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101 essential survival Spanish phrases

101 essential survival Spanish phrases

¡Hola, amigas y amigos de SpanishCompadres.com! In this new article, we’ll provide you with the best survival Spanish phrases, including their English equivalent and pronunciation. These phrases will help you get around in your next visit to a Spanish speaking country or in your interaction with Spanish speakers in your country.

The 101 Spanish phrases that you will learn in this article are used in the following contexts: greetings and introductions (e.g. ¡Hola!), communication (e.g. ¿Podrías repetir, por favor?, transportation (e.g. Un boleto de ida y vuelta, por favor), money (e.g. ¿Cuánto cuesta?) , eating and drinking (e.g. Un café, por favor), sightseeing (e.g. ¿Qué lugares se pueden visitar en esta ciudad?), asking for and giving directions (e.g. ¿Cómo puedo llegar a la estación del metro?), hotels and reservations (e.g. Buenas tardes. Me gustaría reservar una habitación) and emergencies (e.g. ¿Dónde está el hospital?).  

 

Table of contents

 

Greetings and introductions

Whether you are visiting a Spanish speaking or interacting with Spanish speaking friends, greetings and introductions will be the best way to engage in communication. The following phrases will show you how to say hello and goodbye, how to introduce yourself and others and how to talk a little bit about yourself.

  1. ¡Hola! (Hello!)
  2. ¿Cómo estás? / ¿Qué tal? (How are you? / What’s up?)
  3. Bien. ¿Y tú? (I’m fine. And you?)
  4. Por favor (Please)
  5. Gracias / Muchas gracias (Thank you / Thank you very much)
  6. De nada (You’re welcome)
  7. Chao / Nos vemos luego (Goodbye / Bye / See you soon)
  8. ¡Salud! (Cheers!)
  9. Disculpe (Excuse me)
  10. Lo siento (I’m sorry)
  11. ¿Cómo te llamas? (What’s your name?)
  12. Soy… / My nombre es… / Me llamo… (I’m… / My name is… / I am called…)
  13. Un gusto conocerte (Nice to meet you) 
  14. ¿De dónde eres? (Where are you from?)
  15. Soy de… (I’m from…)
  16. Quiero presentarte a mi amigo / esposa / marido (I’d like to introduce my friend/wife/husband)
  17. ¿Cuántos años tienes? (How old are you?)
  18. Tengo … años (I’m… years old)
  19. ¿En qué trabajas? (What do you do for a living?)
  20. Soy un/una (I’m a/an…)
  21. ¿Qué haces para divertirte? / ¿Cuáles son tus pasatiempos? (What do you do for fun? / What are your hobbies?)
  22. Me gusta / No me gusta (I like / I don’t like)
  23. Sí (Yes)
  24. No (No)

Greetings and introductions

by Spanish Compadres | Spanish phrases

Communication

If you’re reading this article, you’re most likely a non native speaker of Spanish. For this reason, you may need to ask for clarification in some circumstances (e.g. when a native speaker speaks too fast or when an accent is difficult to understand). The following phrases will be very helpful in those situations:

  1. ¿Hablas…? (Do you speak…?)
  2. No entiendo (I don’t understand)
  3. Hablo un poco de… (I speak a little…)
  4. No hablo… (I don’t speak…)
  5. ¿Podrías hablar un poco más lento? (Could you please speak a little slower?)
  6. ¿Podrías escribir eso? (Could you write that down?)
  7. ¿Podrías repetir eso? (Could you repeat that?)
  8. ¿Cómo se dice? (How do you say…?)
  9. ¿Qué significa…? (What does… mean?)
  10. ¿Qué hora es? (What time is it?)
  11. Son las cinco en punto (It’s five o’clock)

Transportation

Knowing how to get to places and use local means of transportation is an essential skill when you are visiting a Spanish speaking country. Master these phrases and never get lost in your travels: 

  1. ¿Cuánto cuesta un boleto de primera clase / segunda clase / clase económica a…? (How much is a first class/second class/economy ticket to…?)
  2. Un boleto de ida / ida y vuelta a… por favor. (A one-way/return ticket to… please)
  3. Aquí está mi pasaporte (Here’s my passport)
  4. ¿A qué hora llega el bus / tren / avión / ferry de…? (What time does the bus/train/plane/ferry from… arrive?)
  5. ¿A qué hora parte el bus / tren / avión / ferry a…? (What time does the bus/train/plane/ferry to… depart?)
  6. ¿Qué plataforma / puerta de embarque / terminal? (Which platform/gate/terminal?)
  7. ¿Es directo el bus / tren / avión? (Is the bus/train/plane direct?)
  8. ¿Tengo que cambiar de bus / tren? (Do I have to change buses/trains?)
  9. ¿Necesito reservar mi asiento? (Do I need a seat reservation?)
  10. ¿Está ocupado este asiento? (Is this seat taken?)
  11. ¿A qué hora sale el próximo tren / bus /minibus /ferry a…? (When is the next train/bus/minibus/ferry to…?)
  12. ¿Podrías llamarme un taxi? (Could you call me a taxi?)
  13. Me gustaría ir a… (I’d like to go to…)
  14. ¿Podría avisarme cuando tengo que bajar? (Could you let me know when to get off?)
  15. ¿Dónde podría arrendar una bicicleta / un automóvil? (Where could I rent a bike/car?)
  16. Me gustaría arrendar una bicicleta / un automóvil (I’d like to rent a bike/car)

Transportation

by Spanish Compadres | Spanish phrases

Money

Knowing these phrases will help you whenever you need to shop for things. Being able to buy local products and souvenirs in Spanish speaking countries, will add fun to your travel experiences, since you can keep objects that will immortalize your experience. 

  1. ¿Cuánto cuesta? (How much is it?)
  2. Me gustaría… (I would like…)
  3. ¿Puedo pagar con tarjeta de crédito / tarjeta de débito? Can I pay by credit card/debit card?
  4. Aquí está (Here you go)
  5. ¿Podría ver este / ese? (Could I see this/that one?)
  6. ¿A qué hora abre / cierra? What time do you open/close?
  7. ¿Tiene esto en pequeño, grande, mediano? (Do you have this in small/large/medium?)
  8. ¿Tiene algo más barato? (Do you have anything cheaper?)
  9. Es demasiado caro (It’s too expensive)
  10. Te daré… por eso (I’ll give you… for it)
  11. ¿Dónde puedo cambiar dinero? (Where can I exchange money?)

Money

by Spanish Compadres | Spanish phrases

Eating and drinking

Eating and drinking are among the best ways to socialize with local inhabitants when you travel. These phrases will help you enjoy a good, traditional meal while you practice and improve your Spanish in a real life situation.

  1. ¿Podrías recomendar un buen restaurant? (Could you recommend a good restaurant?)
  2. ¿Qué recomendarías? (What would you recommend?)
  3. ¿Cuáles son algunas de las especialidades locales? (What are some local specialties?)
  4. ¿Cuál es el menú del día? (What is the special of the day?)
  5. ¿Podría ver el menú, por favor? (Could I see the menu, please?)
  6. Una cerveza / un café / un té, por favor (A beer/coffee/tea, please)
  7. ¿Me podría traer la cuenta, por favor / La cuenta, por favor (Could I get the bill, please. / The check, please)
  8. Soy alérgico a… (I’m allergic to…)
  9. ¡Eso estuvo delicioso! (That was delicious!)
  10. Esto no es lo que pedí (This isn’t what I ordered)
  11. ¿Puedo invitarte un trago? (Can I buy you a drink?)
  12. ¡Tomémonos otro! (Let’s have another!)

Eating and drinking

by Spanish Compadres | Spanish phrases

Sightseeing

These phrases will be very useful when it comes to going out for a walk or visiting other cities or towns.

  1. ¿Cuánto cuesta la entrada? (What is the entrance fee?)
  2. ¿Qué es ese edificio? (What is that building?)
  3. ¿Qué hay en el cine / el teatro / la ópera esta noche? (What’s on at the cinema/theatre/opera tonight?)
  4. Esa es una hermosa iglesia / catedral (That’s a beautiful church / cathedral)
  5. ¿Qué hay para ver por aquí? (What is there to see around here?)

Sightseeing

by Spanish Compadres | Spanish phrases

Asking for and giving directions

As a non local person in a Spanish speaking location, you may get lost. Be ready for those kinds of situations with these survival phrases for directions.

  1. ¿Cómo puedo llegar a…? (How do I get to…?)
  2. Está a la izquierda / a la derecha / directo hacia adelante / en la esquina (It’s on the left/on the right/straight ahead/at the corner)
  3. ¿Qué tan lejos es…? (How far is…?)
  4. ¿Dónde hay un banco / un correo / una casa de cambio? (Where is a bank / post office / exchange office?)
  5. ¿Dónde puedo encontrar información turística? (Where can I find tourist information?)
  6. ¿Tienes un mapa? (Do you have a map?)
  7. ¿Puedes mostrarme eso en el mapa? (Can you show me that on the map?)
  8. ¿Dónde está la embajada / el consulado estadounidense? (Where is the American embassy/consulate?)

Hotels and reservations

Use the following phrases when you’re booking your hotel room or taking care of accommodation.

  1. Tengo una reserva (I have a reservation)
  2. ¿Tiene alguna habitación simple / doble disponible? (Do you have any single/double rooms available?)
  3. ¿Podría ver la habitación? (Could I see the room?)
  4. Me gustaría quedarme por … noches (I’d like to stay for… nights)
  5. ¿Está incluido el desayuno? (Is breakfast included?)
  6. El televisor / aire acondicionado / la luz de mi habitación no funciona (The TV/air conditioner/lamp in my room doesn’t work)
  7. ¿Podría tener otra habitación? (Could I get a different room?)
  8. ¿Hay un restaurante aquí? (Is there a restaurant here?)

Emergencies

We hope you don’t need to use these phrase, but it’s always best to be prepared for emergencies and unpredicted situations.

¡Ayuda! (Help!)

  1. Necesito un doctor / dentista / policía (I need a doctor/dentist/police officer)
  2. ¿Hay una farmacia cerca? (Is there pharmacy nearby?)
  3. ¿Puedo usar tu teléfono? (Can I use your phone?)
  4. ¡Llama a la polícia / ambulancia! (Call the police/ambulance!)
  5. ¡Déjame solo! (Leave me alone!)

Conclusion

Learning these Spanish survival phrases will help you deal with high frequency situations successfully. Among these common context for Spanish language use, we find greetings and introductions (e.g. ¡Hola! Mi nombre es…), communication (e.g. ¿Podrías hablar más lento, por favor?, transportation (e.g. ¿Me puedes llamar un taxi?), money (e.g. ¿Cuánto cuesta este producto?) , eating and drinking (e.g. Un té, por favor), sightseeing (e.g. ¿Qué es ese edificio?), asking for and giving directions (e.g. ¿Cómo puedo llegar al aeropuerto desde el hotel?), hotels and reservations (e.g. Buenos días. Me gustaría reservar una habitación simple) and emergencies (e.g. ¡Ayuda!). Role play these phrases with your classmates and friends, so you become fluent at them  

 

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Spanish question words ultimate content & practice

Spanish question words ultimate content & practice

¡Hola, amigas y amigos de SpanishCompadres.com! Asking questions is one of the most frequent practices in human interaction. The need to gather information is inherent to speakers of all languages. Many questions are asked and answered for communication to be possible. With this in mind, we want to share with you everything you need to know about Spanish question words, including premium practice exercises at the end of this article. We’ll learn what Spanish question words are, they types of Spanish question words, and how to ask questions in Spanish without question words. We’ll test your knowledge with some multiple choice exercises at the end of this post.  

Spanish question words are functional words that are used to ask questions. Examples of Spanish question words in context: [1] ¿Qué sucede? (What’s happening) [2] ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?) [3] ¿Quiénes vendrán a la fiesta? (Who’s coming to the party?) [4] ¿Con quién estás? (Who are you with?) [5] ¿Para qué se usa esto? (What’s this used for?)  

 

Table of contents

 

What are Spanish question words?

Spanish question words are functional words that are used by Spanish speakers to ask questions. In some textbooks they are called “Qu” words (like “Wh” question words in English). Here are some examples of everyday conversation questions (question words are in bold):

  • ¿Cómo te llamas? /ko’-mo te ya’-mas/ (What’s your name?)
  • ¿Cuántos años tienes? /kuan’-tos a’-ños tie’-nes/ (How old are you?)
  • ¿En qué trabajas? /en ke tra-ba’-jas/ (What do you do for work?)
  • ¿Qué estudias? /ke es-tu’-dias/ (What do you study? as in “What are you majoring in?”)
  • ¿Con quién vives? /kon kien vi’-ves/ (Who do you live with?)
  • ¿Cómo estás? /ko’-mo es-tas’/ (How are you? or simply “What’s up!”)
  • ¿Por qué? /por ke/ (Why?)
  • ¿Cuánto es? /kuan’-to es/ (How much is it?)
  • ¿Qué te parece? /ke te pa-re’-se/ (What do you think?)
  • ¿Quién es? /kien es/ (Who is it?)

 

Types of Spanish questions words

From a grammatical point of view, Spanish question words can be used as adjectives, pronouns, adverbs or compound forms. Let’s check them out and see some examples:

Spanish question adjectives 

Spanish question adjectives occur next to a noun. Examples: “qué” and “cuánto”

  • Qué 
  • ¿Qué película viste? (Which movie did you watch?)
  • ¿Qué ciudades visitarás? (Which cities will you visit?)
  • ¿Qué auto te quieres comprar? (Which car do you want buy?)
  • ¿Qué compañeros te caen bien? (Which classmates do you like?)
  • ¿Qué regalo te gustaría para tu cumpleaños?  (What present would you like for your birthday?) 

 

  • Cuánto, -a, -os, -as: 
  • ¿Cuántos amigos tienes en Facebook? (How many friends do you have on Facebook?)
  • ¿Cuántas veces debo repetirlo? (How many times do I have to repeat?)
  • ¿Cuánta azúcar le pones al té? (How much sugar do you put on your tea?) 
  • ¿Cuánto tiempo te costó? (How much time did it take you?)
  • ¿Cuánta leche le pones al café? (How much milk do you put on your coffee?)

 

Spanish question pronouns

Spanish question pronouns take the place of a noun in a question. Examples: 

  • ¿Quién te dijo eso? (Who told you that?)
  • ¿Quiénes vinieron contigo? (Who came with you?)
  • ¿Qué ha pasado aquí? (What happened here?)
  • ¿Cuál falta? (Which one is missing?)
  • ¿Cuáles faltan? (Which ones are missing?)

 

Spanish question adverbs

Spanish question adverbs occur next to verbs and indicate place, time, manner or quantity. Examples:

  • ¿Dónde irás? (Where will you go?)
  • ¿Cuándo te vas? (When are you leaving?)
  • ¿Cómo te vas? (How will you leave?)
  • ¿Cuánto es mucho? (How much is too much?)

 

Spanish compound question forms

Compound question forms contain a preposition next to the question word. Examples:

  • ¿Con quién te irás de vacaciones? (Who are you going on vacation with?) 
  • ¿A qué vas a Chile? (What are you going to Chile for?) 
  • ¿Por qué te pones así? (Why do you get like this?) 
  • ¿Para qué viniste? (What are you here for?) 
  • ¿A quién vas a visitar? (Who are you going to visit?) 

 

Intonation of Spanish questions

All Spanish questions must be pronounced with a rising intonation, just like English Yes/No questions. Examples of same intonation questions in Spanish and English:

  • ¿Te gusta la comida? (Do you like food?)
  • ¿Vas a almorzar? (Are you having lunch?)
  • ¿Eres extranjero? (Are you a foreigner?)

 

Spelling rules for Spanish question words

All Spanish question words carry a stress mark called “tilde” in Spanish (´) only when they are acting as question words. Examples:

  • Qué
  • Quién 
  • Quiénes
  • Cuál
  • Cuáles
  • Cuánto
  • Cuánta
  • Cuántos
  • Cuántas
  • Cómo
  • Cuándo
  • Dónde

  

Questions in Spanish without question words

In Spanish, it is possible to ask questions without question words. These are generally Yes/No questions. They are regular affirmative or negative sentences that have two distinctive features depending on whether the question is written or spoken:

  • Written. The sentence has an upside down question mark (¿) at the beginning and a closing question mark at the end (?). Examples:
    • Affirmative: Te gustan los helados. (You like ice cream.) / Question: ¿Te gustan los helados? (Do you like ice cream?)
    • Negative: No les gusta esta película [a ellos]*. (They* don’t like this movie.) / Question: ¿No les gustan esta película? (Don’t they like this movie?)
  • Spoken. Affirmative and negative sentences have a regular intonation, in which you stress each word according to its emphasis and relevance. All Spanish questions, as we’ve said, have a rising intonation. So, in spoken language, questions and “regular” sentences differ in intonation. Keep this in mind for your speaking practice.

 

Practice Spanish question words (multiple choice)

Instructions: choose the correct alternative (10 exercises). The answer key is at the end of the questions:

Spanish question words: exercise #1

¿________ años tienes? (How old are you?)

  1. Qué
  2. Cómo
  3. Cuántos

 

Spanish question words: exercise #2

¿________ te llamas? (What’s your name?)

  1. Qué
  2. Cómo
  3. Cuántos

 

Spanish question words: exercise #3

¿________ vienes? (Where do you come from?)

  1. De dónde
  2. Con quién
  3. Para qué

 

Spanish question words: exercise #4

¿________ te gustaría ir? (Which one would you like to go to?)

  1. A dónde
  2. A cuál
  3. Con quién

 

Spanish question words: exercise #5

¿________ es? (How much is it?)

  1. Qué
  2. Cómo
  3. Cuánto

 

Spanish question words: exercise #6

¿________ viniste a Argentina? (Why did you come to Argentina?)

  1. Por qué
  2. Con cuáles
  3. De dónde

 

Spanish question words: exercise #7

¿________ te quedas: esos o estos? (Which ones are you keeping: those or these?)

  1. A quiénes
  2. Con cuáles
  3. Hasta cuándo

 

Spanish question words: exercise #8

¿________ tengo que decírtelo? (How many times do I have to tell you?)

  1. Desde cuándo
  2. Para qué
  3. Hasta cuándo

 

Spanish question words: exercise #9

¿________ te sientes? (How do you feel?)

  1. Cómo
  2. Qué
  3. Cuál

 

Spanish question words: exercise #10

¿________ te gustaría ir? (Where would you like to go?)

  1. Quién
  2. Dónde
  3. Cuáles

 

Answer key

Spanish question words: exercise #1

¿________ años tienes? (How old are you?)

  1. Qué
  2. Cómo
  3. Cuántos

Spanish question words: exercise #2

¿________ te llamas? (What’s your name?)

  1. Qué
  2. Cómo
  3. Cuántos

Spanish question words: exercise #3

¿________ vienes? (Where do you come from?)

  1. De dónde
  2. Con quién
  3. Para qué

Spanish question words: exercise #4

¿________ te gustaría ir? (Which one would you like to go to?)

  1. A dónde
  2. A cuál
  3. Con quién

Spanish question words: exercise #5

¿________ es? (How much is it?)

  1. Qué
  2. Cómo
  3. Cuánto

Spanish question words: exercise #6

¿________ viniste a Argentina? (Why did you come to Argentina?)

  1. Por qué
  2. Con cuáles
  3. De dónde

Spanish question words: exercise #7

¿________ te quedas: esos o estos? (Which ones are you keeping: those or these?)

  1. A quiénes
  2. Con cuáles
  3. Hasta cuándo

Spanish question words: exercise #8

¿________ tengo que decírtelo? (How many times do I have to tell you?)

  1. Desde cuándo
  2. Para qué
  3. Hasta cuándo

Spanish question words: exercise #9

¿________ te sientes? (How do you feel?)

  1. Cómo
  2. Qué
  3. Cuál

Spanish question words: exercise #10

¿________ te gustaría ir? (Where would you like to go?)

  1. Quién
  2. Dónde
  3. Cuáles

 

Conclusion

Asking questions is a high frequency language function. Mastering Spanish question words will greatly improve your Spanish. Questions like “¿Cómo se dice…?” (How do you say…?) can save your day if you’re in a Spanish speaking country. Remember that questions words always carry a stress mark or “tilde” (´) and that their intonation is always rising. Also, don’t forget about starting all your questions in Spanish with an upside down question mark. Check out our post about it in the resources section of this post.

 

Share this content

By clicking on the share buttons (computer: left side, mobile: bottom), you will help your friends, relatives and social media contacts improve their Spanish. ¡Comparte!

 

Resources

 

 

Business Spanish vocabulary | 100 key words and phrases

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Spanish upside down question mark ultimate guide

Spanish upside down question mark ultimate guide

¡Hola, amigas y amigos de SpanishCompadres.com! In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Spanish upside down question mark.

The Spanish upside down question mark or Spanish inverted question mark (¿) is a punctuation mark that indicates the beginning of a question. Examples: [1] ¿Cuál es tu nombre? (What’s your name?) [2] —¿Qué vamos a comer? —preguntó (—What are we going to eat? —he asked. [3] ¿Dónde está el restaurante? Olvidé mirarlo en la guía. (Where is the restaurant? I forgot to look it up in the guide). The correct use of the Spanish upside down question mark is indicative of a speaker’s knowledge of the rules of the Spanish language. 

In this post , we’ll show how to use the Spanish upside down question mark so you don’t make mistakes when writing questions. 

 

Table of contents

 

Spanish upside down question mark: rule #1

Unlike other languages like English, question marks ¿? are double in Spanish, just like parentheses () and square brackets []. Therefore, it’s incorrect to omit the inverted at the beginning of questions in Spanish. Keep this in mind, since it’s becoming more and more common to ignore this rule of the Spanish language, especially when chatting or posting on social media. Examples:

  • ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?) NOT Cómo estás?
  • ¿Cuántos años tienes? (How old are you?) NOT Cuántos años tienes?
  • ¿De qué país vienes? (What country are you from?) NOT De qué país vienes?
  • ¿Cuál es tu país favorito en Latinoamérica? (What’s your favorite country in Latin America?) NOT Cuál es tu país favorito en Latinoamérica?
  • ¿Prefieres cocinar o salir a comer? (Do you prefer cooking or eating out?) NOT Prefieres cocinar o salir a comer? 

 

Spanish upside down question mark: rule #2

You also need to know that at the end of a question you MUST use a “regular” question mark (?) and that after this closing question mark you can write any punctuation mark, except a period (.). Examples:

  • ¿Cómo te llamas?, ¿cuántos años tienes? (What’s your name?, How old are you?)
  • Bien, ¿y tú? (Good, how about you?)
  • ¿Desde qué país viene? (Marque con una X). / What country are you from? (Mark with an X).

 

Spanish upside down question mark: rule #3

When the closing sign is at the end of a sentence, the next word must start with a capital letter. Examples:

  • ¿Tienes frío? Toma mi abrigo. (Are you cold? Take my coat.)
  • ¿Cómo lo hiciste? De verdad quiero saber. (How did you do it? I really want to know.)
  • ¿Qué te pareció? Sé honesto, por favor. (What do you think? Be honest, please.)

 

How to type the Spanish upside down question mark on a Windows computer?

Being able to type the Spanish upside down question mark character on computers and mobile devices is very important. This is how you do it on Windows: type alt + 0191 at the same time

 

How to type the Spanish upside down question mark on a Mac computer?

On a Mac computer, type the following combination of keys: alt + Shift + ?

 

How to type the Spanish upside down question mark on an Android phone?

On an Android device, press and hold the “?” symbol and drag your finger up to select the Spanish upside down question mark.

 

How to type the Spanish upside down question mark on iOS phone?

On an iPhone, press and hold the “?” symbol and drag your finger up to select the Spanish upside down question mark (same procedure as Android).

 

Conclusion

The massive technology boom of our era revealed that the Spanish upside down question mark is an endangered species in the realm of Spanish punctuation marks. This symbol is often omitted by Spanish speakers when chatting or posting comments online, in an informal setting. This is, however, incorrect and shows little care for punctuation rules. In formal, academic and professional professional documents, a question without an inverted question mark at the beginning would greatly diminish the reliability and harm the readers’ perception of such pieces of writing.

Remember you can use any punctuation mark after a question, except a period. Don’t forget that if the question is at the end of a sentence, the next sentence must start with a capital initial letter. Paying attention to all these little details will greatly improve your written Spanish. Writing in another language is a valuable skill in today’s globalized world.   

 

Resources

  • Ortografía de los signos de interrogación y exclamación. Available at https://www.rae.es/consultas/ortografia-de-los-signos-de-interrogacion-y-exclamacion

 

 

 

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How to say and respond to how are you in Spanish

How to say and respond to how are you in Spanish

¡Hola, amigas y amigos de SpanishCompadres.com! In this post, we’ll show you how to say and respond to “how are you?” in Spanish. Asking “how are you” is one of the first things language learners need to include in their repertoire. This is not different in Spanish.

The simplest way to say “How are you in?” Spanish is “¿Cómo estás?” However, depending on the number of participants in interaction and the level of formality of the conversation, you may want to use variations of this phrase, such as “¿Cómo están?” (plural) or “¿Cómo está?” (formal, singular). In Spain, some native Spanish speakers would prefer to say “¿Cómo estáis?” instead of “¿Cómo están?” In a friendly and informal context, you may want to use equivalent phrases like “¿Cómo estamos?”, “¿Qué tal?”, “¿Cómo te va?” “¿Qué hubo?”, and so on. The right choice of words will be an indicator of your proficiency with the Spanish language, so if you want to learn everything you need to know about how to say how are you in Spanish, keep reading and share this post. We will also teach you how to respond according to the context. Sometimes you’ll just need to say “Bien, ¿y tú?” and on other occasions, you’ll need to provide a more detailed answer. 

 

Table of contents

 

Introduction

Let’s get something really important out of the way first. “How are you” is mostly used as a conversation opener. When you bump into someone we know at work, at school, or in any other real life situation and you say “how are you”, you don’t usually expect a long, detailed answer. Your counterpart in interaction will typically reply something like “Fine, and you?” and will wait for you to also give a brief, polite answer, such as “Fine”. Immediately after this short exchange, both of you will most likely go on your own way and resume your normal activities. 

If you see a friend who missed school or work for many days because she was on a sick leave, you would probably ask something like “How have you been lately?” Your friend would understand, due to your choice of words, that you are trying to obtain details of what happened to her, her recovery, what her doctor said, etc. This can also be done in Spanish. We’ll show you everything you need to know to ask and respond to how are you in Spanish.

 

How to say how are you in Spanish: the most common ways

 

When you’re talking one on one

When you meet one person (a friend, a colleague, a classmate, a professor or anyone you would say “how are you” to), you can ask how are you in two ways: “cómo estás” (informal) and “cómo está” (formal).

¿Cómo estás? (informal) 

This is the way you would ask a person of your same status (a classmate, a teammate, a friend, a colleague or coworker, family). “¿Cómo estás?” is informal. Examples of situations in which you would use “¿Cómo estás?”:

    • Two family members see each other at home after school or work.
    • You see your best friend at school.
    • You meet a member of your department at the elevator.

How to respond to “¿Cómo estás?”

As we stated in the introduction, a brief answer is expected, since “cómo estás” is a conversation starter. Most people would respond “Bien, ¿y tú?” (Fine, and you?). This is a high frequency answer. You can add “gracias” (thank you), like this “Bien, gracias. ¿Y tú?”

How to ask for a more detailed answer (when you really want to know how the other person is)

If you want your counterpart to provide a more detailed answer, you can ask “¿Cómo has estado?” (How have you been?). Examples of situations in which you would use “¿Cómo has estado?”:

  • Your best friend returns from a long trip. 
  • You see a colleague who’s just returned to work after a long sick leave.
  • You see a friend from school on the street after many years.

¿Cómo está? (formal)

Do you know the difference between “tú” (you, informal) and “usted” (you, formal)? The same applies to “cómo estás” (informal) and “cómo está” (formal). Examples of situations in which you would say “cómo está”:

  • You meet one of your teachers in the school cafeteria.
  • You greet one of you friends’ grandparents.
  • You meet an acquaintance who is a senior citizen.

 How to respond to “¿Cómo está?”

You can reply “Bien, ¿y tú?” or “Bien, ¿y usted?” depending on the relationship between you and the person who asked “¿Cómo está?”. For example, if you are an elderly person and a young child asks you “¿Cómo está?”, you would normally reply “Bien, ¿y tú?”

How to ask for a more detailed answer (when you really want to know how the other person is)

If you need a more complete answer, you can ask “¿Cómo ha estado?” (How have you been?). Examples of situations in which you would use “¿Cómo ha estado?”:

  • Your school teacher returns from a sick leave. 
  • Your friend’s grandmother spent a few days in the hospital.
  • You see your grand uncle after a long time.

 

When you’re talking to a group of people

 

¿Cómo están?

When you’re addressing a group of people (a family, a group of children at a birthday party, a video conference group, etc.) you ask “¿Cómo están?” This question is adequate for both formal and informal contexts. 

 

How to say how are you in Spanish: the least common ways

In very informal or familiar contexts (e.g. with friends, at a party, at a family reunion, at a celebration, with close friends, and so on), you may use one of the following informal expressions. They are all equivalent to “how are you” derivatives, such as “what’s up”, “how’re you doing?”, and others.

  • ¿Cómo estamos?
  • ¿Qué tal?
  • ¿Cómo andamos?
  • ¿Qué hubo?
  • ¿Qué haces?
  • ¿Cómo te va?
  • ¿Cómo le va? (more formal)
  • ¿Qué pasa? (very informal)

Conclusion

“How are you” is one of the first things you should learn to say in any language. Spanish is not different. “Cómo estás”, “Cómo está”, “Cómo están” are high frequency expressions in everyday, real-life Spanish. When it comes to choosing the right form, consider your status in relation to the person at the other end of the conversation. Typically, we use “cómo estás” with people who are the same status as us (colleagues, classmates, friends) and we use “cómo está” with people who are higher status (a professor, a school teacher, an elderly person, and so on). There are also less formal expressions you can use in informal contexts, such as “¿Cómo andamos?”, “¿Qué hubo?”, “¿Qué haces?”, to name a few.

 

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Spanish pronouns quick guide

Spanish pronouns quick guide

The word pronoun comes from Latin “pronomen”, which stands for “in place of the name”. Pronouns are used to refer to people, animals or things without naming them. For example: John is busy = He is busy. In this example, the word “He” is a pronoun that replaces “John” in the first sentence.  

Spanish pronouns (pronombres) are words that are used to refer to people, animals or things in a sentence without naming them. For example: Juan está ocupado = Él está ocupado. In this example, the word “Él” is a Spanish pronoun that replaces “Juan” in the first sentence (Juan is busy). Spanish pronouns are divided into seven types according to their function: personal (personales), possessive (posesivos), demonstrative (demostrativos), indefinite (indefinidos), relative (relativos), question (interrogativos) and exclamation (exclamativos) pronouns.    

Table of contents

 

Use of pronouns

Simple sentences usually have a subject, a verb and a predicate. For example: Juana no vino a trabajar (Luisa didn’t come to work), where the subject is “Luisa”, the verb is “no vino” and the predicate is “a trabajar”. In some cases, it is possible to use pronouns in order to avoid repeating the subject and also in order to emphasize other parts of the sentence. Examples:

Luisa no vino a trabajar. Ella está pensando en renunciar. (Luisa didn’t come to work. She is considering quitting). In this example, the personal pronoun “She” replaces the subject “Luisa”.

Please don’t forget you should only use Spanish pronouns when the reference is clear and shared by all conversation participants. In the previous example, the reference is “Luisa”. In real conversation, if you use the pronoun “eso” (that), it would be a good idea to point at the object you’re referring to or use another cue that helps your listener.

Pronombre personales (personal pronouns)

  • Yo (I)
  • Tú (You, singular, informal)
  • Usted (You, singular, formal)
  • Él (He/him)
  • Ella (She/her)
  • Nosotros/Nosotras (We or Us, masc. and fem.) Note: the masculine form “nosotros” is used when referring to a subject composed of male and female persons.
  • Ustedes (You, plural)
  • Vosotros/Vosotras (You, plural, masc. and fem., used in Spain and in formal written language only)
  • Ellos/Ellas (They or Them) Note: the masculine form “ellos” is used when referring to a subject composed of male and female persons.

Examples:

  • Yo soy estadounidense. (I’m an American.)
  • ¿ eres María? (Are you María?)
  • Gracias a usted. (Thank you.)
  • Pregúntale a David. Él sabe. (Ask David. He knows.)
  • Voy a buscar a mi mamá para almorzar con ella. (I’m picking up my mom to have lunch with her.)
  • Nosotros estamos aquí de vacaciones. (We’re here on vacation.)
  • ¿Ustedes pueden venir a almorzar con nosotros? (Can you come have lunch with us?)
  • Ellas son nuestras huéspedes. (They are our guests.)

 

Pronombres posesivos (possessive pronouns)

  • Mío/mía [Yo]* (Mine)
  • Tuyo/tuya/tuyos/tuyas [Tú] (Yours)
  • Suyo/suya/suyos/suyas [Usted, Él, Ella, Ustedes, Ellos, Ellas] (Yours, His, Hers, Theirs) 
  • Nuestro/nuestra/nuestros/nuestras [Nosotros, Nosotras] (Ours)
  • Vuestro/vuestra/vuestros/vuestras [Vosotros, Vosotras] (Yours)

*Corresponding personal pronoun in square brackets [ ]

Examples:

  • Eso es mío. (That’s mine.)
  • Esa de allá son las tuyas. (Those over there are yours.)
  • Esto es suyo*. (This is yours/his/hers/theirs.) *formal
  • El gusto es nuestro. (The pleasure is ours.)

 

Pronombres demostrativos (demonstrative pronouns)

These pronouns show how close or far something or someone is in relation to the the participants in interaction. 

  • The object/person/animal is close to the participants in interaction: este, esta, estos, estas
  • The object/person/animal is not so close to the participants in interaction: ese, esa, esos esas
  • The object/person/animal is far from the participants in interaction: aquel, aquella, aquellos, aquellas

Note: in many pieces of Spanish written content, you’ll see these pronouns carry a stress mark. This used to be an official rule issued by the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), but it’s no longer valid. See our resources section for more information.

Examples:

  • Este es el que necesitamos. (This is the one we need.)
  • Esos son los mejores. (Those are the best.)
  • ¿Recuerdas aquella vez hace veinte años? (Do you remember that time twenty years ago?)

 

Pronombres indefinidos (indefinite pronouns)

These pronouns leave the person/object/animal they reference unidentified or unspecified.  

Examples:

  • Nadie vino a la fiesta. (Nobody came to the party.)
  • Alguien te está llamando. (Someone’s calling you.)
  • ¿Qué te pasa? Nada. (What’s wrong with you? Nothing.) 
  • Tráeme algo. (Bring me something.)

 

Pronombres relativos (relative pronouns)

These pronouns link two clauses, in which the second clause modifies the subject in the first clause. Relative pronouns are the following: que, el que, los que, la que, lo que, quien, quienes, el cual, los cuales, la cual, lo cual, cuyo, cuyas, donde. Examples:

  • ¿Sabías que Santiago es la capital de Chile? (Did you know that Santiago is the capital of Chile?)
  • Yo soy el que está agradecido. (I’m the one who’s grateful.)
  • Los españoles se enfrentaron con los indígenas, los que habían habitado la tierra por siglos. (The Spaniards fought the indians, who had inhabited the land for centuries.)
  • Es el científico más connotado de esta era, la que ha estado llena de avances en esta materia. (He’s the most famous scientist of this era, which has been full of breakthroughs in this subject.)
  • Se encontró con Enrique, quien te envía saludos. (She met Enrique, who sends his regards.) 
  • Chile, cuyas ciudades son hermosas, es mi país favorito. (Chile, whose cities are beautiful, is my favorite country.)

 

Pronombres interrogativos (question pronouns)

These pronouns are used to ask questions. Some of these pronouns are ¿Quién…?, ¿Quiénes…?, ¿Qué…?, ¿Cuál…?, ¿Cuáles…?, ¿Cuánto…?, ¿Cuántos…?, ¿Cuántas…?

Note: these questions words carry a stress mark [´] in the first syllable.

Examples:

  • ¿Quién te llamó? (Who called you?) 
  • ¿Quiénes te vinieron a buscar? (Who came to pick you up?)
  • ¿Qué te pasa? (What’s the matter with you?)
  • ¿Cuál es tu número? (What’s your number?)
  • ¿Cuáles son tus favoritos? (Which are your favorite?)
  •  ¿Cuánto cuesta? (How much is it?)
  • ¿Cuántos vienen? (How many are coming?)
  • ¿Cuántas necesitas? (How many do you need?)

 

Pronombres exclamativos (exclamation pronouns)

These pronouns show emotion, feelings or reactions. Examples of these pronouns are ¡Qué!, ¡Quién!, ¡Quiénes!, ¡Cuánto!, ¡Cuántas!

Examples:

  • ¡Qué rápido pasa el tiempo! (How fast time goes by!)
  • ¡Quién lo diría! (Who would have said so!)
  • ¡Cómo pudo pasar esto! (How could this happen!)

 

Conclusion

We use Spanish pronouns to refer to people, animals or things in a sentence without naming them. There are seven types of Spanish pronouns, depending on their function: personal (personales), possessive (posesivos), demonstrative (demostrativos), indefinite (indefinidos), relative (relativos), question (interrogativos) and exclamation (exclamativos) pronouns.    

Resources

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Top 20 most frequent Spanish words with examples

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¡Hola, amigas y amigos de SpanishCompadres.com! Today we bring you a list with the top 20 most frequent words in the Spanish language, with examples and important usage notes. This list is based on the “Corpus de Referencia del Español Actual” (Current Spanish Reference Corpus), by the Real Academia Española (Royal Spanish Academy), the organization in charge of publishing the official Spanish language rules.

The top one hundred most frequent words in the Spanish language are the following:  de, la, que, el, en, y, a, los, se, del, las, un, por, con, no, una, su, para, es, al. Let’s look at some examples and important usage notes.  

Table of contents

Top Spanish words: 1-10

1. de
Pronunciation: /de/
Examples:

  • No te olvides de llamarme. (Don’t forget to call me.)
  • El chocolate es una de mis golosinas favoritas. (Chocolate is one of my favorite snacks.)
  • Me gustan las canciones de amor. (I like love songs.)

 

2. la
Pronunciation: /la/
Examples:

  • La ciudad es enorme. (The city is huge.)
  • Trabajo cinco días a la semana. (I work five days a week.)
  • La vista es hermosa. (The view is beautiful.)

Note: the masculine version of this definite article is “el”. Example: el niño, la niña

 

3. que
Pronunciation: /ke/
Examples:

  • Tenemos que hablar. (We have to talk.)
  • Este es el que más me gusta. (This is the one I like the most.)
  • Siéntate aquí para que puedas ver mejor. (Sit here so you can see better.)

Note: the word “qué” (with a stress mark on “é” is equivalent to the question word “what”. Example: ¿Qué hora es? / What time is it?) 

 

4. el
Pronunciation: /el/
Examples:

  • El español es un idioma complejo. (Spanish is a complex language.)
  • El niño se fue al colegio. (The boy left to school.)
  • Estamos esperando el bus. (We’re waiting for the bus.)

Note: the word “él”, with a stress mark on “é” stands for the pronouns “he”/”him”. Examples: Él es responsable (He is responsible). No quiero jugar con él (I don’t want to play with him).   

 

5. en
Pronunciation: /en/
Examples:

  • Está en el auto. (It’s in the car.)
  • Estamos hablando en inglés. (We’re speaking English.)
  • ¿Estás en casa? (Are you home?)

 

6. y
Pronunciation: /i/
Examples:

  • Tengo que comprar pan y queso. (I have to buy bread and cheese.) 
  • ¿Y qué? (So what?)
  • Yo hablo inglés y español fluidamente. (I speak Spanish and English fluently.)

 

7. a
Pronunciation: /a/
Examples:

  • Vamos a conversar. (Let’s talk.)
  • Entrégale esto a tu compañero. (Give this to your partner.)
  • ¿A quién le importa? (Who cares?)

 

8. los
Pronunciation: /los/
Examples:

  • Los edificios tapan la vista. (The buildings block the view.)
  • Cuidado con los perros. (Beware of the dogs.)
  • ¿Te gustan los animales? Do you like animals?

Note: The female word for “los” is “las”. Examples: las mujeres, los hombres.

 

9. se
Pronunciation: /se/
Examples:

  • Era muy tarde cuando se dieron cuenta. (It was too late when they realized.)
  • El bebé se calmó cuando vino su mamá. (The baby calmed down when his mom came.)
  • ¿Cuándo se casaron? (When did you get married?)

 

10. del
Pronunciation: /del/
Examples:

  • Es el hijo del vecino. (He’s the neighbor’s son.)
  • Trajimos frutas del campo. (We brought fruit from the countryside.)
  • Soy un fanático del fútbol. (I’m a soccer fan.)

Note: “del” is the contraction of the words “de+el”. 

Top Spanish words: 11-20

 

11. las
Pronunciation: /las/
Examples:

  • Abre las cortinas, por favor. (Open the curtains, please.)
  • Son las dos. (It’s two o’clock.)
  • Nos gusta mirar las estrellas. (We like looking at the stars.)

 

12. un
Pronunciation: /un/
Examples:

  • Un poco más rápido, por favor. (A little faster, please.)
  • Un desconocido atacó a la víctima. (An unknown person attacked the victim.)
  • Vamos a un restaurant. (Let’s go to a restaurant.

 

13. por
Pronunciation: /por/
Examples:

  • Vámonos por aquí. (Let’s go this way.)
  • ¿Por qué lo hiciste? (Why did you do it?)
  • Llevemos esto por si acaso. (Let’s take this just in case.)

 

14. con
Pronunciation: /kon/
Examples:

  • ¿Con quién irás de vacaciones? (Who will you go on vacation with?)
  • Estoy con unos amigos. (I’m with some friends.)
  • Vamos con tus padres. (Let’s go with your parents.)

 

15. no
Pronunciation: /no/
Examples:

  • No estoy de acuerdo. (I don’t agree.)
  • Lo siento pero no puedo ir. (I’m sorry but I can’t go.)
  • No lo he visto. (I haven’t seen him.)

 

16. una
Pronunciation: /u’-na/
Examples:

  • Tuvieron una discusión. (They had an argument.)
  • Debes tomar una decisión. (You must take a decision.)
  • Vamos a dar una vuelta. (Let’s go for a walk)

 

17. su
Pronunciation: /su/
Examples:

  • Tuvo a su bebé en agosto. (She had her baby in August.)
  • *Está en su oficina. (He/She’s in his/her office.) *In Spanish, the subject can be implicit at the beginning of a sentence. In this case, it could be “Él” (He) or “Ella (She).
  • Gracias por su* paciencia. (Thanks for your patience.) *formal

Note: “su” is a possessive adjective. It is singular and it can be used both with masculine and feminine nouns. Examples: Ella estacionó su auto en la calle (She parked her car on the street) / Él dejó su ropa en el camarín (He left his clothes* in the locker room). In Spanish, the word “ropa” (clothes) is singular. 

 

18. para
Pronunciation: /pa’-ra/
Examples:

  • Tomaron medidas para mejorar la educación. (They took measures to improve education.)
  • Se implementó una reforma para incentivar la inversión. (A reform was implemented in order to promote investment.)
  • Debes obtener un pasaporte para viajar. (You must get a passport to travel.)

 

19. es
Pronunciation: /es/
Examples:

  • Chile es un país hermoso. (Chile is a beautiful country.)
  • Hoy es lunes. (Today is Monday.)
  • ¿Qué hora es? (What time is it?) 

 

20. al
Pronunciation: /al/
Examples:

  • Vamos al restaurant. (Let’s go to the restaurant.)
  • ¿A qué hora te vas al trabajo? What time do you leave for work?
  • Vamos al centro. (Let’s go downtown.)

 

Practice

Role play the following situations in pairs.

Situation 1: visiting a city in a Spanish speaking country with a friend

Participant A: Vamos al centro de la ciudad.

Participant B: OK. Llamaré a un taxi para que nos venga a buscar. 

Participant A: Podríamos ir a comer al restaurant que está al lado del mall y luego ir de compras.

Participant B: Y después conocer los locales del centro comercial y comprar los regalos que llevaremos de vuelta.

Participant A: OK. Hagámoslo.

Situation 2: booking a hotel room in Spanish

Participant A: Buenos días. Necesito una habitación para una persona.

Participant B: Buenos días. Por favor dígame para cuántas noches la necesita.

Participant A: La necesito del 20 al 25 de este mes, por favor. 

Participant B: Perfecto. Por favor dígame su nombre y los detalles de su tarjeta de crédito.

Participant A: OK. Mi nombre es… y mi tarjeta de crédito es una Visa número… la fecha de vencimiento es abril de 2050.

Conclusion

As you saw in the examples, the top twenty most frequently used words in the Spanish language (de, la, que, el, en, y, a, los, se, del, las, un, por, con, no, una, su, para, es, al) are mostly short words, such as articles (la, el, los, las, un, una) and prepositions (de, en, del, por, con, para, al). There is only one verb on the list (es). These words come up in almost every single conversation, so it’s really important that you practice their use with the examples given in this article.  

Resources

Corpus de Referencia del Español Actual (CREA) – Listado de frecuencias: 1.000 formas más frecuentes. Available at http://corpus.rae.es/frec/10000_formas.TXT

 

  

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