15 Hard Spanish Words to Pronounce + Examples

15 Spanish words you have been pronouncing wrong

Spanish native speakers can easily spot a foreigner because of their accent or because of how they pronounce certain words. 

If you want your pronunciation to resemble that of a native speaker and you’d like to remain camouflaged a bit longer, then this is an article you must read because we will go over 15 hard Spanish words to pronounce them easily!

You might be surprised, but some of those mistakes are made when using the easiest and most frequent words, such as:

graciasThank you
muchoA lot
exigirto demand
balbucearto stutter
hallarto find
negarto deny

1. español (Spanish) 

If someone asks you “which language are you learning?”, they might question that you are actually learning Spanish if you are unable to pronounce its name correctly.

Say: Estoy aprendiendo español. (I’m learning Spanish.)

2. gracias (Thank you) 

This is a word you’ll use very often. So make sure you pronounce it correctly when saying something like “Estoy bien, gracias” after you’ve been asked “¿cómo estás? (how are you?).

3. mucho (A lot)

Bear in mind that you should never elongate letter O, especially when it appears at the end of words.

Example: Ha estado lloviendo mucho hoy. (It has rained a lot today.)

4. hotel (hotel)

Letter H is silent in Spanish. I know it might be tempting to pronounce this word as it is pronounced in English, but don’t! 

Example: Escogí este hotel por su ubicación. (I chose this hotel because of its location.) 

5. acento (accent)

Most English speakers tend to say this word wrong at first. I know both words look similar, but they are pronounced differently.

Example: Este video es para que trabajes tu acento en español. (This video will prove useful for you to work on your Spanish accent.)

6. adiós (good-bye)

These words tend to be mispronounced because language learners usually rely on their mother tongue to be able to pronounce words in another language. This is called interference by linguists.

7. habitantes (inhabitants)

Example: México tiene 126 millones de habitantes. (Mexico has 126 million inhabitants.)

8. vehículo (vehicle)

Example: Yo no tengo vehículo; prefiero andar en bicicleta. (I don’t have a car; I prefer riding a bike.)

9. deporte (sport)

This word has nothing to do with deportation. It’s the equivalent of sport. So, you’ll hear it often in sentences like this: 

Example: La natación es mi deporte favorito. (Swimming is my favorite sport.)

10. idea (idea)

Example: ¡Tengo una idea! (I have an idea!)

11. exigir (to demand)

Example: Vino a exigir su pago. (They came to demand payment.)

12. ejercer (exercise)

Example: Exijo poder ejercer mis derechos. (I demand being able to exercise my rights!)

13. balbucear (to stutter)

Example: Estaba tan nerviosa que empezó a balbucear. (She was so nervous that he began to stutter.)

14. hallar (to find)

If you pronounce the h in this word, you’ll change the meaning entirely. So just don’t pronounce the h, never ever, just don’t!

Jalar means to pull, while hallar means to find.

Example: Me tardé en hallar el camino de vuelta. (It took me a while to find the way back.)

15. negar (to deny)

I’ve seen English speakers shocked when they see this word because they think it means something they’re not supposed to say. So, no, this is not the Spanish version of the N-word. 

This means to deny. Therefore, it will prove useful when highlighting an undeniable fact: 

No puedo negar que me encantan los tacos. (I can’t deny I love eating tacos.) 

What to look out for in these 15 hard Spanish words to pronounce

In Spanish, even simple words can present challenges due to small pronunciation differences. And, of course, there’s your native language, too. It can interfere, even if you don’t realize it at first.

Let’s say, the case of the silent “h”. The silent “h” in “hotel” and “hallar” can be tempting to pronounce for English speakers.

The word “mucho” might invite a longer ‘oooo‘ sound – but it doesn’t align with Spanish pronunciation norms. Also, the similarities in spelling across languages like with “acento” (accent) doesn’t always guarantee the same pronunciation.

As always, it’s not enough to learn the meaning of these words and the chunks they’re used in. You should also listen to as much Spanish, as you can! We have to Spring Spanish podcasts for it!

Listen regularly and trust me, these hard Spanish words will be the thing of the past in no time! 😉

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