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Spanish Conversation Starters for Beginners

5 SPANISH CONVERSATION STARTERS YOU’LL ACTUALLY NEED EVERY DAY

You’re sitting at a bar in Mexico and see a beautiful Mexican human at the table next to you. Or you’re on holiday and you’re waiting in a long line at a grocery store together with a lot of other people. 

An ideal situation to meet new people, chat, practice your Spanish… maybe even meet a potential love interest… But the only thing that races through your mind is “My Spanish isn’t good enough for an interesting conversation! What if I make mistakes… And how do I even START the conversation in Spanish and make a good first impression?”

Paulísima, Spring Spanish teacher, to the rescue! Listen up: of course you can only have a good conversation… if you know how to START THE CONVERSATION. 

So in this video, I invited my friend Ania from the Languajet YouTube channel. She is Polish and learned Spanish fluently just like you can! We’re going to drill you in starting conversations in Spanish

Hola Ania! 

We’re going to do 4 role-plays, starting different conversations with Spanish chunks. We will start with a general conversation and then cover the following situations:

  • Estar en un bar (being in a bar)
  • Estar en una fiesta (being at a party) y (and)
  • Estar formado en una fila (waiting in line)

Your task? Pay close attention: imagine yourself in the same situations in real life, then learn the conversation starters by heart, so you too can use them in conversations.

Sounds good?

1. General conversation starters

Ania:
¡Hola!
(Hello!)

Paulísima:
¡Hola!
(Hello!)

Ania:
¡Mucho gusto! ¡Soy Ania y tú?
(Nice to meet you! I’m Ania and you?)

Paulísima:
Paulísima. Igualmente.
(Paulísima. Likewise.)

Ania:
Perdón por mi español, estoy aprendiendo apenas.
(Sorry about my Spanish, I’m just learning.) 

Paulísima:
¡Ay no te preocupes, hablas muy bien!
(Oh don’t worry, you speak very well!)

Ania:
Gracias.
(Thank you.)

Paulísima:
De nada.
(You’re welcome.)

We started with a simple hola (hello). And we’re gonna play with a phrase I’m sure you are familiar with: 

Mucho gusto. ¡Ojo! Normalmente “mucho gusto” se usa después de presentarte, después de decir tu nombre,  pero como en esta ocasión “mucho gusto” también puede usarse antes, como un preámbulo, antes de decir tu nombre. (Nice to meet you. Attention! Normally “mucho gusto” is said after introducing yourself, after having stated your name, but also, like in this case, you can use “mucho gusto” as a preamble to saying your name for the first time.)

If you’re a Spanish beginner, the phrase “Perdón por mi español, apenas estoy aprendiendo” (Sorry about my Spanish, I’m just learning) is going to be quite helpful when you want to strike up conversations! 

2. In a bar or coffee place

Let’s say you don’t know the person you want to start a conversation with yet. Let’s use this chunk of Spanish to get us started: ¿Ya conocías este lugar? (Did you know this place already?) 

Ania:
Hola, mucho gusto. Me llamo Ania, ¿y tú?
(Hello, nice to meet you. My name is Ania, and yours?)

Paulísima:
Hola, mucho gusto, Paulísima.
(Hello, nice to meet you, Paulísima.)

Ania:
Mucho gusto Paulísima. Oye, ¿ya conocías este lugar? ¡Está muy lindo!
(Nice to meet you too Paulísima. Hey, did you know this place already? It’s very beautiful!)

Paulísima:
¡Sí! Ya lo conocía.
(I knew it already.) 

Ania:
A mí me gusta mucho. ¿Vienes seguido por aquí?
(I like it a lot. Do you come here often?)

Paulísima:
No mucho, ¿y tú?
(Not much really and you?)

Now let’s say you weren’t sitting close to the person you wanted to talk to yet. How do we ask permission to sit near them? Pay attention to the first chunk: 

Ania:
¡Hola! Disculpe, ¿te molesta si me siento aquí?
(Hello, would you mind if I sit here?)

Paulísima:
No, para nada adelante.
(No, not at all, go ahead.) 

Ania:
Mucho gusto, me llamo Ania, ¿y tú?
(Nice to meet you, my name is Ania, and yours?)

Paulísima:
Paulísima. Mucho gusto.
(Paulísima. nice to meet you)

Ania:
Perdón por mi español, estoy aprendiendo apenas.
(Sorry about my Spanish, I’m just learning.)

Paulísima:
¡Ay no te preocupes, vas muy bien!
(Oh don’t worry, you’re doing really well!)

Ania:
¿Vienes seguido por aquí?
(Do you come here often?)

Paulísima:
¡Sí bastante!
(Yes, I do!)

WAIT! Don’t believe for a second I’m not going to check if you’re really paying attention ok? I’m cool but I’m still a teacher… I added something a bit… weird… in my conversation. Let me know in the comments if you noticed… 

3. At a party

Now let’s say you were lucky enough to be invited to a party while you’re in Mexico and any Spanish-speaking country really. We throw the best parties mi gente (my people) y todo el mundo lo sabe (and everybody knows it).

Ania:
¡Hola!
(Hello!)

Paulísima:
¡Hola! 
(Hello!)

Ania:
Mucho gusto, me llamo Ania.
(Nice to meet you, I’m Ania.)

Paulísima:
Hola Ania mucho gusto, Paulísima.
(Nice to meet you, I’m Paulísima)

Ania:
Oye, ¿cómo conoces a Cory?
(Hey, how do you know Cory?) 

Paulísima:
Del trabajo ¿y tú?
(From work and you?)

Ania:
Tenemos amigos en común.
(We have friends in common.)

Attention here to the chunk. ¿Cómo conoces a ____ ? (How do you know ____?)

¿Cómo conoces a Gabriel? ¿Cómo conoces a Lukas? ¿Cómo conoces a Cory? ¿Cómo conoces a Juan? ¿Cómo conoces a María Fernanda? ¿Cómo conoces a Mariana?  ¿Cómo conoces a Paulísima? (How do you know, Gabriel? How do you know Lukas? How do you know Cory? How do you know Juan? How do you know María Fernanda? How do you know Mariana? How do you know Paulísima?)

Possible answers can be said by memorizing these chunks: 

¿Cómo conoces a Cory? (How do you know Cory?) 

  • Del trabajo (From work)
  • De la escuela (From school)
  • Tenemos amigos en común (We have friends in common)
  • Nos acabamos de conocer (We just met) 

4. Waiting in line 

Ania:
Disculpe. ¿Esta fila sí es para comprar boletos?
(Excuse me. This line is to buy tickets?)

Paulísima:
Sí, sí es.
(Yes, yes it is.)

Ania:
Ah ok. Muchas gracias.
(Alright. Thank you very much.)

Paulísima:
De nada.
(You’re welcome.)

Ania:
¡Me quería asegurar! Mucho gusto. Me llamo Ania ¿y tú?
(I just wanted to make sure! Nice to meet you. My name is Ania and yours?)

Paulísima:
Hola mucho gusto Ania, yo me llamo Paulísima.
(Nice to meet you Ania, I’m Paulísima.) 

Observe the use of the word “” in the chunk “¿Está fila sí es para… such and such. It is the Spanish equivalent of using the auxiliar DO to emphasize the veracity of something, like in the phrase: 

You didn’t tell me about your amiguita, eh? 

I DID tell you!

In Spanish, with Mexican attitude, that’d be:

No me dijiste de tu amiguita. (You didn’t tell me about your amiguita)

Sí te dije. (I did tell you)

In the example we use “¿Esta fila sí es para los boletos?” (This line is for the tickets, isn’t it?) because we do have an idea of what’s going on, but we just want to make sure… It’s like saying “is this line for X and Y?”. If we have no idea what the line is for. You can use:

¿Para qué es esta fila? (What is this line for?)

Mismo ejemplo: (Same example): 

Ania:
Disculpe. ¿Para qué es esta fila?
(Excuse me. What is this line for?)

Paulísima:
Es para los que compramos boletos en línea.
(For those that bought tickets online.)

Ania:
Muchas gracias.
(Thank you)

Paulísima:
Un placer.
(My pleasure.)

Ania:
Mucho gusto. Me llamo Ania ¿y tú?
(Nice to meet you. My name is Ania and yours?)

Paulísima:
Mucho gusto Ania, yo soy Paulísima.
(Nice to meet you Ania, I am Paulísima.)

Mucho gusto. Me llamo Paulísima… and if you’re liking this video so far I promise you’re gonna love the content of Spring Spanish, subscribe to the channel. 

Time for Paulísima’s cheating tip: 

Did you notice that to open up the conversation Ania used the word DisculpE and not disculpA but disculpE. Disculpe is the formal version of Excuse me. This is the formal version of it, addressing the person usted , the formal of “you”. However, for the rest of the chunks like “cómo conoces a…”  or “vienes seguido por aquí”,use the informal conjugation. 

See, when Ania opens the conversation with Disculpe, she’s letting me know, without having to think about it, that she’s aware of the distinction of the formal and informal and that she’s trying to be very respectful, that’s why she uses Disculpe. This will already make me feel more at ease talking to you. Then when you start using “you” they won’t think anything of it, it’d be more like: Of course, she’s just learning, no problem. 

Bonus: Te escuchas super lindo mezclando la versión formal y la versión informal. (You sound super cute mixing up the formal and informal.)

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