Difference between revisions of "Spanish phrasebook"

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Spanish phrasebook

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; k : like 'k' in "kid": ''kilo'' The letter K is only used in foreign words (karate, kilo, Kiev, etc.).
; k : like 'k' in "kid": ''kilo'' The letter K is only used in foreign words (karate, kilo, Kiev, etc.).
; l : like 'l' in "love": ''lápiz''
; l : like 'l' in "love": ''lápiz''
; ll : like 'y' in "year"; pronounced like a Zh as in 'Zhivago' only in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay: ''llamar.''  In at least some parts of Costa Rica, pronounced as the English "j" or "g," as in the words "ginger" or "ninja."
; ll : like 'y' in "year"; pronounced like a Zh as in 'Zhivago' only in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay: ''llamar.''  In at least some parts of Costa Rica, pronounced as the English "j" or "g," as in the words "ginger" or "ninja." Also pronounced like 'ly' as in the English word "million" in some parts of Spain and in the Philippines.
; m : like 'm' in "mother": ''mano''
; m : like 'm' in "mother": ''mano''
; n : like 'n' in "nice", and like 'n' in "anchor": ''noche, ancla''
; n : like 'n' in "nice", and like 'n' in "anchor": ''noche, ancla''

Revision as of 17:18, 17 May 2009

Spanish (castellano or español) is the third most-spoken language in the world. Originating in Spain where it is also known as Castilian, and spoken by most residents there, with slightly different pronunciation from the rest of the world's Spanish speakers, as well as a few minimal vocabulary differences.

It is also spoken in Mexico and all of Central and South America except Belize, Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname, and the Falkland Islands. In the Caribbean, Spanish is also spoken in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Although the Philippines and Guam are former Spanish colonies, relatively few learned how to speak Spanish, and even fewer do so today. See the Filipino phrasebook and Chamorro (Guam, etc.) phrasebook. Spanish is a first language for many people in the United States, especially in California, Texas, South Florida, and elsewhere the Southwest.

A Western Romance language, Spanish is closely related to and mutually intelligible with the other romance languages to a wide extent, such as Portuguese, Catalan, French, Italian and Romanian. English and Spanish share variants of approximately one third of their words (via Latin), although the pronunciation tends to be very different.

Pronunciation Guide

Spanish spelling has the pleasant characteristic of being very phonetic, with only a few clearly-defined exceptions. This means that if you know how to pronounce the letters of a word, it's relatively easy to sound out the word itself.

Besides having a very small number of vowel sounds and a high predictablity of exactly what sound is represented by each letter, Spanish has a very clear set of rules about where a stress normally falls, and exceptions are noted with an "acute accent mark" ("& acute; ") over the vowel of the stressed syllable. Normally, words that end in a vowel, or in n or s, have the stress on the next-to-last syllable (muchacho = "mu-CHA-cho"); all other words without an explicit accent mark are stressed on the final syllable (hospital = "os-pee-TAL"). There are no secondary stresses within words. We need to remember that English speaking people tend to drag out the letters especially the vowels. There are NO long vowels in Spanish, plus there is no 'ay' sound in the Spanish 'e' since its short like the 'e' in 'met.'


like 'a' in "father".
like 'e' in "met", although often taught as 'a' in "spain".
like 'ee' in "see".
like 'o' in "score", especially when stressed.
like 'oo' in "hoop".
like 'ee' in "see". Very rarely used at the middle or ending of words.


like 'b' in "bed" (but no aspiration) at the beginning of a word and after 'm': boca. A soft vibration sound almost like English 'v' elsewhere. See v below.
follows the same pronunciation pattern as in English. In most cases it is pronounced like 'k' in "kid": calle, doctor. When followed by 'e' or 'i', it is like 's' in "supper" (Latin America) or 'th' in "thin" (Spain): cine.
like 'ch' in "touch": muchacho
like 'd' in "dog" at the beginning of a word; like 'th' is "this" between vowels: dedo, pronounced "De-tho"
like 'f' in "fine": faro
when followed by 'e' or 'i', like a throaty 'h' (general = heh-neh-RAHL), otherwise like 'g' in "go" (gato). In the clusters "gue" and "gui", the 'u' serves only to change the sound of the consonant and is silent (guitarra), unless it bears a diaeresis, as in "güe" and "güi" (pedigüeño). In between vowels, it tends to be voiced and not guturral.
gu, gü 
like 'Gu' in McGuire or 'w' in "wire" (agua, agüita)
silent: hora= OR-ah. Pronounced like a softer 'j' only in foreign words.
like a throaty 'h' in "ha": jamón;
like 'k' in "kid": kilo The letter K is only used in foreign words (karate, kilo, Kiev, etc.).
like 'l' in "love": lápiz
like 'y' in "year"; pronounced like a Zh as in 'Zhivago' only in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay: llamar. In at least some parts of Costa Rica, pronounced as the English "j" or "g," as in the words "ginger" or "ninja." Also pronounced like 'ly' as in the English word "million" in some parts of Spain and in the Philippines.
like 'm' in "mother": mano
like 'n' in "nice", and like 'n' in "anchor": noche, ancla
like 'ny' in "canyon": cañón, piñata
like 'p' in "pig": perro
like 'q' in "quiche" (always with a silent "u"): queso, pronounced KEH-so
r, rr 
Spanish has two 'r' sounds both of which are different from their counterpart in English. Some effort should be made to approximate each of them, to help listeners distinguish between perro ("dog") and pero ("but")... or perhaps to understand you at all:
  • single r: This sound is created by putting the tip of the tongue up against where the front of the roof of the mouth meets the upper teeth, very similar to the action English speakers make to pronounce l or d. To an English-speaking ear, it may sound a bit like a combined "d-r". Take care to pronounce r separately when it follows a consonant; a blended English tr will not be recognized in the Spanish word otro ("other"), which should be pronouced more like "OHT-roh".
  • rolled r: Written "r" at the beginning of the word, or "rr" between vowels (cerro). It's a multiply vibrating sound. Whereas most English speakers can learn to tap out a single r, many adults learning Spanish find this sound impossible to produce; in this case, pronouncing it like a Spanish r or fumbling out a d-r will be better understood than pronouncing it like a long English r.
like 'ss' in "hiss": sopa; in Spain, it is often pronounced like a soft, palatised "sh" at the end of a word or syllable.
like 't' in "top": tapa
like 'b' in "bed" (but no aspiration) at the beginning of a word and after 'm': vaca, pronounced BAH-kah. A soft vibration sound almost like English 'v' elsewhere. To distinguish v from b when spelling, one says "vay chica" or "bay grande" to indicate which; native Spanish speakers may not hear the difference between "vee" and "bee".
like 'w' in "weight" in English words, whisky, pronounced "WEESS-kee"). Like 'b' in "bed" in Germanic words.
like 'x' in "flexible" (flexible). Like 'ss' in "hiss" at beginning of a word (xilófono). Like a throaty 'h' in the words México, mexicano, Oaxaca, and oaxaqueño.
like 'y' in "yes": payaso. Like 'y' in "boy": hoy. Pronounced like a Zh ONLY in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay as in 'Zhivago', : yo no se, pronounced "zhoh noh say".
like 's' in "supper" (Latin America), like 'th' in "thin" (Spain): zorro. See c above.


Most diphthongs can be approximated by blending the first vowel into the second in a single syllable.

ai, ay 
like 'eye': baile
like 'ow' in "cow": causa
ei, ey 
like 'ay' in "say": reina, rey.
pronounced 'eh-oo': euro = "eh-OO-roh"
like 'ya' in "Kenya": piano
like 'ye' in "yes": pie = "pyeh"
like 'yo': dio
like 'ew' in "few": ciudad = "see-you-THAHD"
oi, oy 
like 'oy' in "boy": soy
like 'wa' in "wallet": cuatro
like 'we' in "well": puedo
ui, uy 
like 'wee' in "ween": ruido
like 'ooy': cuido = "coo-wee-dough"
like "wa" in "water": averiguo

Accents and stress

Word stress can affect the meaning of the word and generally follows these rules:

  • If a word is marked with an accent, then that syllable receives the stress.
    • Additionally, if the accent marks a diphthong a syllable break occurs between the two vowels of the diphthong.
  • If a word is NOT marked with an accent, then
  1. if the word ends in a consonant other than N or S, the stress occurs on the last syllable.
  2. if the word ends in a vowel, N or S, the stress occurs on the next to last syllable.
  • In Spain, a English ci/ce or z sound makes a English "TH". In Latin America, it makes the same sound as English.

Examples: (1st pronunciation: Spanish; 2nd pronunciation: Latin America; when there is only one, it's common)

círculo (THEER-koo-loh/SEER-koo-loh) → circle
circulo (theer-KOO-loh/seer-KOO-loh) → I circulate
circuló (theer-koo-LOH/seer-koo-LOH) → he/she/it circulated
estás (ehss-TAHSS) → you are
estas (EHSS-tahss) → these
origen (oh-REE-hehn) → origin
orígenes (oh-REE-hehn-ehss) → origins
ciudad (the-ooh-DAHD/syew-DAHD) → city
ciudades (thyew-DAHD-dehss/syew-DAH-dehss) → cities

An accent can also be used to differentiate between words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings:

él (he) el (the)
(tea) te (you) (ex: I can't see you)
(you) (ex: you want to go there) tu (your)
(me) mi(my)
(I give or he/she/it give; but in present of subjunctive) de (of)
(yes) si (if)
se (a pronoun; difficult to explain here) (I know or be imperative of the verb "to be", spoken to the second person of singular)
más (more/plus) mas (but)

Phrase list

Note: For the most part, these examples give Latin American pronunciation, not Spanish.


Hello/Hi (informal)
Hola (OH-lah)
Have a good day 
Que pase un buen día (keh PAH-seh un BWEHN DEE-ah)
How are you? (informal)
¿Cómo estás? (KOH-moh ehss-TAHSS?)
How are you? (formal)
¿Cómo está? (KOH-mo ehss-TAH?)
Fine, thank you
Muy bien, gracias. (MOOEY BYEHN, GRAH-thyahss)
What is your name? (informal)
¿Cómo te llamas? (KOH-moh TEH YAH-mahss?)
What is your name? (formal)
¿Cómo se llama usted? (KOH-moh SEH YAH-mah ooss-TEHD?)
Who are you? (informal)
¿Quién eres? (KIEN EH-rehss?)
Who are you? (formal)
¿Quién es usted? (KIEN EHSS oos-TEHD?)
My name is ______
Me llamo ______ (MEH YAH-moh _____ )
I am ______
Yo soy ______ (YO SOY ______)
Nice to meet you
Encantado/a (ehn-kahn-TAH-doh/ehn-kahn-TAH-dah)
It's a pleasure to meet you
Mucho gusto. (MOO-choh GOOST-oh)
Por favor (POHR fah-BOHR)
Thank you
Gracias (GRAH-thyahss)
You're welcome
De nada (DEH NAH-dah)
Sí (SEE)
No (NOH)
Excuse me (getting attention)
Disculpe (dees-KOOL-peh)
Excuse me (begging pardon)
Perdone (pehr-DOHN-eh)
I'm sorry
Lo siento (LOH SYEHN-toh)
Adiós (ah-DYOHSS) / Hasta luego (AHS-tah LWEH-goh)
I can't speak Spanish (well)
No hablo (bien) español (NOH AH-bloh (BYEHN) ehs-pah-NYOL)
Do you speak English? (informal)
¿Hablas inglés? (AH-blahss een-GLEHSS?)
Do you speak English? (formal)
¿Habla usted inglés? (AH-blah oos-TEHD een-GLEHSS?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
¿Hay alguien que hable inglés? (HAHEE AHL-gyen KEH AH-bleh een-GLEHSS?)
¡Ayuda! (ah-YOO-dah!) / ¡Socorro! (soh-KOH-roh!)
Good morning
Buenos días (BWEH-nohss DEE-ahss)
Good afternoon / Good evening
Buenas tardes (BWEH-nahss TAR-dehss)
Good evening / Good night
Buenas noches (BWEH-nahss NOH-chehss)
I don't understand
No entiendo (NOH ehn-TYEHN-doh)
Where is the toilet?
¿Dónde está el baño? (DOHN-deh ehss-TAH EHL BAH-nyoh?)


Leave me alone. 
Déjame en paz. (DEH-hah-meh ehn PAHS)
Don't touch me! 
¡No me toques! (noh meh TOH-kehs!)
I'll call the police. 
Llamaré a la policía. (yah-mah-REH ah lah poh-lee-SEE_ah)
¡Policía! (poh-lee-SEE_ah!)
Stop! Thief! 
¡Alto, ladrón! (AHL-toh, lah-DROHN!)
I need help. 
Necesito ayuda. (neh-seh-SEE-toh ah-YOO-dah)
It's an emergency. 
Es una emergencia. (ehs oo-nah eh-mehr-HEHN-syah)
I'm lost. 
Estoy perdido/a (ehs-TOY pehr-DEE-doh/dah)
I lost my purse/handbag. 
Perdí mi bolsa/bolso/cartera. (pehr-DEE mee BOHL-sah / BOHL-soh / kahr-TEH-rah)
I lost my wallet. 
Perdí mi cartera/billetera. (pehr-DEE mee kahr-TEH-rah / bee-yeh-TEH-rah)
I'm sick. 
Estoy enfermo/a. (ehs-TOY ehn-FEHR-moh/mah)
I've been injured. 
Estoy herido/a. (ehs-TOY heh-REE-doh/dah)
I need a doctor. 
Necesito un médico. (neh-seh-SEE-toh OON MEH-thee-coh)
Can I use your phone? 
¿Puedo usar su teléfono? (PWEH-doh oo-SAHR soo teh-LEH-foh-noh?)
Can I borrow your cell phone? 
¿Me presta su celular? ((meh PREHS-tah soo seh-LOO-lahr?) (Latin America) ¿Me presta su móvil? ((meh PREHS-tah soo MOH-beel?) (Spain)


cero (SEH-roh)
uno (OO-noh)
dos (dohss)
tres (trehss)
cuatro (KWAH-troh)
cinco (SEEN-koh)
seis (SEH_ees)
siete (see_EH-teh)
ocho (OH-choh)
nueve (noo_EH-beh)
diez (dee_EHSS)
once (OHN-seh)
doce (DOH-seh)
trece (TREH-seh)
catorce (kah-TOHR-seh)
quince (KEEN-seh)
dieciséis (dee_EH-see-SEH_ees)
diecisiete (dee_EH-see-see_EH-teh)
dieciocho (dee_EH-see_OH-choh)
diecinueve (dee_EH-see-NOO_EH-beh)
veinte (VAIN-teh)
veintiuno (VAIN-tee-OO-noh)
veintidós (VAIN-tee-DOHSS)
veintitrés (VAIN-tee-TREHSS)
treinta (TRAIN-tah)
cuarenta (kwah-REHN-tah)
cincuenta (seen-KWEHN-tah)
sesenta (seh-SEHN-tah)
setenta (seh-TEHN-tah)
ochenta (oh-CHEHN-tah)
noventa (noh-BEHN-tah)
cien (see-EHN)
doscientos (dohs-see-EHN-tohss)
trescientos (trehs-see-EHN-tohss)
quinientos (kee-nee-EHN-tohss)
mil (MEEL)
dos mil (dohss MEEL)
un millón (oon mee-JOHN)
mil millones (Spain/Mexico); un billón (oon bee-JOHN, Latin America)
un billón (Spain/Mexico); un trillón (oon tree-JOHN, Latin America)
medio (MEH-dee-oh)
menos (MEH-nohss)
más (MAHSS)


ahora (ah-OH-rah)
después (dehs-PWEHS)
antes (ahn-TEHS)
mañana (mah-NYAH-nah)
tarde (TAHR-deh)
noche (NOH-cheh)

Clock time

one o'clock AM 
la una de la madrugada; la una de la mañana (lah OOH-nah deh lah mah-droo-GAH dah; lah OOH-nah deh lah mah-NYAH-nah)
two o'clock AM 
las dos de la madrugada; las dos de la mañana (lahs DOHS deh lah mah-droo-GAH dah; lahss DOHS deh lah mah-NYAH-nah)
ten o'clock AM 
las diez de la mañana (lahs dee-EHS deh lah mah-NYAH-nah)
mediodía; las doce de la mañana (lahs DOH-seh deh lah mah-NYAH-nah)
one o'clock PM 
la una de la tarde (lah OOH-nah deh lah TAHR-deh)
two o'clock PM 
las dos de la tarde (lahs DOHS deh lah TAHR-deh)
ten o'clock PM 
las diez de la noche (lahs dee-EHS deh lah NOH-cheh)
medianoche; las doce de la noche (meh-dee-yah-NOH-cheh ; lahs DOH-seh deh lah NOH-cheh)

Writing Time

When speaking, times are given in AM/PM form (but saying de la mañana (morning), de la tarde (afternoon), de la noche (evening/night) or de la madrugada (late night) to distinguish between AM and PM. On the other hand, in most countries times are rendered in 24-hour format, with a colon separating hours and minutes:

9 o'clock AM 
nueve de la mañana (spoken: NWEH-beh deh la mah-NYAH-nah), 9:00 (written)
12:30 PM 
doce y media de la mañana (spoken: DOH-seh ee MEH-dee-ah deh la mah-NYAH-nah), 12:30 (written)
1 o'clock PM 
una de la tarde (spoken: OOH-nah deh lah TAHR-deh), 13:00 (written)
10 o'clock PM 
diez de la noche (spoken: dee-EHS deh la NOH-cheh), 22:00 (written)
2 o'clock AM 
dos de la madrugada or dos de la mañana (spoken: DOHS deh la mah-droo-GAH-dah or DOHS deh la mah-NYAH-nah), 2:00 (written)


_____ minute(s) 
_____ minuto(s) (mee-NOO-toh(s))
_____ hour(s) 
_____ hora(s) (OH-rah(s))
_____ day(s) 
_____ día(s) (DEE-ah(s))
_____ week(s) 
_____ semana(s) (seh-MAH-nah(s))
_____ month(s) 
_____ mes(es) (MEHS-(ehs))
_____ year(s) 
_____ año(s) (AH-nyoh(s))


hoy (OH-ee)
ayer (aah-JEHR)
mañana (surely you know how to pronounce this word: mah-NYAH-nah)
this week 
esta semana (EHS-tah seh-MAH-nah)
last week 
la semana pasada (lah seh-MAH-nah pah-SAH-dah)
next week 
la semana que viene (lah seh-MAH-nah keh vee-EH-neh)
lunes (LOOH-nehss)
martes (MAHR-tehss)
miércoles (mee-EHR-coh-lehss)
jueves (WEY-vess)
viernes (vee-EHR-nehss)
sábado (SAH-bah-doh)
domingo (doh-MEEN-goh)

The week begins on Mondays.


enero (eh-NEH-roh)
febrero (feh-BREH-roh)
marzo (MAR-thoh)
abril (ah-BREEL)
mayo (MAH-joh)
junio (HOO-nee-oh)
julio (HOO-lee-oh)
agosto (aah-GUS-toh)
septiembre (sep-TEE-EHM-breh)
octubre (ok-TOO-breh)
noviembre (no-VEE-EHM-breh)
diciembre (dee-CEE-EHM-breh)

Writing Dates

Dates are given in day-month-year form. All spoken and written, long and short forms follow this pattern:

May 7th, 2003 
7 de mayo del 2003
October 23rd, 1997 
23 de octubre del 1997

Day-month constructions (4 de julio, for example) are not usually abbreviated. In the rare cases that an abbreviation is used, the number of the month is not used, but its initial letter is. Usual examples are:

23 de febrero, date of a failed coup d'état in Spain (1981)
11 de septiembre, date of the attack to the Twin Towers (2001) (and of the Chilean coup in 1973).


negro (NEH-groh)
blanco (BLAHN-koh)
gris (GREESS)
rojo (ROH-hoh)
azul (ah-SOOL)
amarillo (ah-mah-REE-yoh)
verde (BEHR-deh)
naranja (nah-RAHN-hah), anaranjado (ah-nah-rahn-HA-doh)
púrpura (POOR-poo-rah) , morado (moh-RAH-doh), violeta (vee-oh-LEH-tah)
marrón (mah-RROHN) (it should be noted "marrón" is used to describe color of objects) , café (kah-FEH) (used mostly for skin color, clothing and fabric), castaño (kahss-TAH-nyo) (is used primarily for skin color, eye color and hair color).


Bus and Train

How much is a ticket to _____? 
¿Cuánto cuesta un billete/pasaje a _____? (KwAHntoh kwEHSta oon bohLEHtoh ah ___)
One ticket to _____, please. 
Un billete/pasaje a _____, por favor. (Oon bohLEHtoh ah _______, pour FAHvor.)
Where does this train/bus go? 
¿A donde va este tren/autobús?
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
¿Donde está el tren/autobús hacia _____?
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
¿Para este tren/autobús en _____?
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
¿Cuando marcha/parte/sale el tren/autobús hacia _____ ?
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
¿Cuando llegará este tren/autobús a _____?
How do I get to _____ ? 
¿Cómo puedo llegar a _____ ?
...the train station? 
...la estación de tren?
...the bus station? 
...la estación de autobuses?
...the airport? 
...al aeropuerto?
...al centro?
...the youth hostel? 
...al hostal?
...the _____ hotel? 
...el hotel _____ ?
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate? 
...el consulado de Estados Unidos/ Canadiense/Australiano/Británico/?
Where are there a lot of... 
¿Dónde hay muchos...
...sites to see? 
...sitios para visitar?
Can you show me on the map? 
¿Puede enseñarme/mostrarme en el plano?
calle (CAH Yeh)
Turn left. 
Gire/doble/da vuelta a la izquierda.
Turn right. 
Gire/doble/da vuelta a la derecha.
straight ahead 
recto adelante , sigue derecho
towards the _____ 
hacia el/la_____
past the _____ 
pasado el/la _____
before the _____ 
antes de _____
Watch for the _____. 
busque el/la _____.
intersección , cruce
hacia arriba
hacia abajo


Take me to _____, please. 
Lléveme a _____, por favor.
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
¿Cuanto cuesta ir hasta/a _____?
Leave me there, please. 
Déjeme ahí, por favor.


Do you have any rooms available? 
¿Hay habitaciones libres?
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
¿Cuanto cuesta una habitación para una persona/para dos personas?
Does the room come with... 
¿Tiene la habitación...
...a bathroom? 
...a telephone? 
...a TV? 
May I see the room first? 
¿Puedo ver la habitación primero?
Do you have anything quieter? 
¿Tiene algo un poco más tranquilo?
...más grande?
...más limpio?
...más barato?
OK, I'll take it. 
Muy bien, la tomaré.
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
Me quedaré ______ noches(s).
Can you suggest other hotels? 
¿Puede recomendarme otros hoteles?
Do you have a safe? 
¿Hay caja fuerte?
...taquillas? ; casilleros
Is breakfast/supper included? 
¿El desayuno/la cena va incluido/a?
What time is breakfast/supper? 
¿A qué hora es el desayuno/la cena?
Please clean my room. 
Por favor, limpie mi habitación.
Can you wake me at _____? 
¿Puede despertarme a las _____?
I want to check out. 
Quiero dejar el hotel.


Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
¿Aceptan dólares estadounidenses/australianos/candienses?
Do you accept British pounds? 
¿Aceptan libras esterlinas? (same)
Do you accept euros? 
¿Aceptan euros?
Do you accept credit cards? 
¿Aceptan tarjeta de crédito?
Can you change money for me? 
¿Me puede cambiar dinero?
Where can I get money changed? 
¿Dónde puedo cambiar dinero?
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
¿Me puede cambiar cheques de viajero?
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
¿Dónde me pueden cambiar cheques de viajero?
What is the exchange rate? 
¿A cuánto está el cambio?
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
¿Dónde hay un cajero automático?


A table for one person/two people, please. 
Una mesa para una persona/dos personas, por favor. (OO-nah MAY-sah pah-rah OO-nah pehr-SOH-nah / dohss pehr-SOH-nahs pohr fah- BOHR)
Can I look at the menu, please? 
¿Puedo ver el menú, por favor? (PWAY-doh behr ehl meh-NOO pohr fah-BOHR?)
Can I look in the kitchen? 
¿Puedo entrar a la cocina?
Is there a house specialty? 
¿Hay alguna especialidad de la casa?
Is there a local specialty? 
¿Hay alguna especialidad regional/de la zona?
I'm a vegetarian. 
Soy vegetariano/a.
I don't eat pork. 
No como cerdo.
I only eat kosher food. 
Sólo como comida kosher. (In a restaurant they will stare at you, since "kosher" is as Spanish as "empanada" is English.)
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard) 
¿Puede poner poco aceite/poca mantequilla/poca grasa?
fixed-price meal 
menú del día
à la carte 
a la carta
comida (Spain, Mexico), almuerzo (South America)
cena (everywhere)
I want _____. 
Quiero _____.
I want a dish containing _____. 
Quisiera un plato que lleve _____.
pollo. (POH-yoh)
ternera (tehr-NEH-rah), vacuno (bah-KOO-noh), res (rehss)
pescado (pehs-KAH-doh)
jamón (hah-MOHN)
salchicha (sahl-CHEE-chah), vienesa (byeh-NAY-sah)
(fresh) vegetables 
verdura (fresca)
(fresh) fruit 
fruta (fresca)
alubias , porotos, frijoles, judías, habichuelas
May I have a glass of _____? 
¿Me puede poner/traer un vaso de _____?
May I have a cup of _____? 
¿Me puede poner/traer una taza de _____?
May I have a bottle of _____? 
¿Me puede poner/traer una botella de _____?
tea (drink
zumo , jugo
(bubbly) water 
agua con gas (if you say agua, if you ask at the bar, it will be tap water (for free), at the table it is normally bottled); Agua mineral is bottled water
red/white wine 
vino tinto/blanco
May I have some _____? 
¿Me puede dar un poco de _____?
black pepper 
mantequilla , manteca (in Argentina)
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server')
¡camarero! (Spain), ¡mesero! (Latin America), ¡mozo! (Argentina)
I'm finished. 
He acabado, terminé (The first phrase can refer to the finishing of a completely unrelated physiological activity)
It was delicious. 
Estaba delicioso/muy bueno/muy rico (Arg.).
Please clear the plates. 
Puede llevarse los platos.
The check, please. 
La cuenta, por favor.

Note that you must ask for the bill. A gringo was known to have waited until 2 in the morning because he was too shy to ask :).


Do you serve alcohol? 
¿Hay alcohol?
Is there table service? 
¿Hay servicio a la mesa?
A beer/two beers, please. 
Una cerveza/dos cervezas, por favor.
A glass of red/white wine. 
Un vaso de vino tinto/blanco.
A pint (of beer) 
Una jarra de cerveza (normally it will be half a liter, not really a pint, but the size is similar); In Chile or Argentina un schop might be anywhere from 300cc to one liter, in Spain the common is a caña which is 20 cl in a tube glass, also you can ask for un quinto (20 cl bottle) or un tercio (33 cl bottle)
A glass of draft beer 
Un schop (oon SHOHP) (Only in Chile and Argentina), in Spain you can ask for Cerveza negra, not very common in spanish Bares, but easy to find in Pubs (Pub=small club where just drinks are served).
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer). 
_____ con _____. In Spain, Cubata is Coke with whiskey
A bottle. 
Una botella.
whisky (WEESS-key)
tonic water 
agua tónica
orange juice 
zumo/jugo de naranja
Coke (soda
Do you have any bar snacks? 
¿Tiene algo para picar? (In Spain they will give you tapas, depends a lot on the bar.)
One more, please. 
Otro/a ______, por favor.
Another round, please. 
Otra ronda, por favor.
When is closing time? 
¿Cuándo cierran?


Do you have this in my size? 
¿Tiene esto de mi talla?
How much is this? 
¿Cuánto cuesta?
That's too expensive. 
Es demasiado caro.
Would you take Visa/American dollars? 
¿Aceptan Visa/dólares?
I can't afford it. 
Es muy caro para mí.
I don't want it. 
No lo quiero.
You're cheating me. 
Me está engañando.
I'm not interested. 
No me interesa.
OK, I'll take it. 
De acuerdo, me lo llevaré.
Can I have a bag? 
¿Tiene una bolsa?
Can you ship it to my country? 
¿Puede enviarlo a mi país?
I need... 
...cold medicine. 
...medicamento para el resfriado.
...English-language books. 
...libros en inglés.
...English-language magazines. 
...revistas en inglés.
...an English-language newspaper. 
...un periódico/diario en inglés.
...an English-Spanish dictionary. 
...un diccionario inglés-español.
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
...analgésico (Aspirina, Ibuprofeno).
...a pen. 
...una pluma/ un bolígrafo.
...postage stamps. 
...sellos(Spain)/estampillas(Latin América).
...a postcard. 
...una postal.
...a razor. 
...una hoja de afeitar/rasuradora (machine)
...stomach medicine. 
.... medicamento para el dolor de estómago
...sunblock lotion. 
...crema solar.
...a toothbrush. 
... un cepillo de dientes.
...pasta de dientes.
...an umbrella. 
...un paraguas.
...writing paper. 
...papel para escribir.


I want to rent a car. 
Quiero alquilar un coche.
Can I get insurance? 
¿Puedo contratar un seguro?
STOP (on a street sign
STOP (Spain), ALTO (México), PARE (Chile, Argentina, Perú, Colombia)
one way 
dirección única
no parking 
no aparcar , no estacionar
speed limit 
límite de velocidad , velocidad máxima
gas/petrol station 
gasolinera , estación de bencina (Chile), estación de servicio (Argentina)
gasolina , bencina (Chile), nafta (Argentina)
gasóleo , diesel DEE-sel (Latin America), gasóil/diésel (DYEH-sel) (Spain)


I haven't done anything wrong. 
No he hecho nada malo. (NOH eh eh-choh NAH-dah MAH-loh)
Please, there has been a mistake. 
Por favor, hubo un malentendido. (pohr-fah-VOHR oo-boh oon mahl-ehn-tehn-DEE-doh)
It was a misunderstanding. 
Fue un malentendido. (FOO-EH oon mahl-ahn-tehn-DEE-doh)
Where are you taking me? 
¿Adónde me lleva? (AHDOHN-deh meh JEH-vah?)
Am I under arrest? 
¿Estoy arrestado/a? (ehss-TOY ah-rrehs-TAH-doh/dah?)
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. 
Soy ciudadano estadounidense/australiano/inglés/canadiense.
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate. 
Quiero hablar con la embajada/el consulado estadounidense/australiano/inglés/canadiense.
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
Quiero hablar con un abogado. (KeeYEH-roh ah-BLAHR cohn oon ah-boh-GAH-doh)
Can I just pay a fine now? 
¿Puedo pagar la multa ahora? (PWEH-doh pah-GAR lah MOOL-tah ah-OH-rah?)
I confess. 
Yo confieso (yoh con-FI-EH-so)