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Don’t say por favor, say this instead

Don’t Say POR FAVOR, say THIS instead (9 Alternatives)!

Mis amigos, if you want to sound more like a native speaker while speaking Spanish, it’s time for you to STOP saying the same old por favor in Spanish when asking someone for something. Use one of these 9 much more conversational alternatives instead! 

I’m teacher María Fernanda from Spring Spanish, and THIS is your first alternative:

1. Estaría muy agradecido si… (I would be grateful if…)

Here you are already anticipating that they will say yes to whatever you’re about to ask. Let’s remember that when you use the word por favor (please) it means you’re asking for something in return. So, por qué no estarías agradecido, ¿no? (why wouldn’t you be grateful, right?)

ACTOR 1
Hola Ana, oye estaría muy agradecida si me ayudas con mi tarea.
(Hello Ana, listen I would be grateful if you help me with my homework.)

ACTOR 2
¿De qué es? Matemáticas seguramente, ¿no?.
(What is it about? Surely it’s Math, right?.)

ACTOR 1
Sí ya sabes, ¿para qué preguntas?
(If you already know, why do you ask me?)

2. Estaría genial si… (It would be great if…)

Similar to the previous statement, this is another way of saying thank you in advance. En este caso, estás diciendo que sería increíble (In this case, you’re saying that it would be incredible) if they help you out with something.

ACTOR 1 (over the phone)
Hola. ¿Andas en la calle? Estaría genial si me compras unos libros antes de que vengas a la casa.
(Hello. Are you out? It would be great if you could buy me some books before you come back home.)

ACTOR 2
Hola. Sí claro, ¿qué necesitas?
(Hello. Sure, what do you need?)

ACTOR 2
Va, ¿cualquier es?
(Right, which one is it?)

ACTOR 1
Me gustaría el libro de Shakespeare porfa. Gracias. ¡Te vas a ir al cielo!
(I would like the book from Shakespeare please. Thank you. You’re going to heaven!)

3. Te molestaría… (Would you mind…)

This is an expression that we also share with the English language. Es una manera amable de pedir algo (It is a nice way of asking for something) and remember everything is about intonation. My mom used to tell me, “En el pedir está el dar.” (The way you ask for things is how you get them.)

ACTOR 1
No tengo masa. 
(I don’t have dough.)

ACTOR 1 
Hijo, ¿te molestaría ir me  a comprar las tortillas para la comida porfa?
(Son, would you mind going to buy the tortillas for lunch, please?)

ACTOR 2
Ay mamá, ¿ahorita? Es que estoy jugando.
(Ay mom, now? Because I am playing.)

ACTOR 1
Si quieres comer temprano, sí, ahorita por favor.
(If you want to eat early, yes, now please.)

ACTOR 2
Ok. Está bien.
(Ok. Alright.)

4. Me podrías… (Could you…)

I kind of like this one because you can use it with anything: echar la mano (give me a hand), ayudar (help), acompañar (come with me), comunicar (connect me with) and so on. It is like your comodín (wildcard). 

By the way, if you would like to have a list of the most important Spanish chunks that you can use right away when speaking with native speakers, make sure to download our essential Spanish chunking kit. It’s free! Link is in the description. 

5. ¿Te podría pedir un favor? (Can I ask you for a favor?)

“No, you can’t.” Sometimes you wish you could answer that, right? Pero, no te preocupes, te voy a enseñar cómo puedes contestar eso. (But, no worries, I am going to teach you how you can reply.)

¿Te podría pedir un favor? (Can I ask you for a favor?). Sí claro, ¿cómo te puedo ayudar? (Yes sure, how can I help you?)

6. ¿Me haces un favor? (Can you do me a favor?)

And last but not least, this is an alternative way of saying the previous one y muy común en inglés también (and very common in English, too). Let’s combine the previous alternative with this one and see how it would look like in a daily conversation.

ACTOR 1 
Oye, amor, ¿me podrías hacer un favor?
(Hey, love, could you do me a favor?)

ACTOR 2
¿Qué paso?
(What’s up?)

ACTOR 1
¿Me podrías acompañar mañana al médico?
(Could you come to the doctor with me?)

ACTOR 2
Sí claro, ¿todo bien?
(Sure, everything alright?)

ACTOR 1
Sí claro, solo es una revisión de rutina.
(Yes, of course., Iit is just a routine check-up.)

7. Informales (Informal ones)

Y por supuesto, no podía faltar las versiones informales (and of course I couldn’t miss the informal answers). To be fair, these are diminutives of the word por favor (please). However, it is very common to hear among friends, couples, and family. So do not be surprised if you hear any of the following:

  • ¿Me llevas a la plaza, porfa? (Can you take me to the plaza, please?)
  • Mamá, pásame mi celular, porfis. (Mom, pass me my mobile, please.)
  • ¿Me acompañas al cine, plis? (Would you come with me to the cinema, please?) 

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