Gracias! 20+ Ways to Say Thank You in Spanish and Express Gratitude
Updated on April 1, 2020.
Imagine you’re abroad in a Spanish-speaking country and all of a sudden, you realize you’re lost! Oh no! Now you’re confused, and likely feeling foolish, when a kind stranger approaches you to help out. In this situation, when all is said and done, you’ll need to know how to say thank you in Spanish!
Of course, you love traveling abroad, but you’re aware that it comes with likely obstacles—confusing street names, bus charts that resemble hieroglyphics, and people who just talk too fast in a language you don’t quite fully know yet. It’s these moments where the kindness of strangers stands out even more than usual. Acts of kindness from foreigners have even been the subject of old tales “The Good Samaritan,” and it gets me thinking: why is it that we notice kindness more when it’s in a strange place? Maybe it’s because we feel lost, or maybe it’s because we don’t expect it. Either way, I see it as an opportunity to appreciate how most people are willing to help out regardless of where you come from.
Latinoamérica has a culture that holds religion, family, and gratitude in high regard. While you’re visiting a Spanish-speaking country, prepare to interact pleasantly with people by memorizing the many ways to say thank you in Spanish or to express gratitude.
Here are some of the ways to do so:
Latinos Use Food to Say Thank You
Just as we are a family-centered culture, we’re also a food-centered culture. Most, if not all of our celebrations involve food, and this includes displays of gratitude!
For example, a friend of mine recently saved me from getting a bad grade in our university class. While I was running late and the professor was moments from leaving, my friend went out of her way to print my essay and hand it in on time! To say thanks, I bought her a candy bar on the campus vending machine. In fact, inviting someone to dinner, coffee, or a snack is a very Latino (and personal) way of saying thanks!
Write a Thank You Letter in Spanish
Another way to say thank you in Spanish is by writing a letter. In our modern era where technology has facilitated communication in ways we’ve never experienced before, a written letter is something that still holds power and conveys meaning through the ink itself. Culturally, letters are given as birthday gifts, love letters, and as gifts to loved ones who are about to leave for a while. These can also work as nice mementos of people you meet along your travels, so writing a letter to a host family, or the lady that sold you breakfast on the streets during your stay in Guatemala is a nice way to thank them for their hospitality! Here’s an example letter so you can write a letter in Spanish to someone you care about.
Querida familia anfitriona,
Quiero agradecerles por su hospitalidad mientras estuve viviendo en su casa. ¡No sé qué hubiera hecho si no me hubieran ayudado cuando me dejó el bus en mi primer día como voluntario! Nunca voy a olvidar nuestro viaje a Cobán, estoy seguro que a mis hermanos les va a encantar el ceviche que me enseñaron a cocinar.
Les deseo lo mejor y espero poder venir a visitarlos pronto.
Dear host family,
I want to thank you for your hospitality while I was living here with you. I don’t know what I’d done if you hadn’t helped when the bus left me behind on my first day as a volunteer! I’ll never forget our trip to Cobán, I’m sure my siblings will love the ceviche you taught me how to cook.
I wish you all the best and hope I can come visit soon.
As you can see, we have different words to say “dear,” one is formal, and the other one isn’t. Also, take into account that te quiero and “I love you” carry two different meanings. In short, te quiero is less serious than “I love you.” Read about this and more in our blog post Spanish Concepts Not Found in English. Now you’re ready to go out there and say thank you in Spanish! If you want to learn Spanish, take a free class at Homeschool Spanish Academy today.
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