25 Useful Stuff You Can Say in Spanish

Ever found yourself in the company of someone who speaks a language you don’t? Chances are they’re speaking to you in their own language. And while it may be difficult to glean much from a stranger’s speech, think about how much more engaging and welcoming it would be if for once they were able to speak your native tongue! Sounds pretty awesome, right?

Well, we’re going to cover 25 phrases you can say in Spanish that will help break the ice with that ever-elusive Spanish-speaking person. You’ll find phrases for every occasion, from general greetings and expressions of thanks through to counting and asking directions. We’ll also take a look at some expressions used in the Spanish-speaking world (hasta la vista, anyone?) and give you an idea of common sayings.

Having said that, don’t go looking for these phrases just yet. It takes time to pick up a new language from scratch, so we suggest you commit them to memory first. Trust us; once you start thinking in Spanish instead of English, it will be amazing how much easier it is to communicate with people from the safety of your own language!

So here are 25 useful phrases in Spanish that you can use around the world:

Déjalo estar

Receiving type: Passive Voice. A phrase used to refuse the request or a comment of someone. To translate it, you can use the verb “to leave”. This is not just a trick word, as it is used to show that someone wants to do something and someone else doesn’t want him to do it. It is often used when you are talking about a person going somewhere or doing something but someone else doesn’t want them to go or do anything, so they would say this. Examples Deja el libro ahí (Leave the book there).

Deja el cuchillo en la mesa (Leave the knife on the table). What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

Cuando quiera que sea

Receiving type: Passive Voice. A phrase used to express that you want something to happen right now. It means “as soon as”, and is often used in jocular sentences and phrases. Examples ¿Cuando quieres que vaya? (As soon as do you want me to go?) – This is used when someone wants something to happen sooner rather than later. ¿Cuanto quieres que vaya? (How much sooner do you want me to go?) – This expresses how much earlier (or quicker) you want something to happen. ¿Cuanto antes me vayas?: This is a very formal question used only in legal texts, which is asking for an answer as to when the parties will come to an agreement or trial. It means “how soon do you want me/me to go”. ¿Cuanto antes, me vaya?: This is a very formal question used only in legal texts, which is asking for an answer as to when the parties will come to an agreement or trial. It means “how soon do you want me to come”. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

Ya te dije que no

Receiving type: Passive Voice. This is a phrase used to try and explain why you don’t want to do something, but the other person doesn’t believe you. It is often used when the speaker thinks that he or she has already told somebody something, and they don’t believe them. Examples Ya te dije que no lo voy a hacer (I told you I wasn’t going to do it. I told you I wasn’t going to do it). – This is a Dominican slang expression which means “I’ve already told you I’m not going to do it”. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

Cómo está la ciudad?

Receiving type: Indefinite Sentence. This is used to ask someone about something they may have ignored so far. It is used when you want to know the opinion of other people. It can even be used to ask a person how he or she would like something: “cómo estás la gente?” – How do you think people are? Cómo será que…In English, it will be said as How is it that… Examples Quiero saber cómo será que estás enseñando español en Madrid. (I’d like to find out how it is that you’re teaching Spanish in Madrid). – This statement expresses surprise and shows that you were not aware of something before. Cómo decías que se llamaba…? (What was it that you said his name was?). – This is the most common use of the “cómo está”. It gives you a chance to comment on something and find out about it. Cómo está el bebé? – How is the baby? (How is the baby doing?) What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

Es un placer conocerte.

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence/passive voice. This is used to express formal gratitude or politeness. Depending upon the context, it can be translated as “It’s a pleasure to meet you” or “I’m delighted to make your acquaintance”. It can be used to show you being surprised or flattered, but also to say thank you and show politeness. Examples Me alegra conocerte. (It’s a pleasure meeting you.) – This expression is used when you are surprised by seeing someone and use it to express this surprise and say thank you to them. Es un placer conocerte (I’m delighted to make your acquaintance) – This expression is used when you are flattered by someone and use it to say thank you and show politeness. Es un placer hablar con usted (It’s a pleasure talking with you). – This expression is used when someone uses it in the same way as above. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

Eso es lo que pienso.

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence/passive voice. This is used to express agreement with somebody else’s opinion, or to simply say that’s it exactly what you think too. It means “that’s what I think”, and even “that’s right”. Examples Él dice que eso es lo que piensa (He says that’s what he thinks). – This expression is used when you agree with someone or think the same. It shows that you share the same opinion or belief as somebody else. Eso lo creo (That’s right). – This is a very common expression used to express agreement with something that has just been said. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿Qué piensas de esto?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask what someone thinks about something, especially if the person hasn’t expressed an opinion yet. It means “what do you think about this?”, “what is your opinion on this?”, or “what do you think of this?” Examples ¿Qué piensas de la gente que venían aquí ayer? (What do you think about people who came here yesterday?) – This expression is used when someone said something and asks what your opinion is. You might want to respond with something like “se piensa que no le hacen daño a nadie” (se sería capaz de matar), which can be translated as “people think he doesn’t make anybody hurt”. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿Qué tal?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask how you are doing, as in the English phrase “How are you?”, or “What’s happening?” In some cases it can be used to ask who the person is, as in the English phrase “Who’s this?” It means “how are things going?” or “what’s up?”. Examples ¿Qué tal estás? (How are you?) – This is an informal greeting used to ask how you are doing. ¿Qué tal te va? (How are things going?) – This is another way of asking the same thing, but it’s more polite than the first one. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

Replícame.

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used in the same way as the English expression “Repeat that back to me”. It means “Repeat that back to me”, and is used when you want to be sure of what you have just heard. You can say it in different ways: Replícame las palabras que digo después (repeat-me the words I say after this), Replícame la frase que has oído (re-me the phrase you heard), or Replícame la cosa que te has dicho (re-me the thing that you have said). The first two expressions are more formal and polite, while the third one is more colloquial. Examples ¿Me has oído? (Have you heard me?) – This is a common question used when someone says something and you want to be sure that you have heard it. ¿Qué me dices? (What do you say?) – This is the Spanish version of the English phrase “What did you say?”, which is used in the same way, or maybe even more often, as in English. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

Estoy dispuesto a recibirte.

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to say that you are ready to receive something. It means “I’m ready to receive you”. You can use it either as a request, or when you want to express your readiness to accept something. Examples Estoy dispuesto a recibirte en casa o en el trabajo (I’m ready to receive you at home or at work) – This is used when somebody wants to have somebody visit him or her, or when they ask somebody in an effort to be polite and polite. ¿Estás dispuesta a recibirnos? (Are you ready to receive us?) – This is used when inviting someone. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿Cuánto mide?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask how tall someone is or how big something is. It means “How tall are you?” or “How big is it?”. It comes from the English phrase “How tall is he?” or “How big is it?”. Examples ¿Cuánto mide tu oso? (How tall is your bear?) – This is used when somebody asks how tall somebody else is, or when you want to express your surprised about something. ¿Cuánto centímetro mides? (How much centimeter do you measure?) – This is used when you want to ask someone how big a certain object is, like a sheet of paper or something else that can be measured. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿Cómo suena?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask what sound somebody or something makes. It means “What sound does it make?” or “What sound does that make?” Examples ¿Cómo suena eso? (How does it sound?) – When listening to something, you might want to find out how it sounds like. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿Es ese el teléfono?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask if somebody or something is the phone that you want to use. It means “Is that the telephone you want to use?”. Examples ¿Es ese el teléfono? (Is this that telephone?) – This is used when somebody wants to use a telephone or when they ask for help. You can say it more colloquially: ¿Es el teléfono de mamá? (is this the phone of mommy?), which would mean ‘is it the phone of mommy?’ What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿De dónde lo has sacado?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask where someone got an object or a piece of information. What it means is “from where did you get that?” Examples ¿De dónde lo has sacado? (From where have you got that?) – This is used when asking for the source of something, like information, ideas, or things. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿Qué significa?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask what meaning something has, or rather, what it’s supposed to do. It means “what does that mean?” or “what’s it for?” What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿Por qué no dices nada?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask why someone isn’t saying anything, or when you are surprised that they aren’t saying anything. It means “why don’t you say anything?” or “why are you not saying anything?” Examples ¿Por qué no dices nada? (Why aren’t you saying something?) – When talking with someone who seems to be quite shy. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿Por qué no haces eso?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask why you can’t do something, or why you aren’t doing something. It means “why don’t you do that?” or “why aren’t you doing that?” Examples ¿Por qué no haces eso? (Why don’t you do that?) – This is used when talking about being able to do something but not doing it. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿Para qué sirve?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask what purpose something serves, or rather, why it is used. It means “for what purpose does that serve?” Examples ¿Para qué sirve este libro? (What good is this book for?) – When asking for an explanation or an argument, this expression might come in handy. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿Por qué?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask why you would do something, or why something happens. It means “why would you want to do that?”, or “why would that happen?” Examples ¿Por qué tienes que hacer eso? (Why do you have to do that?) – This is used when asking why somebody is doing something. You can also use it when saying something about something happening: ¿Por qué tengo que comer limón?, which means: Why does it have to be limón? What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿Qué es lo de?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask what is happening, what’s going on, or what has happened. It means “what’s going on?” Examples ¿Qué es lo de? (What’s happening?) – This is used when you want to ask somebody explanations, or if you want to know something about something that has happened. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿Qué es lo último que has visto?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask what you have just seen. It means “what have you just seen?” or “what’s the latest that you have seen?” Examples ¿Qué es lo último que has visto en la tele? (What’s the latest that you’ve seen on the tv?) – If someone wants to know about something that was on TV, then this question might come in handy. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿Qué es lo que has visto?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask what it is that you have just seen. It means “what have you just seen?”. It’s a question that is often used in informal situations, so you’ll probably not hear it much in formal situations. Examples ¿Qué es lo que has visto? (What have you just seen?) – This is used as a polite form to ask for an explanation or to ask what it was that someone has just seen on the television, like when there is a commercial on TV and they are watching something and someone asks: ¿Qué es lo que habéis visto? (What did you see on the tv?) What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿Para qué sirve?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask what purpose something serves, or rather, why it is used. It means “for what purpose does that serve?” Examples ¿Para qué sirve este libro? (What good is this book for?) – When asking for an explanation or an argument, this expression might come in handy. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there!

¿QUÉ ESTÁS HACIENDO?

Receiving type: prepositional phrase/ infinitive + subject pronouns + present indicative. This is used to ask what someone is doing at the moment or to find out what they are up to. It means “what are you doing ?”. Examples ¿Qué estás haciendo? (What are you doing?) – This is used to ask someone what they are doing at that moment, or to find out about their plans for later. What next…If you liked these expressions, have a look at our Spanish lessons in general. There are a lot of phrases you can learn from there

¿DE QUÉ TE RÍES?

Receiving type: Indefinite sentence / passive voice. This is used to ask someone what they are laughing at. It means “what are you laughing at?” Examples ¿De qué te ríes? (What are you laughing at?) – This is used when a group of people is laughing because of something one of them has done or said.

Conclusion

There you have it. That’s all of our Spanish expressions that translate to “what does it mean?” Hope you enjoyed the list!

What do you think of our list of Spanish expressions that mean “what does it mean”?

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