¿Cómo se dice? (how do you say...?)

July 01, 2019

¿Cómo se dice? (how do you say...?)

Yes! Summer is finally here and you most likely already have your vacation planned. Are you, by chance, going to a Mexican beach to enjoy the beautiful weather, the sun, the sand, the food, and the friendly people? If that's the case, I have prepared this guide to help you get around to make your stay even more pleasant.

By living in different countries, I learned that you are more welcomed if you make the effort to communicate in the language of the country you are visiting. My experience of living in South Korea makes a good example of this, since I didn't know much but at least I could say "hello", "thank you", "good bye", "delicious" and some other words in Korean that made the people interacting with me feel appreciated and grateful for the effort I was making.

I also learned that you shouldn't ask for directions or elaborated questions because although the locals will definitely understand you… will you understand their answer? For example: Where is the bathroom? (¿Dónde está el baño?). You’ll feel very proud of yourself because you were practicing that phrase for weeks and you finally had your opportunity to ask, right? Have confidence that whoever you’re talking to will understand you perfectly because he/she will answer: "se va derechito y pasando aquellos sillones da la vuelta a la izquierda, ahí lo encontrará al fondo" ....WHAAAATTTT???!!!!

To help you avoid making a "whaaat face,” I have prepared this guide that will make you get the sympathy and big smiles of the Spanish speaking people in whichever beautiful vacation spot you’ll be visiting.

First of all, the three magic words:

Hola: hello

Por favor: please

Gracias: thank you

If you want to emphasize:

Muchas gracias: thank you very much

The obvious ones, but still:

: yes

No: no

Next, the ones that you shouldn't miss:

Amigo: friend (if it is a male)

Amiga: friend (if it is a female)

So now you can say "hello friend": hola amigo/a

If you really want to impress the person in front of you, then you can greet him/her by saying:

Buenos días: good morning (until noon)

Buenas tardes: good afternoon (until 6 pm)

Buenas noches: good evening (from 7 pm onwards)

If you want to ask for some drinks, the easiest way will be:

Agua por favor: water please

Una cerveza por favor: a beer please

Un tequila por favor: a tequila please

Una margarita por favor: a margarita please

If somebody asks for your name in English, you can surprise him/her by saying:

Me llamo... : my name is...

And if they want to know where are you from, then you have to say:

Soy de Canadá: I am from Canada

You can also say:

Soy canadiense: I am Canadian

If you would like to know how much something costs, then you have to say:

¿Cuánto cuesta?: how much does it cost? but then, you will get the answer in Spanish and surprise! Your "whaaat face"will be your next gesture, so maybe hold off on asking for the price in Spanish unless you are fairly comfortable with your numbers being said in very rapid procession. 

If you go to a restaurant and you like the food, you can make the waiter/waitress feel appreciated by saying:

Todo estuvo delicioso: everything was delicious

Muy buen servicio: very good service

The most common ways to say goodbye are:

Adiós: goodbye

Hasta luego: see you later

Or as Terminator would say "hasta la vista": see you

So, by saying some of the words and phrases that I included in this guide, you can be sure that your stay will be complemented by the big smiles of gratitude from the people you will be talking to. I bet you will feel awesome!

And to make things even easier for you, I prepared the following video with the pronunciation of all the words and sentences included in this guide.


Felices vacaciones (happy holidays)      :) 


I would love to hear any of your experiences interacting in Spanish while you were on holidays. Please feel free to share them through this same channel.

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