Quick Guide of Spanish for Dummies
Spanish is a really fun language to learn. There are so many countries that speak Spanish, so learning it is funbecause it is very diverse and interesting. Maybe you are learning Spanish so you can become bilingual, or perhaps you are planning on traveling to a Spanish-speaking country. Learning Spanish can be quick and easy once you start with the basics. I have prepared a quick guide of ‘Spanish for Dummies’ which will teach you common phrases that will be useful in various situations that may arise in your travels or conversations.
Before we go into it, let’s talk about different ways to address people:
In English it only exists ‘you,’ but in Spanish we have ‘tú’ (tooh) and ‘usted.’ (oohs-tehd)
Tú is used when you know the person very well. It is a more personal way of addressing other people, like family and friends.
Usted is the proper form, which we use when talking to someone you don’t know very well. You can also use it towards someone older than you or a professional, like a police officer or a fireman. If you would like to learn more about Spanish pronouns, be sure to read our Spanish Pronouns blog!
Spanish for Dummies: Greetings
We’ll begin our Spanish for Dummies guide with some basics. Greetings are some of the most important things to learn. In general, Spanish-speaking countries are very polite so it is nice to start a conversation with a small greeting. Let’s start with the easy ones!
We normally use ‘Hola’ with someone you know very well.
When talking to someone you just met or to a group of people, you can use ‘Buenos días,’ ‘Buenas tardes,’ or ‘Buenas noches.’
Interestingly, ‘Buenas noches’ is used for both ‘good evening’ and ‘good night.’ It is used for ‘good evening’ at the start of an event or when you meet someone on the streets at night time and as ‘good night’ when you go to bed.
In Spanish, we use these three phrases often. Not only as a greeting but also when introducing yourself to a group.
When you meet someone new, the polite thing to say is ‘mucho gusto,’ or ‘nice to meet you.’
There are two ways of asking ‘How are you?’ in Spanish.
- ¿Cómo estás? – personal form (see above)
- ¿Cómo está? – proper form (see above)
To answer the above questions, you can say ‘bien, gracias,’ which means ‘good, thanks.’
Other good phrases to know in Spanish are ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome.’ The former is ‘gracias’ and the latter is ‘de nada.’ You should also know that ‘por favor’ means ‘please.’
For more information on Spanish Greetings, check out this blog!
Spanish for Dummies: Farewells
Once the conversation is flowing, it would be really awkward to just walk away from it. Conversations need to have a closure, which is why farewells are just as important as greetings in any language.
The most basic farewell is ‘goodbye,’ or ‘Adiós’ (ah-di-os) in Spanish.
The two phrases ‘buenas tardes’ and ‘buenas noches’ (which are used as greetings) can also be used as a way to say goodbye. You may also use ‘que tenga buen día’ to say goodbye in the morning.
However, those aren’t the only phrases you can use when saying goodbye. Check out the following list!
Spanish for Dummies: Questions
When you are still learning to dominate the language, you may find yourself asking a lot of questions. A good thing to have handy is a list of Spanish question words to help you out on the go. Write these down on a piece of paper, keep them in your wallet or on a note in your phone so that you always have them with you.
Spanish for Dummies: Small Talk
Having a conversation is Spanish may seem scary at first, but it really isn’t that hard once you start. Small talk is the best when you want to start a conversation. Check out our list of questions you can ask to get the conversation going.
Asking questions, however, is not the only thing you should be able to do. An important part of Spanish for Dummies is participating in a conversation by answering questions or talking about yourself. Practice answering the questions using the above prompts!
Spanish for Dummies: Asking for Directions
When visiting a Spanish-speaking country for the first time, you will definitely ask for directions at some point. Asking a local for help is the way to go since they are likely to know exactly where you’re headed.
There are two ways of saying ‘Where is?’ in Spanish. You can say ‘¿Dónde está?’ (dohn-day ehs-tah) when you’re talking about a specific place. This means places that are usually referred to with ‘the…’ (Ex: Where is the restroom? – ¿Dónde está el baño). You can also use ‘¿Dónde hay?’ (dohn-day ayh) which is used when you’re not talking about a specific place. This means places which are referred to with ‘a…’ (Ex: Where is a restroom? – ¿Dónde hay un baño?)
In our Guide of Spanish for Dummies, we have prepared a small list of things you may hear when asking for directions:
If you would like more information on giving directions using some Spanish commands, click here for our blog!
Spanish for Dummies: Transportation
Transportation is very important when you are traveling. Most of the Spanish-speaking countries have different ways of transportations. There are buses, rented cars, taxis, and even Uber! They are not much different than the ones you are used to. Here is a list of the different vehicles you can use for transportation and a list of questions that will help you get around:
Spanish for Dummies: Asking for help
Being able to ask someone for help in Spanish is super important; I’ve had to do numerous times! You might be trying to find something, or maybe want to let someone know you aren’t proficient in the language. It is imperative to be able to communicate those kinds of things. Here are some phrases that will help you:
Spanish for Dummies: Useful Vocabulary
The last thing we would like to add in our Quick Guide of Spanish for Dummies is a list of vocabulary. These words and phrases are useful to know because they can help you understand what other people are saying and help improve your own conversational skills.
The names of certain places are also important to know. They can be useful to ask for directions or to talk about where you’ve been.
The names of certain foods and other things are also very useful. Here is a list of things you may encounter:
Let’s practice with an example of all these phrases in a conversation:
If you learn all the things we have listed above, you are sure to have a successful conversation in Spanish! We hope you can use our quick guide of Spanish for Dummies for any upcoming travels or opportunities you may have.
Do you want more Spanish basics? Check out our playlist of videos you can use to accompany your Spanish learning!