Useful phrases for beginners
Great news! In this article you will find frases útiles (useful phrases in Spanish) that you need as a beginner! Since you’re a beginner, you might not understand the whole structure of these phrases yet. That’s totally fine! You don’t have to understand all the grammar rules behind these phrases; instead, I’m teaching them to you as whole chunks (fixed word combinations), which will allow you to sound natural when using them!
Basic sentences in Spanish
Below you will find some basic sentences and we’ll go over them una por una (one by one).
- Yo soy/ Yo soy de …
As you probably know, this means “I am” or “I am from”. For example: Yo soy Cory y soy de Veracruz, Mexico (I am Cory and I come from Veracruz, Mexico).
This means “I don’t speak Spanish“. So imaginemos (let’s imagine) you are in a gathering and somebody approaches you and starts talking to you about last night’s telenovela (soap opera). Then, you may say “Lo siento, no hablo español” or “No hablo mucho español”, which means I don’t speak Spanish very well.
- Perdón, no entiendo. (I’m sorry, I don’t understand.)
- ¿Podría hablar más despacio, por favor?
This phrase means “Could you speak more slowly, please?” and it is very useful because Spanish speakers are very skilled at saying as many words per minute as possible… In fact, debo confesar (I must confess), sometimes it is difficult even for Spanish speakers to understand what people say, so don’t be afraid to ask “¿Podría hablar más despacio, por favor?” (if you are using the formal version of you) or ¿Podrías hablar más despacio, por favor? (if you are using the informal version of you).
- ¿Podría repetir eso, por favor?
This means “Could you repeat that, please?” Given the fact that there are so many different accents in the Spanish language, you might hear something that is pronounced slightly differently, so no te quedes con la duda (don’t hesitate to ask) and say: ¿Podría repetir eso, por favor? Remember, a good smile and the word por favor (please) will always get the doors open for you!
- ¿Hablas inglés?
This means “Do you speak English?” But don’t be lazy and do your best to continue learning Spanish. Remember, “La práctica hace al maestro” (practice is key).
- Estoy aprendiendo español.
This means “I’m learning Spanish” and I bet you are excited about it, right? So go and tell everyone about it… and spread the word about our channel as well! 😉
- ¿Puedo utilizar un traductor? (May I use a translator?)
Spanish phrases for rookie survival
- ¿Pica? or ¿Esto pica?
This means “Is this spicy?” In Mexico, there’s an illness called “La venganza de Moctezuma” (Moctemuza’s illness) and a lot of foreign people “catch” it after eating a large amount of spicy food, willingly or not, and they end up suffering in el baño (the toilet). To avoid this, you may simply ask ¿Pica? If the answer is yes… then it is up to you… 🙈
- Tengo sed or ¿Me da un vaso con agua, por favor?
This means “I’m thirsty” and “Can I have a glass of water, please?”, respectively. The survival tip here is: never drink water if you are enchilado (on fire) because of the food, that only makes it worse! It is better if you eat some sal (salt). 🧂
- ¿Dónde está el baño?
This means “Where is the toilet?” You might have to use this if you forgot to ask if your food was spicy. 😅
- ¿Dónde está el hospital? Necesito un doctor.
This means “Where is the hospital? I need a doctor.” I’m not trying to scare you, but maybe going to el baño (the toilet) after those spicy tacos is not helping and you actually need to see a doctor… now you know!
- ¿Cuánto cuesta? or ¿Cuánto es?
In English, the translation of both sentences is the same: “How much is it?”, but in Spanish it is common to ask “¿Cuánto cuesta?” before buying an item or contracting a service, and “¿Cuánto es?” is commonly used to ask for “the total”.
FREE Spanish Training
¡Muy bien! Now you know some easy phrases that will help you become confident when you use your Spanish. Don’t worry, Spanish speakers love it when a person makes an effort to learn and speak their language. 🥰 You don’t need to be perfect, they’ll understand you anyways!
Remember that we have a whole series of Spanish beginner videos, so feel free to check them out on our channel! Now, if you're ready to go beyond these basic phrases and get serious about learning Spanish, we have a free Spanish training on our website where you'll discover the method we use in our Spring Spanish Academy to have you speaking Spanish súper rapido (super fast). You also get some free sample Spanish lessons there that come straight from our Academy!