs-TAHSS?)
How are you? (informal)
¿Qué tal? (keh TAHL)
How are you? (formal)
¿Cómo está usted? (KOH-moh ehs-TAH oos-TEHDH?)
Fine, thank you
Muy bien, gracias. (MOO-ee bee-YEHN, GRAH-see-YAHSS)
What is your name? (informal)
¿Cómo te llamas? (KOH-moh TAY YAH-mahs?)
What is your name? (formal)
¿Cómo se llama usted? (KOH-moh SAY YAH-mah oos-TEHD?)
Who are you? (informal)
¿Quién eres? (KYEN EH-rehs?)
Who are you? (formal)
¿Quién es usted? (KYEN ehs oos-TEHD?)
My name is ______
Me llamo ______ (MEH YAH-moh _____ )
I am ______ (some permanent or semi-permanent quality, e.g. nationality, gender, or occupation)
(Yo) soy ______ (YOH SOY ______)
I am ______ (some transient quality, e.g. mood, location, or orientation)
(Yo) estoy ______ (YOH eh-STOY ______)
Nice to meet you
Encantado/a (ehn-kahn-TAH-doh/ehn-kahn-TAH-dah)
It's a pleasure to meet you
Mucho gusto. (MOO-choh GOOS-toh)
I'd like to introduce you to....
Me gustaría presentarle a.... (meh goos-tah-REE-ah preh-sehn-TAHR-leh ah)
How old are you? (formal)
¿Cuántos años tiene usted? (KWAHN-tohs AH-nyohs TYEH-neh oos-TEHD)
I'm....years old.
Tengo....años. (TEHN-goh....AH-nyohs)
(Por) favor (POHR fah-BOHR)
Thank you
Gracias (GRAH-syahs)
You're welcome
De nada (DEH NAH-dah)
Sí (SEE)
No (NOH)
Excuse me (getting attention)
Disculpe (dees-KOOL-peh)
Excuse me (begging pardon)
Perdone (pehr-DOHN-eh)
Excuse me (may I get by?)
Permiso (pehr-MEE-so)
I'm sorry
Lo siento (LOH SYEHN-toh)
Adiós (ah-DYOHS) / Hasta luego (AHS-tah LWEH-goh)
I speak a little Spanish.
Hablo un poco español. (ah-BLOH oon POH-koh ehs-pah-NYOHL)
I can't speak Spanish (well)
No hablo (bien) español (noh AH-bloh (byehn) ehs-pah-NYOL)
Do you speak English? (informal)
¿Hablas inglés? (AH-blahs een-GLEHS?)
Do you speak English? (formal)
¿Habla usted inglés? (AH-blah oos-TEHD een-GLEHS?)
Is there someone here who speaks English?
¿Hay alguien que hable inglés? (ai ahl-GYEHN keh AH-bleh een-GLEHS?)
¡Ayuda! (ah-YOO-dah!) / ¡Socorro! (soh-KOHR-roh!)
Good morning
Buenos días (BWEH-nohs DEE-ahs)
Good afternoon / Good evening
Buenas tardes (BWEH-nahs TAR-dehs)
Good evening / Good night
Buenas noches (BWEH-nahs NOH-chehs)
Señora. (seh-NYOH-rah)
Señor. (seh-NYOHR)
Señorita. (seh-nyoh-REE-tah) (may be considered sexist in some more liberal circles)
I understand.
Entiendo. (ehn-TYEHN-doh)
I don't understand
No entiendo (NOH ehn-TYEHN-doh)
Could you speak more slowly please?
¿Podría usted hablar más despacio por favor? (poh-DREE-ah oos-TEHD ah-BLAHR MAHS dehs-PAH-syoh pohr fah-BOHR?)
Could you repeat that please?
¿Podría usted repetirlo por favor? (poh-DREE-ah oos-TEHD reh-peh-TEER-loh pohr fah-BOHR?)
How do you say _____ in Spanish / in English?
¿Cómo se dice _____ en español / en inglés? (CO-mo se DEE-seh _____ en ehs-pah-NYOHL / en een-GLEHS?
Where is the toilet?
¿Dónde está el baño? (DOHN-deh ehss-TAH EHL BAH-nyoh?) / In Spain: ¿Dónde están los aseos? (DOHN-deh ehs-TAHN lohs ah-SEH-ohs)


Leave me alone.
Déjame en paz. (DEH-hah-meh ehn PAHS)
Don't touch me!
¡No me toques! (noh meh TOH-kehs!)
I'll call the police.
Llamaré a la policía. (yah-mah-REH ah lah poh-lee-SEE-ah)
¡Policía! (poh-lee-SEE-ah!)
Stop! Thief!
¡Alto, ladrón! (AHL-toh, lah-DROHN!)
I need help.
Necesito ayuda. (neh-seh-SEE-toh ah-YOO-dah)
It's an emergency.
Es una emergencia. (ehs OO-nah eh-mehr-HEHN-syah)
I'm lost.
Estoy perdido/a (ehs-TOY pehr-DEE-doh/dah)
I lost my purse/handbag.
Perdí mi bolsa/bolso/cartera. (pehr-DEE mee BOHL-sah / BOHL-soh / kahr-TEH-rah)
I lost my wallet.
Perdí la cartera/billetera. (pehr-DEE lah kahr-TEH-rah / bee-yeh-TEH-rah)
I'm sick.
Estoy enfermo/a. (ehs-TOY ehn-FEHR-moh/mah)
I've been injured.
Estoy herido/a. (ehs-TOY heh-REE-doh/dah)
I need a doctor.
Necesito un médico. (neh-seh-SEE-toh OON MEH-dee-coh)
Can I use your phone?
¿Puedo usar su teléfono? (PWEH-doh oo-SAHR soo teh-LEH-foh-noh?)
Can I borrow your cell phone/mobile phone?
¿Me presta su celular/móvil? (meh PREHS-tah soo seh-loo-LAHR / MOH-beel?) ("celular" predominates in the Americas; "móvil" in Spain and Africa)
I need to call the embassy.
Necesito llamar a la embajada (neh-seh-SEE-toh yah-MAHR ah lah em-bah-HAH-dah)



In general, the Spanish numbering system is fairly straightforward. For numbers from 21–29, the final "e" of "veinte" is substituted with an "i", and the second digit is added to the back. For numbers from 31–99, the tens and ones are separated by "y" (e.g. 31: treinta y uno; 99: noventa y nueve). The "y" is not used to separate the hundreds from the tens, or the thousands from the hundreds. Numbers from 101 to 199 are named by using ciento + cardinal number. From 200 onwards, the hundreds are named by using the cardinal number + cientos (eg: 200: doscientos), but the numbers 500, 700 and 900 are exceptions to this rule and must be memorised. Naming of the thousands is straightforward, with cardinal number + mil. From the millions onwards, the plural for is used for numbers above 1,000,000. Also, unlike English, Spanish uses the long scale. Therefore, un billón and un trillón is not the same as the English "one billion" and "one trillion".

Counting in "hundreds" is unheard of for numbers larger than 1 000. This is also true for years. Instead of "nineteen hundred fifty three" a Spanish speaker would say "mil novecientos cincuenta y tres".

Keep in mind that opposite to English, "," is used as a decimal point when writing numbers in Spanish, while "." is used to separate groups of thousands. This means that the number written 1,000,000.5 in English will be written 1.000.000,5 in Spanish.

cero (SEH-roh)
uno (OO-noh)
dos (dohs)
tres (trehs)
cuatro (KWAH-troh)
cinco (SEEN-koh)
seis (SEH-ees)
siete (see-EH-teh)
ocho (OH-choh)
nueve (noo-EH-beh)
diez (dee-EHS)
once (OHN-seh)
doce (DOH-seh)
trece (TREH-seh)
catorce (kah-TOHR-seh)
quince (KEEN-seh)
dieciséis (dee-EH-see-SEH-ees)
diecisiete (dee-EH-see-see-EH-teh)
dieciocho (dee-EH-see-OH-choh)
diecinueve (dee-EH-see-NOO-EH-beh)
veinte (VAIN-teh)
veintiuno (VAIN-tee-OO-noh)
veintidós (VAIN-tee-DOHS)
veintitrés (VAIN-tee-TREHS)
treinta (TRAIN-tah)
treinta y uno
treinta y dos
cuarenta (kwah-REHN-tah)
cincuenta (seen-KWEHN-tah)
sesenta (seh-SEHN-tah)
setenta (seh-TEHN-tah)
ochenta (oh-CHEHN-tah)
noventa (noh-BEHN-tah)
cien (see-EHN)
ciento uno
ciento dos
doscientos (dohs-see-EHN-tohs)
doscientos uno
doscientos dos
trescientos (trehs-see-EHN-tohs)
quinientos (kee-nee-EHN-tohs)
mil (MEEL)
mil uno
mil dos
dos mil (dohs MEEL)
tres mil
un millón (oon mee-YOHN)
dos millones
mil millones (meel mee-YOH-nehs)
un billón (oon bee-YOHN)
number _____ (train, bus, etc.)
número_____ (NOO-meh-roh)
medio (MEH-dyoh)
menos (MEH-nohs)
más (MAHS)


ahora (ah-OH-rah)
después (dehs-PWEHS)
antes (AHN-tehs)
mañana (mah-NYAH-nah)
tarde (TAHR-deh)
noche (NOH-cheh)

Clock time


When speaking, clock times are normally told using the 12-hour clock. Instead of AM/PM, a clarification can be added: de la mañana (morning), de la tarde (afternoon), de la noche (evening/night) or de la madrugada (late night). Rarely do Spanish speakers use the 24-hour system in conversation. In writing, the practice differs, see below.

one o'clock
la una (lah OOH-nah)
it's one o'clock in the afternoon
es la una de la tarde

For numbers after one:

it's __ o'clock
son las __ (son lahs __)

To add the minutes, simply add the number at the end or use y (and) before the number:

las siete (y) diez (lahs see-EH-teh (ee) dee-EHS)

Special forms:

y cuarto (ee KUAR-toh). Not to be confused with quatro (four)
y media (ee MEH-dyah)
menos cuarto (MEH-nos KUAR-toh)
mediodía (meh-dyoh-DEE-ah)
medianoche (meh-dyah-NOH-cheh)


_____ minute(s)
_____ minuto(s) (mee-NOO-toh(s))
_____ hour(s)
_____ hora(s) (OH-rah(s))
_____ day(s)
_____ día(s) (DEE-ah(s))
_____ week(s)
_____ semana(s) (seh-MAH-nah(s))
_____ month(s)
_____ mes(es) (MEHS-(ehs))
_____ year(s)
_____ año(s) (AH-nyoh(s))


invierno (een-BYEHR-noh)
primavera (pree-mah-BEH-rah)
verano (beh-RAH-noh)
otoño (oh-TOH-nyoh)


hoy (oy)
ayer (ah-YEHR)
mañana (mah-NYAH-nah)
this week
esta semana (EHS-tah seh-MAH-nah)
last week
la semana pasada (lah seh-MAH-nah pah-SAH-dah)
next week
la semana que viene (lah seh-MAH-nah keh BYEH-neh)
Caution Note: The days of the week are not capitalized.
domingo (doh-MEEN-goh)
lunes (LOO-nehs)
martes (MAHR-tehs)
miércoles (MYEHR-koh-lehs)
jueves (HWEH-vehs)
viernes (VYEHR-nehs)
sábado (SAH-bah-doh)


Caution Note: All the months in Spanish are written in lower case letters.
enero (eh-NEH-roh)
febrero (feh-BREH-roh)
marzo (MAR-soh)
abril (ah-BREEL)
mayo (MAH-yoh)
junio (HOO-nyoh)
julio (HOO-lyoh)
agosto (ah-GOHS-toh)
septiembre (sehp-TYEHM-breh)
octubre (ohk-TOO-breh)
noviembre (noh-VYEHM-breh)
diciembre (dee-SYEHM-breh)

Writing time and date


In most Spanish-speaking countries, times are rendered in 24-hour format, with a colon separating hours and minutes, but in Colombia, Venezuela, the Central American countries, and the parts of the USA where Spanish is spoken, times are rendered in 12-hour format, using the colon and AM/PM.

9 o'clock AM
nueve de la mañana (spoken: NWEH-beh deh la mah-NYAH-nah), 9:00 (written 24-hour), 9:00 AM (written 12-hour)
12:30 PM
doce y media de la mañana (spoken: DOH-seh ee MEH-dyah deh la mah-NYAH-nah), 12:30 (written 24-hour), 12:30 PM (written 12-hour)
1 o'clock PM
una de la tarde (spoken: OOH-nah deh lah TAHR-deh), 13:00 (written 24-hour), 1:00 PM (written 12-hour)
10 o'clock PM
diez de la noche (spoken: dee-EHS deh la NOH-cheh), 22:00 (written 24-hour), 10:00 PM (written 12-hour)
2 o'clock AM
dos de la madrugada or dos de la mañana (spoken: DOHS deh la mah-droo-GAH-dah or DOHS deh la mah-NYAH-nah), 2:00 (written 24-hour), 2:00 AM (written 12-hour)

Dates are given in day-month-year form. All spoken and written, long and short forms follow this pattern:

7 May 2003
7 de mayo de 2003
23 October 1997
23 de octubre de 1997

Unlike in English numbers of years are always pronounced as normal numbers (i.e. in thousands, not hundreds) thus it is "mil novecientos noventa y dos" ("a thousand nine hundred ninety and two").

Day–month constructions (4 de julio, for example) are not usually abbreviated. In the rare cases that an abbreviation is used, the number of the month is not used, but its initial letter is. Usual examples are:

23 de febrero, date of a failed coup d'état in Spain (1981)
11 de septiembre, date of the attack to the Twin Towers (2001) (and of the Chilean coup in 1973).


negro (NEH-groh)
blanco (BLAHN-koh)
gris (GREES)
rojo (ROH-hoh)
azul (ah-SOOL)
amarillo (ah-mah-REE-yoh)
verde (BEHR-deh)
naranja (nah-RAHN-hah), anaranjado (ah-nah-rahn-HA-doh)
púrpura (POOR-poo-rah) , morado (moh-RAH-doh), violeta (vee-oh-LEH-tah)
rosa (ROH-sah)
marrón (mahr-ROHN) (used to describe color of objects) , café (kah-FEH) (used mostly for skin color, clothing and fabric), castaño (kahs-TAH-nyoh) (is used primarily for skin color, eye color and hair color).



The verb "to take", as in to take a bus or train is coger in Spain, and tomar in Latin America. The former is not used in this context in Latin America, where it is a vulgar sexual term.

Common signs

PARE, ALTO, STOP (PAH-reh, AHL-toh, stohp)
NO APARCAR / ESTACIONAR (noh ah-pahr-KAHR/ ehs-tah-syoh-NAR)
APARCAMIENTO / ESTACIONAMIENTO (ah-pahr-kah-MYEHN-toh/ ehs-tah-syoh-nah-MYEHN-toh)
PROHIBIDO EL PASO (pro-ee-BEE-doh el PAHS-oh)
DESPACIO (dehs-PAH-syoh)
DESVÍO (dehs-BEE-oh)
SENTIDO ÚNICO (sehn-TEE-doh OO-nee-koh)
SIN SALIDA (seen sah-LEE-dah)
PELIGRO (peh-LEE-groh)
carro (KAHR-roh) (in Latin America), coche (KOH-cheh) (in Spain), auto (OW-toh) (In Spain, carro refers to a vehicle pulled by an animal)
taxi (TAHK-see)
autobús (ow-toh-BOOS), guagua (GWAH-gwah) (regional, Caribbean only)
furgoneta (foor-goh-NEH-tah), combi (KOHM-bee)
camión (kah-MYOHN)
avión (ah-BYOHN), aeroplano (ah-eh-roh-PLAH-noh)
helicóptero (eh-lee-KOHP-teh-roh)
tren (trehn)
metro (MEH-troh)
tranvía (trahn-BEE-ah)
light rail
tren ligero (or a locally used term that applies only to the system at hand)
trole (TROH-leh), trolebús (troh-leh-BOOS)
bote (BOH-teh)
barco (BAHR-koh)
transbordador (trahns-bohr-dah-DOHR), "barco" or "ferry" is also used, especially in Latin America
bicicleta (bee-see-KLEH-tah), bici (short form, slightly informal)
motocicleta (moh-toh-see-KLEH-tah), moto (short form, slightly informal)

Bus and train



In Spanish, the term América typically refers to the entire American continent from Canada down to Chile, while the United States of America is properly referred to as los Estados Unidos. Saying "Soy americano." (literally "I am an American.") to mean that you're from the United States is fairly common but may nonetheless earn you a lecture on the meaning of "America", so you're better off saying "Soy estadounidense." (literally "I am a United Statesian").

Be cautious about how you say that you're from a particular state: A Californio is a person whose family was in California while that land was still part of a Spanish colony, a true Tejano may never have set foot in the modern US state of Texas, and the family of a Neomexicano was speaking Spanish in the 17th and 18th centuries. Try "Soy de California" (or Texas, or Nuevo México) instead.

How much is a ticket to _____?
¿Cuánto cuesta un billete (Spain) / pasaje (South America) / boleto (Mexico and Central America) a _____? (KWAHN-toh KWEHS-tah oon bee-YEH-teh/pah-SAH-heh/boe-LEH-toh ___)
One ticket to _____, please.
Un billete a _____, por favor. (oon bee-YEH-teh ah _______, pohr fah-BOHR.) ticket...
...billete de ida... (bee-YEH-te deh EED-ah)
...round-trip ticket...
...billete de ida y vuelta... (bee-YEH-te deh EED-ah ee VWEL-tah)
Where does this train/bus go?
¿Adónde va este tren/autobús? (ah DOHN-deh bah EHS-teh trehn/ ow-toh-BOOS?)
Where is the train/bus to _____?
¿Dónde está el tren/autobús hacia _____? (DOHN-deh ehs-TAH ehl trehn/ ow-toh-BOOS ah-syah_____?)
Does this train/bus stop in _____?
¿Se para este tren/autobús en _____? (seh PAH-rah EHS-teh trehn/ow-toh-BOOS ehn___?)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave?
¿Cuándo sale el tren/autobús para _____? (KWAHN-doh SAH-leh ehl trehn/ow-toh-BOOS PAH-rah ____?)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____?
¿Cuándo llegará este tren/autobús a _____? (KWAHN-doh yeh-gah-RAH EHS-teh trehn/ow-toh-BOOS ah____?)
How do I get _____ ?
¿Cómo puedo llegar _____ ? (KOH-moh PWEH-doh yeh-GAHR ____?) the train station?
...a la estación de tren? (....ah lah ehs-tah-SYOHN deh trehn?) the bus station? estación de autobuses? (....ah lah ehs-tah-SYOHN deh ow-toh-BOO-sehs?) the airport? aeropuerto? (ahl ah-eh-roh-PWEHR-toh?)
...downtown? centro? (ahl SEHN-troh?) the youth hostel? hostal? (ahl ohs-TAHL), Argentina and Uruguay: hostel (ahl HOHS-tehl) the _____ hotel? hotel _____ ? (ahl oh-TEHL?) the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate? consulado de Estados Unidos/ canadiense/australiano/británico? (ahl kohn-soo-LAH-doh deh ehs-TAH-dohs oo-NEE-dohs/ kah-nah-DYEHN-seh/ ows-trah-LYAH-noh/ bree-TAH-nee-koh)
Where are there a lot of...
¿Dónde hay muchos... (DOHN-deh eye MOO-chohs) (oh-TEH-lehs)
...restaurantes? (rehs-tow-RAHN-tehs)
...bares? (BAH-rehs)
...sites to see?
...sitios para visitar? (SEE-tyohs PAH-rah bee-see-TAHR)
Can you show me on the map?
¿Puede enseñarme/mostrarme en el mapa? (PWEH-deh ehn-seh-NYAHR-meh/mohs-TRAHR-meh ehn ehl MAH-pah?)
calle (KAH-yeh)
Turn left.
Gire/doble/da vuelta a la izquierda. (HEE-reh/DOH-bleh/dah VWEHL-tah ah lah ees-KYEHR-dah)
Turn right.
Gire/doble/da vuelta a la derecha. (HEE-reh/DOH-bleh/dah VWEHL-tah ah lah deh-REH-chah)
izquierda (ees-KYEHR-dah)
derecha (deh-REH-chah)
straight ahead
todo recto (TOH-doh REHK-toh) , siga derecho (SEE-gah deh-REH-choh)
towards the _____
hacia el/la_____ (HAH-syah ehl/lah)
past the _____
pasado el/la _____ (pah-SAH-doh ehl/lah)
before the _____
antes de _____ (AHN-tehs deh)
Watch for the _____.
busque el/la _____. (BOOS-keh ehl/lah)
intersección , cruce (een-tehr-sehk-SYOHN, KROO-seh)
norte (NOHR-teh)
sur (soor)
este (EHS-teh)
oeste (ooh-EHS-teh)
hacia arriba (AH-syah ahr-REE-bah)
hacia abajo (AH-syah ah-BAH-hoh)


¡Taxi! (TAHK-see)
Take me to _____, please.
Lléveme a _____, por favor. (YEH-beh-meh ah)
How much does it cost to get to _____?
¿Cuanto cuesta ir hasta/a _____? (KWAHN-toh KWEHS-tah eer AHS-tah/ah)
Leave me there, please.
Déjeme ahí, por favor. (DEH-heh-meh ah-EE, pohr FAH-bohr)

At the airport

Where is customs?
¿Dónde está aduanas? (DOHN-theh ehs-TAH ah-DWAH-nahs)
Where is passport control?
¿Dónde está el control de pasaportes? (DOHN-theh ehs-TAH ehl kohn-TROHL deh pah-sah-POHR-tehs)
Do you have anything to declare?
¿Tiene algo para declarar? (TYEH-neh AHL-goh PAH-rah deh-klah-RAHR)
I have nothing to declare.
No tengo nada para declarar. (NOH TEHN-goh NAH-dah PAH-rah deh-klah-RAHR)
I have something to declare.
Tengo algo para declarar. (TEHN-goh AHL-goh PAH-rah deh-klah-RAHR)
Where is the baggage claim area?
¿Dónde está el área para el reclamo de equipaje? (DOHN-theh ehs-TAH ehl AH-reh-ah PAH-rah ehl reh-KLAH-moh deh eh-kee-PAH-kheh)
Where are the international departures?
¿Dónde están las salidas internacionales? (DOHN-theh ehs-TAHN lahs sah-LEE-dahs een-tehr-nah-syoh-NAH-lehs)
Where are the arrivals?
¿Dónde están las llegadas? (DOHN-theh ehs-TAHN lahs yeh-GAH-dahs)
Where is gate____?
¿Dónde está la puerta____? (DOHN-deh ehs-TAH lah PWEHR-tah....)
Where is the information center?
¿Dónde está el centro de información? (DOHN-deh ehs-TAH ehl SEHN-troh deh een-fohr-mah-SYOHN)


Do you have any rooms available?
¿Hay habitaciones libres? (ai ah-bee-tah-SYOH-nehs LI-brehs?)
How much does a room cost for one person/two people?
¿Cuanto cuesta una habitación para una persona/para dos personas? (KWAHN-toh KWEHS-tah OO-nah ah-bee-tah-SYOHN PAH-rah OO-nah pehr-SOH-nah/PAH-rah dohs pehr-SOH-nahs?)
Does the room come with...?
¿La habitación viene con....? (lah ah-bee-tah-SYOHN BYEH-neh kohn?)
...sábanas? (SAH-bah-nahs?)
...a bathroom?
...un baño? (oon BAH-nyoh?)
...a telephone?
...un teléfono? (oon teh-LEH-foh-noh?)
...a TV?
...un televisor? (oon teh-leh-vee-SOHR?)
...with Internet access?
...con acceso al internet? (kohn ahk-SEH-soh ahl een-terh-NEHT?)
...with room service?
...con servicio a la habitación? (kohn sehr-BEE-syoh ah lah ah-bee-tah-SYOHN?)
...a double bed?
...una cama de matrimonio? (OO-nah KAH-mah mah-tree-MOH-nyoh?) (literally "marriage bed")
...a single bed?
...una cama sola? (OO-nah KAH-mah SOH-lah?)
May I see the room first?
¿Puedo ver la habitación primero? (PWEH-doh vehr lah ah-bee-tah-SYOHN pree-MEH-roh?)
Do you have anything quieter?
¿Tiene algo más tranquilo? (TYEH-neh AHL-goh MAHS trahn-KEE-loh?)
...más grande? (MAHS GRAHN-deh)
...más limpio? (MAHS LEEM-pyoh)
...más barato? (MAHS bah-RAH-toh)
OK, I'll take it.
Muy bien, la tomaré. (MOO-ee byehn, lah toh-mah-REH)
I will stay for _____ night(s).
Me quedaré ______ noche(s). (meh keh-dah-REH ___ NOH-cheh(s))
Can you suggest other hotels?
¿Puede recomendarme otros hoteles? (PWEH-deh reh-koh-mehn-DAHR-meh OH-trohs oh-TEH-lehs?)
Do you have a safe?
¿Hay caja fuerte? (eye KAH-hah FWEHR-teh?)
Is breakfast/supper included?
¿El desayuno/la cena va incluido/a? (ehl deh-sah-YOO-noh/lah SEH-nah bah een-kloo-WEE-doh/ah?)
What time is breakfast/supper?
¿A qué hora es el desayuno/la cena? (ah KEH OH-rah ehs ehl deh-sah-YOO-noh/lah SEH-nah?)
Please clean my room.
Por favor, limpie mi habitación. (pohr fah-BOHR, LEEM-pyeh mee ah-bee-tah-SYOHN)
Can you wake me at _____?
¿Puede despertarme a las _____? (PWEH-deh dehs-pehr-TAHR-meh ah lahs)
I want to check out.
Quiero dejar el hotel. (KYEH-roh deh-HAHR ehl oh-TEHL)


How much does it cost?
¿Cuánto cuesta? (KWAHN-toh KWEHS-tah?)
Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars?
¿Aceptan dólares estadounidenses/australianos/canadienses? (ah-SEHP-tahn DOH-lah-rehs ehs-tah-dow-oo-nee-DEHN-sehs/ows-trah-LYAH-nohs/kah-nah-DYEHN-sehs?)
Do you accept British pounds?
¿Aceptan libras esterlinas británicas? (ah-SEHP-tahn LEE-brahs ehs-tehr-LEE-nahs bree-TAH-nee-kahs?)
Do you accept euros?
¿Aceptan euros? (ah-SEHP-tahn eh-OO-rohs?)
Do you accept credit cards?
¿Aceptan tarjeta de crédito? (ah-SEHP-tahn tahr-HEH-tah deh KREH-dee-toh?)
Can you change money for me?
¿Me puede cambiar dinero? (meh PWEH-deh kahm-BYAHR dee-NEH-roh?)
Where can I get money changed?
¿Dónde puedo cambiar dinero? (DOHN-deh PWEH-doh kahm-BYAHR dee-NEH-roh?)
Can you change a traveler's check for me?
¿Me puede cambiar cheques de viaje? (meh PWEH-deh kahm-BYAHR CHEH-kehs deh BYAH-heh?)
Where can I get a traveler's check changed?
¿Dónde me pueden cambiar cheques de viaje? (DOHN-deh meh PWEH-dehn kahm-BYAHR CHEH-kehs deh BYAH-heh?)
What is the exchange rate?
¿A cuánto está el cambio? (ah KWAHN-toh ehs-TAH ehl KAHM-byoh?)
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)?
¿Dónde hay un cajero automático? (DOHN-deh eye oon kah-HEH-roh ow-toh-MAH-tee-koh?)
I need small change.
Necesito cambio pequeño. (neh-seh-SEE-toh KAHM-byoh peh-KEH-nyoh)
I need big bills.
Necesito billetes grandes. (neh-seh-SEE-toh bee-YEH-tehs GRAHN-dehs)
I need coins
Necesito monedas. (neh-seh-SEE-toh moh-NEH-dahs)


plato (PLAH-toh)
tazón/cuenco (tah-SOHN/KWEHN-koh)
cuchara (koo-CHAH-rah)
tenedor (teh-neh-DOHR)
drinking glass
vaso/copa (BAH-soh/KOH-pah)
cuchillo (koo-CHEE-yoh)
taza (TAH-sah)
platillo (plah-TEE-yoh)
servilleta (sehr-bee-YEH-tah)
A table for one person/two people, please.
Una mesa para una persona/dos personas, por favor. (OO-nah MEH-sah pah-rah OO-nah pehr-SOH-nah / dohs pehr-SOH-nahs pohr fah-BOHR)
I'd like to reserve a table for tonight/tomorrow.
Me gustaría reservar una mesa para esta noche/mañana. (meh goo-stah-REE-ah reh-ser-BAR OO-na MEH-sah pah-rah eh-stah NOH-cheh / mah-NYAH-nah)
Can I look at the menu, please?
Latin America: ¿Puedo ver el menú, por favor? (PWEH-doh behr ehl meh-NOO pohr fah-BOHR?); Spain: ¿Puedo mirar la carta, por favor? (PWEH-doh mee-RAHR lah KAHR-tah, pohr fah-BOHR)
Can I look in the kitchen?
¿Puedo entrar a la cocina? (PWEH-doh ehn-TRAHR ah lah koh-SEE-nah?)
Is there a house specialty?
¿Hay alguna especialidad de la casa? (ay ahl-GOO-nah ehs-peh-syah-lee-DAHD deh lah KAH-sah?)
Is there a local specialty?
¿Hay alguna especialidad regional/de la zona? (ay ahl-GOO-nah ehs-peh-syah-lee-DAHD reh-hyoh-NAHL/deh lah SOH-nah?)
I'm a vegetarian.
Soy vegetariano/-na. (soy beh-heh-tah-RYAH-noh/-nah)
I don't eat pork.
No como cerdo. (noh KOH-moh SEHR-doh)
I don't eat beef.
No como carne de vaca. (noh KOH-moh KAHR-neh deh BAH-kah)
I only eat kosher food.
Sólo como comida kosher. (SOH-loh KOH-moh koh-MEE-dah koh-SHEHR) (May not be understood, since "kosher" is as Spanish as "empanada" is English.)
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard)
¿Puede poner poco aceite/poca mantequilla/poca grasa/manteca? (PWEH-deh poh-NEHR POH-koh ah-SAY-teh/POH-kah mahn-teh-KEE-yah/POH-kah GRAH-sah/mahn-TEH-kah?)
fixed-price meal
comida precio fijo (koh-MEE-dah preh-see-oh fee-ho)
à la carte
a la carta (ah lah KAHR-tah)
desayuno (deh-sah-YOO-noh)
comida (koh-MEE-dah) (Spain, Mexico), almuerzo (ahl-MWEHR-soh) (South America)
dinner or supper
cena (SEH-nah) (everywhere)
bocado (boh-KAH-doh)
I want _____.
Quiero _____. (KYEH-roh)
I want a dish containing _____.
Quisiera un plato que lleve _____. (kee-SYEH-rah oon PLAH-toh keh YEH-beh)
pollo. (POH-yoh)
ternera (tehr-NEH-rah), vacuno (bah-KOO-noh), res (rehss), carne de vaca (KAHR-neh deh BAH-kah)
pescado (pehs-KAH-doh)
jamón (hah-MOHN) for any kind of ham, cured or not.
salchicha (sahl-CHEE-chah), vienesa (byeh-NEH-sah), Spain: embutido (ehm-boo-TEE-doh)
queso (KEH-soh)
huevos (WEH-bohs)
ensalada (ehn-sah-LAH-dah)
(fresh) vegetables
verduras (frescas) (behr-DOO-rahs (FREHS-kahs)), Spain: vegetales (frescos) (beh-kheh-TAH-lehs (FREHS-kohs))
(fresh) fruit
fruta (fresca) (FROO-tah (FREHS-kah))
pan (pahn)
tostada (tohs-TAH-dah)
fideos/tallarines (fee-DEH-ohs/tah-yah-REE-nehs)
arroz (ahr-ROHS)
frijoles (free-HOH-lehs), habichuelas (ah-bee-CHWEH-lahs), Spain: fabas/judías (FAH-bahs/khoo-DEE-ahs)
May I have a glass of _____?
¿Me puede poner/traer un vaso de _____? (meh PWEH-deh poh-NEHR/trah-EHR oon BAH-soh deh?)
May I have a cup of _____?
¿Me puede poner/traer una taza de _____? (meh PWEH-deh poh-NEHR/trah-EHR oo-nah TAH-sah deh?)
May I have a bottle of _____?
¿Me puede poner/traer una botella de _____? (meh PWEH-deh poh-NEHR/trah-EHR oo-nah boh-TEH-yah deh?)
café (kah-FEH) For coffee with milk, you need to ask for café con leche.
tea (drink)
té (TEH)
jugo (HOO-goh) (Latin America), zumo (THOO-moh) (Spain)
agua (AH-gwah); for non-carbonated water you may need to specify: agua sin gas (AH-gwah SEEN GAHS)
(bubbly) water
agua gaseosa (AH-gwah gah-say-OH-sah), agua con gas (AH-gwah kohn GAHS), or soda (SOH-dah) (if you say agua, if you ask at the bar, it will be tap water (for free), at the table it is normally bottled); Agua mineral (AH-gwah mee-neh-RAHL) is bottled mineral water.
cerveza (sehr-VAY-sah); birra (BEER-rah) (in Argentina)
red/white wine
vino tinto/blanco (BEE-noh TEEN-toh/BLAHN-koh)
May I have some _____?
¿Me puede dar un poco de _____? (meh PWEH-deh dahr oon POH-koh deh?)
sal (sahl)
black pepper
pimienta (pee-MYEHN-tah)
mantequilla (mahn-teh-KEE-yah) , manteca (mahn-TEH-kah) (in Argentina)
Excuse me, waiter/waitress? (getting attention of server')
¡camarero/a! (kah-mah-REH-roh/ah) (Spain), ¡mesero/a! (meh-SEH-roh/-rah) (Latin America), ¡mozo/a! (MOH-soh/sah) (Argentina and Uruguay). In some places (e.g. Nicaragua) you may simply whistle or make a sssss ssssss sound to get the attention of a waitress/waiter
I'm finished.
He acabado, terminé (heh ah-kah-BAH-doh, tehr-mee-NEH) (The first phrase can refer to the finishing of a completely unrelated physiological activity)
It was delicious.
Estaba delicioso/muy bueno/muy rico. (Arg.) (ehs-TAH-bah deh-lee-SYOH-soh/MOO-ee BWEH-noh/MOO-ee REE-koh)
Please clear the plates.
Puede llevarse los platos. (PWEH-deh yeh-BAHR-seh lohs PLAH-tohs)
The check, please.
La cuenta, por favor. (lah KWEHN-tah, pohr fah-BOHR)

You must ask for the bill. A gringo was known to have waited until 2 in the morning because he was too shy to ask :).

Bars and clubs

bar (building)
bar (m. bahr)
bar (counter)
barra (f. BAHR-rah)
taberna (tah-BEHR-nah)
club (kloob)
Could we dance here?
¿Podríamos bailar aquí? (poh-DREE-ah-mohs BAI-lahr ah-KEE?)
What time do you close?
¿A qué hora usted cierra? (ah KEH OH-rah oos-TEHD SYEHR-rah?)
Do you serve alcohol?
¿Sirve usted el alcohol? (SEER-beh oos-TEHD ehl ahl-koh-OHL?)
Is there table service?
¿Hay servicio a la mesa? (eye sehr-BEE-syoh ah lah MEH-sah?)
A beer/two beers, please.
Una cerveza/dos cervezas, por favor. (OO-nah sehr-BEH-sah/dohs sehr-BEH-sahs, pohr FAH-bohr)
A glass of red/white wine.
Un vaso de vino tinto/blanco. (oon BAH-soh deh BEE-noh TEEN-toh/BLAHN-koh)
A pint (of beer)
Una jarra de cerveza (normally it will be 500 mL, not really a pint); in Chile or Argentina un schop might be anywhere from 300 mL to 1 L; in Spain the most common is una caña which is 200 mL in a tube glass; you can also ask for un quinto (200 mL bottle) or un tercio (330 mL bottle)
A glass of draft beer
Un schop (oon SHOHP) (Chile and Argentina) / Una cerveza de barril (OO-nah sehr-BEH-sah deh bahr-REEL) (Mexico); in Spain you can ask for cerveza negra, not very common in Spanish bares, but easy to find in pubs (small club where just drinks are served).
_____ (liquor) and _____ (mixer).
_____ con _____. In Spain, cubata is coke with whiskey
A bottle.
Una botella. (OO-nah boh-TEH-yah)
whisky (WEES-kee)
vodka (BOHD-kah)
ron (rohn)
agua (AH-gwah)
tonic water
agua tónica (AH-gwah TOH-nee-kah)
orange juice
Latin America: jugo de naranja (HOO-goh deh NAH-rahn-hah), Spain: zumo de naranja (THOO-moh theh nah-RAHN-khah)
Coke (soda)
Coca-Cola (refresco) (KOH-kah-KOH-lah (reh-FREHS-koh))
Do you have any bar snacks?
¿Tiene algo para picar? (TYEH-neh AHL-goh PAH-rah pee-KARH) (In Spain they will give you tapas (TAH-pahs), depends a lot on the bar.)
A toast!
¡Un brindi! (oon BREEN-dee)
One more, please.
Otro/a ______, por favor. (OH-troh/ah pohr-FAH-bohr)
Another round, please.
Otra ronda, por favor. (OH-trah ROHN-dah, pohr FAH-bohr)
¡Salud! (sah-LOOD) (literally this means "health" and may also be said after someone sneezes. Occasionally, one might say ¡Salud, pesetas, y amor! [sah-LOOD, pay-SAY-tuhz, ee uh-MOR] or "health, wealth, and love".)
When is closing time?
¿Cuándo cierran? (KWAHN-doh SYEHR-rahn)


Do you have this in my size?
¿Tiene esto de mi talla? (TYEH-neh EHS-toh deh mee TAH-yah?)
How much is this?
¿Cuánto cuesta? (KWAHN-toh KWEHS-tah?)
That's too expensive.
Es demasiado caro. (ehs deh-mah-SYAH-doh KAH-roh)
Would you take ...?
¿Tomaría ...? (toh-mah-REE-ah)
caro (KAH-roh)
barato (bah-RAH-toh)
I can't afford it.
Es muy caro para mí. (ehs MOO-ee KAH-roh PAH-rah mee)
I don't want it.
No lo quiero. (noh loh KYEH-roh)
You're cheating me.
Me está engañando. (meh ehs-TAH ehn-gah-NYAHN-doh)
I'm not interested.
No me interesa. (noh meh een-teh-REH-sah)
OK, I'll take it.
De acuerdo, me lo llevaré. (deh ah-KWEHR-doh, meh loh yeh-bah-REH)
Can I have a bag?
¿Tiene una bolsa? (TYEH-neh OO-nah BOHL-sah)
Can you ship it to my country?
¿Puede enviarlo a mi país? (PWEH-dah ehn-BYAHR-loh ah mee pah-EES?)
I need...
Necesito... (neh-seh-SEE-toh)
...pilas/baterías (PEE-lahs/bah-teh-REE-ahs)
...cold medicine.
...medicamento para el resfriado. (meh-dee-kah-MEHN-toh PAH-rah ehl rehs-FRYAH-doh)
...preservativos/condones. (preh-sehr-bah-TEE-bohs/ kohn-DOH-nehs)
...English-language books.
...libros en inglés. (LEE-brohs ehn een-GLEHS)
...English-language magazines.
...revistas en inglés. (reh-VEES-tahs ehn een-GLEHS) English-language newspaper.
...un periódico/diario en inglés. (oon peh-RYOH-dee-koh/DYAH-ryoh ehn een-GLEHS) English-Spanish dictionary.
...un diccionario inglés-español. (oon deek-syoh-NAH-ryoh een-GLEHS-ehs-pah-NYOHL)
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen)
...analgésico (Aspirina, Ibuprofeno). (ah-nahl-HEH-see-koh (ahs-pee-REE-nah, ee-boo-proh-FEH-noh))
...a pen.
...una pluma/ un bolígrafo. (OO-nah PLOO-mah/ oon boh-LEE-grah-foh)
...postage stamps.
...sellos (SEH-yohs)(Spain)/estampillas (ehs-tahm-PEE-yahs)(Latin América).
...a postcard.
...una postal. (OO-nah pohs-TALH)
...a razor.
...una hoja/navaja de afeitar/rasuradora (machine) (OO-nah OH-hah/nah-BAH-hah deh ah-fay-TAHR/rah-soo-rah-DOH-rah)
...champú. (chahm-POO)
...stomach medicine.
.... medicamento para el dolor de estómago (meh-dee-kah-MEHN-toh PAH-rah ehl doh-LOHR deh ehs-TOH-mah-goh)
...jabón. (hah-BOHN)
...sunblock lotion.
...crema solar. (KREH-mah soh-LARH)
...tampones. (tahm-POH-nehs)
...a toothbrush.
... un cepillo de dientes. (oon seh-PEE-yoh deh DYEHN-tehs)
...pasta de dientes. (PAHS-tah deh DYEHN-tehs) umbrella.
...un paraguas/una sombrilla (oon pah-RAH-gwahs/ OO-nah sohm-BREE-yah)
...writing paper.
...papel para escribir. (pah-PEHL PAH-rah ehs-kree-BEER)



In Spain, most of the signs in major cities are by pictures instead of actual lettered signs so refer to a European travel guide which will contain the rules for road or city signs.

I want to rent a car.
Quiero alquilar un auto/coche/carro. (KYEH-roh ahl-kee-LAHR oon OW-toh/KOH-cheh/KAR-roh)
How much is it daily/weekly?
¿Cuánto es diario/semanal? (KWAHN-toh ehs DYAH-ryoh/seh-mah-NAHL?)
Do you provide road maps?
¿Ofrece mapas de carreteras? (oh-FREH-ceh MAH-pahs deh kahr-reh-TEH-rahs?)
Does that include insurance/mileage?
¿Eso incluye seguro/kilometraje? (EH-soh een-KLOO-yeh seh-GOO-roh/kee-loh-meh-TRAH-kheh?)
Can I get insurance?
¿Puedo contratar un seguro?
STOP (on a street sign)
STOP (stohp) (Spain), ALTO (AHL-toh) (México), PARE (PAH-reh) (Chile, Argentina, Perú, Colombia, Puerto Rico)
Ceda el paso (SEH-dah ehl PAH-soh)
one way
dirección única (dee-rehk-SYOHN OO-nee-kah)
no parking
no aparcar (noh ah-pahr-KAHR) , no estacionar (noh ehs-tah-syoh-NAHR), no aparcamiento (noh ah-pahr-kah-MYEHN-toh)
speed limit
límite de velocidad (LEE-mee-teh deh beh-loh-see-DAHD) , velocidad máxima (beh-loh-see-DAHD MAHK-see-mah)
gas/petrol station
gasolinera (gah-soh-lee-NEH-rah) , estación de bencina (ehs-tah-SYOHN deh behn-SEE-nah) (Chile), estación de servicio (ehs-tah-SYOHN deh sehr-BEE-syoh) (Argentina)
gasolina (gah-soh-LEE-nah) , bencina (behn-SEE-nah) (Chile), nafta (NAHF-tah) (Argentina)
gasóleo (gah-SOH-leh-oh) , diesel (DYEH-sehl) (Latin America), gasóil/diésel (gah-SOIL/DYEH-sehl) (Spain)
How long can I park here?
¿Cuánto tiempo puedo estacionarme aquí? (KWAHN-toh TYEHM-poh PWEH-doh ehs-tah-syoh-NAHR-meh ah-KEE?)
Does this street/road/highway lead to....?
¿Esta calle/carretera/autopista llega a....? (EHS-tah KAH-yeh/kahr-reh-TEH-rah/ow-toh-PEES-tah YEH-gah ah....?)
I need a mechanic.
Necesito un mecánico. (neh-ceh-SEE-toh oon meh-KAH-nee-koh)


I haven't done anything wrong.
No he hecho nada malo. (NOH eh EH-choh NAH-dah MAH-loh)
Please, there has been a mistake.
Por favor, hubo un malentendido. (pohr fah-BOHR OO-boh oon mahl-ehn-tehn-DEE-doh)
It was a misunderstanding.
Fue un malentendido. (fweh oon mahl-ehn-tehn-DEE-doh)
Where are you taking me?
¿Adónde me lleva? (ah-DOHN-deh meh YEH-bah?)
Am I under arrest?
¿Estoy arrestado/da? (ehs-TOY ahr-rehs-TAH-doh/dah?), ¿Estoy bajo arresto? (EHS-toy BAH-khoh ahr-REHS-toh?)
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen.
Soy ciudadano(a) estadounidense/australiano(a)/inglés(esa)/canadiense. (soy syoo-dah-DAH-noh(ah) ehs-tah-doh-oo-nee-DEHN-see/ ows-trah-LYAH-noh(nah)/ een-GLEHS(ah)/ kah-nah-DYEHN-seh)
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian consulate/embassy.
Quiero hablar con el consulado/la embajada estadounidense/australiano(a)/inglés(esa)/canadiense. (KYEH-roh ah-BLAHR kohn ehl kohn-soo-LAH-doh/lah ehm-bah-HAH-dah ehs-tah-doh-oo-nee-DEHN-seh/ ows-trah-LYAH-noh(nah)/ een-GLEHS(ah)/ kah-nah-DYEHN-seh)
I want to talk to a lawyer.
Quiero hablar con un abogado. (KYEH-roh ah-BLAHR kohn oon ah-boh-GAH-doh)
Can I just pay a fine now?
¿Puedo pagar la multa ahora? (PWEH-doh pah-GAHR lah MOOL-tah ah-OH-rah?)
I confess.
Yo confieso (yoh kohn-FYEH-soh)


¡Socorro!, ¡Ayuda! (soh-KOHR-roh, ah-YOO-dah)
Look out!
¡Cuidado!, ¡Ojo! (kwee-DAH-doh, OH-hoh)
¡Fuego! (FWEH-goh)
Go away!
¡Márchese!, ¡Váyase! (MAHR-cheh-seh, BAH-yah-seh)
¡Ladrón! (lah-DROHN)
Stop thief!
¡Para ladrón! (PAH-rah lah-DROHN)
¡Policía! (poh-lee-SEE-ah)
Call the police!
¡Llame a la policía! (YAH-meh a lah poh-lee-SEE-ah)
Take cover!
¡Cúbranse! (KOO-brahn-say)
There's a shooting!
¡Hay disparos! (eye dees-PAH-rose)
Where is the police station?
¿Dónde está la comisaría? (DOHN-deh ehs-TAH lah koh-mee-sah-REE-ah?)
Can you help me please?
¿Puede usted ayudarme por favor? (PWEH-deh oos-TEHD ah-yoo-DAHR-meh pohr fah-BOHR?)
Could I use your telephone/mobile/cell phone?
¿Podría yo usar su teléfono/móbil/celular? (poh-DREE-ah yoh oo-SAHR soo teh-LEH-foh-noh/MOH-beel/seh-loo-LAHR?)
There's been an accident!
¡Hubo un accidente! (OO-boh oon ahk-see-DEHN-teh)
¡Llame a ... (YAH-meh ah)
...a doctor!
...un doctor! (oon dohk-TOHR) ambulance!
...una ambulancia! (OO-nah ahm-boo-LAHN-syah)
I need medical attention!
¡Necesito atención médica! (neh-seh-SEE-toh ah-tehn-SYON MEH-dee-kah)
I'm ill.
Estoy enfermo/ma, Me siento mal. (ehs-TOY ehn-FEHR-moh/mah Meh SYEHN-toh mahl)
I'm lost.
Estoy perdido/da. (ehs-TOY pehr-DEE-doh/dah)
I've been raped!
¡He sido violado/da! (eh SEE-doh byoh-LAH-doh/dah)
This Spanish phrasebook has guide status. It covers all the major topics for traveling without resorting to English. Please contribute and help us make it a star!