Top Spanish Survival Phrases Everyone Should Know


Spanish is a beautiful language, and learning it comes with many benefits. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that we can often be found bragging about the incredible destinations and activities throughout Spanish-speaking Latin America that deserve a spot on your bucket list. And–as we’ve been quick to point out on more than one occasion–having even a basic understanding and knowledge in the Spanish language can enrich your visit to Central or South America tenfold. Whether you just need to brush up on your old high school Spanish or are brand new to the language, keep reading for some essential phrases every one of us should know:

The Basics

Let’s start with the necessities. You can put these basic phrases to use even if you have no plans on taking a vacation anytime soon. Try chatting with your server at your favorite Mexican restaurant, that Nicaraguan neighbor you’ve been nervous to talk to, or the Peruvian owner of your favorite coffee shop. Chances are that they will be excited that you’ve taken an interest in Spanish and will want to help you learn more about this important aspect of their culture.

  • ¡Hola! ¿Cómo está usted?  /  Hi! How are you?

Response:

Bien, ¡gracias!  /  Good, thank you!

  • ¿Dónde está el baño?  /  Where is the bathroom?

Possible Responses:

Allí.  /  Over there.

A la derecha.  /  To the right.

A la izquierda.  /  To the left.

  • ¿Cuánto cuesta?  /  How much does this cost?
  • La cuenta, por favor.  /  The bill, please. (when making a request for your bill in a restaurant.)
  • Buen provecho.  / Enjoy your meal.
  • ¡Sálud!   /  Cheers!  (and “Bless you” when someone sneezes)
  • ¡Adiós!  /  Goodbye!

Did you already know all of these? Test your Spanish skills with our free Spanish language level test!

Common Expressions

After learning the most basic phrases, you can move on to common expressions that will add a friendly tone to your conversations. Just like in the U.S., regions within different Spanish-speaking countries have many of their own regional expressions; however, these are quite general and will spread a positive message in everyday conversations as you work to better your Spanish.

  • Si Dios quiere.  /  If God wills it.

This is a common expression muttered by people of all ages and backgrounds, including those don’t consider themselves religious. It’s sort of a way of saying, “what will be, will be.” You may say that it looks like a big rain storm is coming and get the response, “Si Dios quiere.”

  • Así es la vida.  / That’s how life goes.

Good or bad, “así es la vida.” As far as this favorite saying, it’s often stated in response to something mildly unpleasant or awkward, though not always. If you were in a fender bender, you burned dinner, or your lottery ticket was off by one number, that’s just how life goes!

  • Que Dios te bendiga.  /  May God bless you.

Again, though this sounds overtly religious, it’s an everyday saying that’s used when saying goodbye. As you say goodbye to a friend or acquaintance, a friendly “que Dios te bendiga” lets them know you wish them well on all fronts.

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If we’ve whet your appetite for learning more of the Spanish language, be sure to contact us. We offer a huge variety of learning options to ensure you’re able to learn Spanish with ease and confidence. Call or email us today!