Greetings in Spanish and Other Common Phrases for Daily Life
10 Greetings in Spanish and other Common Phrases for Daily Life
Are you currently learning Spanish or are you planning a trip to Spain?
Meeting someone new in a foreign country can be stressful. Especially if you don’t speak the language very well. That’s why it is always a good idea to know some basic phrases in the local language.
This article provides you with some useful and common Spanish expressions for daily life. You will learn how to greet someone, say goodbye, introduce yourself and ask for directions, among other things.
Take a look at the 10 most common greetings in Spanish and other useful phrases you can use when meeting someone new.
Table of Contents
1. Meeting Someone New
Level 1 (A1.1 / Novice Low)
Greeting someone, introducing yourself and saying goodbye in Spanish will be a piece of cake with the following expressions.
1.1 Greetings in Spanish
Greetings exist in all cultures and are not quite different from one language to another. When you are greeting someone in Spanish you just have to pay attention to forms (formal or informal) and gender in some expressions.
You want to greet someone when entering a shop, restaurant or building, but don’t know how? Use the following phrases to say hello to someone in Spanish.
In Spanish, we say Buenos días from 6 am to 12 pm (before lunch).
People say Buenas tardes after having lunch until 8 pm (approximately).
Finally, we say Buenas noches from 9 pm on.
Also take a look at the following options:
Want more practice? Listen to our podcast about formal and informal greetings in Spanish ⬇️:
1.2 How Are You in Spanish
After greeting someone, the following step is to ask how they are. This is almost a cliché to start a conversation in any language. The most common answer is to say you are fine, even if you are not, unless you are greeting someone close to you.
Cómo estás/Cómo está/Qué tal/Qué tal está
are two versions of the same question.
We use the informal one when talking to people we already know, such as friends, family,…
We use the formal form when talking to someone we don’t know, who is older than us or just to show respect and formality (maybe to your boss or doctor, for example).
What could you say if someone asks you one of the questions above?
1.3 Introductions in Spanish
In some situations, for example when meeting the host of your residence, you will have to introduce yourself. Learn the next four sentences by heart to tell someone your name and to ask for someone’s name in Spanish.
The verb we use to say our name or to ask someone’s name in Spanish is LLAMARSE.
This is a regular reflexive verb whose meaning is “to be called/named”.
The verb llamarse needs to be preceded by a reflexive pronoun, this is extremely important, otherwise, the verb will mean something else. Once you have the reflexive pronoun ready, you will need to add the correct ending to the verb, remember that verbs in Spanish take on different endings based on the subject.
Finally, after adding the pronouns and the endings, the conjugated verb will be like this:
Yo me llamo
Tú te llamas
Él/Ella/Usted se llama
Nosotros/Nosotras nos llamamos
Vosotros/Vosotras os llamáis
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes se llaman
Do you want to learn more about introducing yourself or others in Spanish? Watch the following videos:
1.4 Goodbyes in Spanish
Are you leaving or do you simply want to end the conversation? Use these phrases to say goodbye to someone.
Adiós means literally goodbye. You can use it when you are not going to see the other person for a long time.
Hasta mañana (see you tomorrow), hasta luego (see you later), hasta pronto and nos vemos (see you soon) are used when you plan to see the person soon.
1.5 Asking For Clarification in Spanish
When you are learning a new language, it can be difficult to understand native speakers. They might talk too fast or use words you don’t know yet. You can use the following Spanish expressions to ask someone to repeat something or to talk more slowly:
✏️ Test Your Knowledge
2. Where Are You From?
Level 1 (A1.1 / Novice Low)
Local people are likely to ask you where you are from, once they hear that you are a foreigner. With the following Spanish expressions you won’t have any trouble answering that question.
To say where you are from, you need to know the conjugation of the Spanish verb SER.
SER is an irregular verb; it doesn’t follow most normal ending patterns, so your better course would be just to memorize it:
Watch the video below in which Carmen explains how to say where you’re from.
The names of different countries (países) are quite similar between English and Spanish. However, as usual, bear always in mind that there are some pronunciation and spelling variations. Here you have some countries, flags, and nationalities. If you’re interested to learn more about Nationalities, Countries and Languages in Spanish, visit our post!
✏️ Test Your Knowledge
3. Asking for Directions in Spanish
Level 3 (A1.3 / Novice-Mid)
When travelling to Spain, it can be handy to know a few sentences by heart when asking for directions. That way you won’t get lost!
3.1 Apologizing in Spanish
Do you want to get someone’s attention, or did you accidentally bump into someone? Use these Spanish sentences to apologize or start a conversation.
Excuse me can also be expressed in this way:
Con permiso – Excuse me, or If you’ll excuse me
You wouldn’t use it if you bumped into someone or wanted to know the time. It can be used when you need to pass someone and ask them to move slightly.
3.2 Asking For Help in Spanish
Are you lost? Or do you need information about something? In that case, it can be useful to learn how to ask for help in Spanish.
3.3 Asking For Directions in Spanish
Can’t find a supermarket or a pharmacy? Or did you forget where your hotel was? Simply ask a local for directions with the following Spanish phrases:
Want to learn more?
Check out our blogpost about Giving and Receiving Directions in Spanish and download our Cheat Sheet 😉
HAY & ESTAR
As you may have noticed in the sentences above, we can use HAY or ESTAR to give information about directions or locations. But, when do we use which one?
Let’s study it!
We use HAY (from the verb HABER) to talk about the fact that something exists.
HAY, only exists in the third person and it is used to refer to the present. Moreover, HAY refers to both singular and plural nouns. There is and there are, are equivalent forms in English.
When do we use HAY?
As you have seen in the examples before, ESTAR is used to express geographic or physical location and these can be real or imaginary, temporary, or permanent. To be is the equivalent verb in English.
We use ESTAR in the third person singular (está) when we have nouns in singular, and the third person plural (están) when we have nouns in the plural.
When do we use ESTÁ(N)?:
Many Spanish learners often confuse ESTAR with SER, two verbs that both mean “to be” in Spanish.
We at Let’s Speak Spanish came to the rescue and made an ultimate guide that explains the difference between the two verbs step by step:
SER VS ESTAR
The ultimate guide to Spanish’s toughest verbs – Ser and Estar. Explained by levels and made easy by our Spanish teachers.
❗️Before continuing, pay attention to these two questions:
- ¿Hay una farmacia por aquí cerca? – Sí, hay una farmacia muy cerca. Is there any pharmacy near here? – Yes, there is a pharmacy nearby.
- ¿Dónde está la farmacia? – La farmacia está a la izquierda. Where is the pharmacy? – The pharmacy is on the left.
In the first question, ¿Hay una farmacia por aquí cerca?, someone is asking about the existence of any pharmacy. Both at the question and with the answer, we use the indefinite article UNA, the same as in English ‘a’ is used in answers.
In the second question, ¿Dónde está la farmacia?, the person who asks knows that there is a pharmacy, and now we use ESTÁ to locate it. In this case, we use the definite article LA, which means in English ‘the’.
Do you want to learn more about the definite articles in Spanish? Watch this video where Carmen explains how to use it.
In Spanish, we sometimes use the structure DÓNDE + HAY.
In this case, we don’t know the location, but we assume the place we are asking for does exist somewhere.
For example: Perdone, ¿dónde hay una farmacia? – Excuse me, where is a pharmacy?
As you can see, the indefinite article UNA is used after HAY.
✏️ Test Your Knowledge
4. Special Occasions in Spanish
Level 3 (A1.3 / Novice-Mid)
Finally, the following expressions can also be useful in a conversation. For example, when you want to wish someone a good trip or congratulate them in Spanish.
With these sentences, you are on the right track to mastering the basics of the Spanish language. The best way to not lose your progress and increase your level of Spanish is to take an online Spanish course.
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