100 Easy Spanish Words for True Beginners
If you learn just 100 easy Spanish words, you will have learned far more of the Spanish language than you might think!
Why? We repeat ourselves. We use certain words more frequently and more commonly in how we express in any language. This includes Spanish, where these easy Spanish words are often repeated.
The First Steps in Learning Spanish Take You Farthest!
Once you know 1,000 words in Spanish, you will recognize 88% of spoken conversation. Beyond that, increasing vocabulary brings a diminishing return on recognition of additional words.
In other words, your first learning of easy Spanish words will technically gain you more understanding of the language than the incremental learning you do once you’re already an established beginner. On any journey, the beginning steps often matter the most.
Easy Spanish Words for “True Beginners”: What’s True?
Sometimes you want to express or caveat that you don’t really know the language even if you know some easy Spanish words, so you claim “beginner” status until you feel you have enough Spanish chops. It’s true, you are a beginner.
But in official language learning speak, you’re a “false beginner” if you’ve actually absorbed or studied some Spanish at some point in your life, even if you feel rusty enough to want to review it all again.
You don’t feel comfortable claiming to know or speak Spanish—yet, it is still familiar to you. Sure, you’re a beginner.
But this list of 100 easy Spanish words is for “true beginners” — literally, you have never really been exposed to the language in your life. If you’ve never studied Spanish, you are a true beginner, and this list is for you!
Spanish Pronunciation Basics
Before we go into easy Spanish words, keep in mind these Spanish pronunciation basics.
Nothing will make more of a difference in whether you are understood by others then how you pronounce your Spanish! If you study strictly from written material without speaking and listening, you may have a greater knowledge of the language, but you’ll wonder why you can’t be understood when speaking.
I’m talking from experience here, as it was at first more comfortable for me to study written material by myself on bus rides while traveling through South America than brave conversation.
But when it came to saying tiburón (shark) while traveling in Peru, I was exasperated at why nobody knew what I was saying, after repeating it several times. You’ll see why below.
Before we get into easy Spanish words, these pronunciation basics will get you started.
Vowels: Only 5 Vowel Sounds in Spanish!
In English, we have a habit of using a sharp vowel or a clear vowel with no clear rule why at times, just because we know how the word sounds.
For example, a in “game” is sharp, while a in “cat” is flat.
Similarly, e in “we” is sharp, while e in “bed” is flat. They are totally different sounds, with no clear rule as to why one we say one sharp and the other flat in these cases.
In Spanish, five vowel sounds exist that are always the exact same sound, every single time you see them by themselves. They sound like this.
To make it even clearer with a comparison to English:
- a sounds like a relaxed exhale or sigh in English
- e sounds like how you say the English letter “a”
- i sounds like how you say the English letter “e”
- o has the sound of “owl” or “down” in English, not “pot” or “dot”
- u has the sound of “moo” or “coo” in English, not “cue” or “you”
So, you see I was pronouncing tiburón as “ty-boo-ron” when I needed to be saying “tee-bur-ohn” to be understood.
Beyond these vowel sounds, you will see multiple vowels together in Spanish (ai, ue, ia), as in English. (Study how to pronounce these diphthongs and hiatuses.)
Tricky Spanish Consonants to Note!
In Spanish, these consonants stand out as being pronounced differently from how we say them in English, also depending on where they appear in a word and with what vowels.
|Spanish Consonant Sounds|
|b & v||b like “beach” – at beginning of word|
v like “live” – in middle of word
|c||k like “key” – if before a, o, u|
s like “sit” – if before e or i
|ch||ch like “church”|
|d||d like “diet” – at beginning of word|
softer “th” – middle of word
|g||g like “go” – if before a, o, u|
h like “him” – if before i, e
|h||silent, not pronounced|
|j||h like “him”|
|ñ||ny like “canyon”|
|rr||rrr like “grrrrr”|
|z||s like “simple”|
You’ll notice that b and v sound the same in the middle of a word in Spanish.
Also, note that ñ is specific to the Spanish alphabet, and the ch, ll, and rr are double consonants in Spanish that have a different pronunciation than when they appear as singular.
The rolling sound of rr will take a little practice. Place the tip of your tongue at the top of your mouth behind your front two teeth and vibrate it, like a boat motor, creating a tickle feeling. It sounds crazy and may look strange in the line for groceries, but it’s exactly the effect you’re going for.
Let’s Get Into 100 Easy Spanish Words!
13 Very Common Spanish Words
You will use these basic Spanish words on a daily basis.
Note that, unlike English, nouns always have a gender in Spanish.
The Spanish versions of “a” and “the” vary based on the gender of a noun and whether you are referring to singular or plural object(s) or subject(s).
- Hola – hello
- Adiós – goodbye
- Por favor – please
- Gracias – thank you
- Lo siento – sorry
- Salud – bless you (after someone sneezes)
- Sí – yes
- No – no
- Quizás – maybe
- El, los – the (masculine version – singular, plural)
- La, las – the (feminine version – singular, plural)
- Un, una – an (masculine version, feminine version)
- Unos, unas – some (masculine plural, feminine plural)
8 One-Word Questions to Ask in Spanish
You will want to clarify with questions. As in English, you can often ask a question with just one of these easy Spanish words.
- ¿Quién? – Who?
- ¿Qué? – What?
- ¿Por qué? – Why?
- ¿Cuándo? – When?
- ¿Dónde? – Where?
- ¿Cómo? – How?
- ¿Cuánto(s), Cuánta(s)? – How much (how many, plural)?
- ¿Cuál? – Which?
15 Personal Spanish Pronouns
You’ll want to specify who is personally doing the action (who is speaking?), who is the action being directed towards (who to?), and what things belongs to who (whose words?).
When you refer to “your foot,” you would use a singular tu pie. When you refer to “your feet,” you would use the plural, tus pies. Where appropriate, masculine and feminine pronouns apply.
- Yo – I
- Él /ella – he/she
- Ellos, ellas – they
- Nosotros – we
- Tú – you (informal)
- Usted – you (formal)
- Me – (to) me
- Te – (to) you
- Le – (to) him, her, you
- Les – (to) them
- Nos – (to) us, ourselves
- Mi(s) – my
- Tu(s) – your
- Su(s) – her, his, yours (formal)
- Nuestro(s), nuestra(s) – our(s)
7 Basic Spanish Pronouns
When a specific person is not the focus of a sentence, you will still want to be specific about what or who is with these easy Spanish words.
- Lo, ello – it
- Este, esto, esta – this, this one
- Ese, eso, esa – that, that one
- Algo – something
- Nada – nothing
- Alguien – somebody
- Nadie – nobody
6 Spanish Words of Basic Orientation
You can convey the basic orientation of time and space with these easy Spanish words.
- Antes – before
- Después – after
- Lejos – far
- Cerca – near
- Aquí – here
- Allí – there
14 Spanish Nouns Related to Time
You can say when something happened, is happening or will happen with these easy Spanish words that reflect time.
- Tiempo – time
- Vez, veces – one time, times
- Hoy – today
- Mañana – tomorrow, also morning
- Ayer – yesterday
- Tarde(s) – afternoon
- Noche(s) – evening
- Anoche – last night
- Hora – hour
- Año – year
- Semana – week
- Mes – month
- Día – day
- Ahora – now
13 Spanish Conjunctions
You will connect corresponding words and thoughts with these common conjunctions—the shortest of all easy Spanish words in some cases (just a single letter!)
- Que – that, who, which, than
- Y – and
- O – or
- Como – as, like
- Pero – but, except
- Si – if, whether
- Porque – because
- Cuando – when
- Ni – nor, neither
- Donde – where
- Aunque – although, even though
- Sino – but, except
- Mientras – while
10 Spanish Nouns For People
You can get more specific about who you are talking about in relation to yourself and others with these easy Spanish words for people.
- Hombre – man
- Mujer – woman
- Chico, chica – boy, girl
- Madre – mother
- Padre – father
- Hijo, hija – son, daughter
- Amigo/a – friend
- Pareja – partner, couple
- Persona – person
- Familia – family
14 Basic Spanish Prepositions
You can indicate a relationship between words or phrases with these common Spanish prepositions—most often indicating relationships of direction, time, or location.
- En – in, on, or at
- Por – through, for (as a mean), along, or by
- Para – in order to, for (as an end)
- Con – with
- Sin – without
- Sobre – about, above, on top of, over
- Entre – between, among
- Hasta – until
- Desde – from, since
- Durante – during, for (time)
- Contra – against
- Hacia – toward
- De – or or from
- A – to or at
Wait?! What about Easy Spanish Verbs, Adjectives and Adverbs?
You’re right! 100 easy Spanish words is not enough!
We’ve just begun, but to get you started with even more tools in your easy Spanish words toolbox, here’s another 50 words!
16 Basic Spanish Adverbs
Like in English, you can use these common Spanish adverbs to modify or describe adjectives, verbs, or other adverbs.
- Más – more
- Ya – already, now, soon
- Muy – very
- También – also
- Así – so, like this, like that
- Bien – well
- Solo (solamente) – only
- Ahora – now
- Siempre – always
- Tan – so
- Entonces – then
- Menos – less
- Luego – then, later
- Además – besides, in addition
- Casi – almost
- Nunca – never
16 Basic Spanish Adjectives
As in English, you can use these simple easy Spanish words to describe nouns, the people, places and things around you.
- Otro/a, otros/as – other, another
- Todo/a, todos/as – whole, all or every
- Cada – each or every
- Mismo – same
- Gran – large or great, put before a noun
- Más – more
- Poco – little, few or not a lot of
- Menos – less, least, few or fewer
- Mucho/a, muchos/as – a lot
- Pequeño – small
- Grande – large
- Tanto/a – so many, so much
- Mejor – better
- Alguno/a, algunos/as – some
- Difícil – difficult
- Fácil – easy
18 Common Spanish Verbs
You’ll use and hear these common Spanish verbs frequently. They are in infinitive form here (their base form).
When speaking, you usually conjugate them to reflect subject and tense—such as who is performing the action and at what moment in time the action is happening.
- Ser – to be (permanent)
- Estar – to be (non-permanent)
- Ir – to go
- Hacer – to do, to make
- Haber – to have (as an auxiliary verb)
- Tener – to have, to possess
- Poder – to be able to, can
- Decir – to tell, to say
- Venir – to come
- Ver – to see
- Dar – to give
- Saber – to know (a fact), to find out
- Querer – to want, to love
- Llegar – to arrive
- Pasar – to pass, to spend time
- Creer – to believe
- Poner – to put
- Llamar – to name
Ready to Put These Easy Spanish Words Into Practice?
If you’re a true beginner, then these 150 easy Spanish words are a great first step.
You might want to make flashcards to help you memorize them. You can play with the different lists to string together basic sentences from these easy Spanish words. To make it easier yet, you can also download this list as a PDF resource to reference.
But what will make a bigger difference than anything else you can do in propelling your Spanish learning is live conversation with a native Spanish speaker. Why not put these easy Spanish words into practice?
So if you’re ready to shed your “true beginner” status within no time, sign up for a free class and begin learning Spanish today.
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