Spanish phrases for beginners

A guided tour through Spanish in 95 phrases

If you’re new to Spanish, your first task is to build out and memorise your “phrase bank”.

In this guide, we present 95 Spanish phrases which you should memorise. They cover a wide range of situations, and include different types of grammar and vocabulary.

Even if you’ve been studying Spanish a while, have a look through and make sure that you are at least familiar with these phrases!

Let’s go!

Rob Ashby
The Spanish Obsessive

At almost any stage of learning a language, learning phrases is one of the most useful activities you can do.

We learn things best when they have context and meaning, and by learning phrases (instead of individual words) we can give ourselves both context and meaning.

Unlike individual words, each phrase contains a certain amount of grammar, which our brain can start to assimilate and unpack: Learning a phrase means that when you study a particular grammar point, it will “slot into place” much more easily as you already know it!

A phrase is also generally fairly unambiguous in its meaning. A single word, however, can have multiple meanings based on its context, which makes it extremely hard to learn and use.

Learning a phrase is like eating a healthy, balanced diet; learning individual words is like gorging on only broccoli – you’ll quickly get bored, and it won’t help you much in the long run!

Learning phrases also gives you a stock of set expressions so that you can go out and start speaking immediately.

We’ve curated 95 common and essential Spanish phrases which we think give you the best head-start in your studies. Each of these phrases:

Is common: We’ve deliberately chosen phrases that contain important vocabulary you will generally hear and can use frequently.

Teaches you something: We’ll give you a tour of Spanish grammar through these phrases, from the basics to more advanced. We’ll provide explanations of what grammar is being used, although these are not intended as full grammar lessons. If you don’t want to learn grammar, you won’t have to as you can just memorise the phrases. However, if you want to understand how that particular phrase is put together, look for “construction” next to each of the phrases.

Is functionalThese phrases can be used in a variety of contexts, and in a number of different ways, from expressing your opinion, to asking questions, to bringing coherence to your conversation. We’ve tried to present a wide variety of phrases that will serve you throughout, in a range of different situations.

How we selected these phrases

We have used a “Spanish corpus” (a huge database of natural, genuine Spanish, specifically: Corpus del Español) to uncover the most common word combinations and phrases. That means that you are learning authentic Spanish as it is actually commonly used throughout the Spanish speaking world, rather than specifically invented phrases.

How to use this guide

These phrases should be useful for any level, from beginner to advanced. With each phrase, you can listen to the pronunciation (by Lis, our native Colombian Spanish speaker), get the translation, and read about why we love it and how it’s constructed – including what common vocabulary or important grammar point it contains. These phrases are split into 5 parts, and are also grouped thematically. We think you should go ahead and memorise these phrases, and we’ll help you to do it.

How to memorise these phrases

Read through each phrase, listening to the pronunciation and repeating multiple times. Use the quiz at the end of each part to practise and test your knowledge. You can take each quiz as many times as you like.

You can download these phrases as a pdf, and download all the phrases to mp3, along with their translations, for free. Simply sign up below, and we’ll send you those materials straight away.