Basic Spanish Vocabulary (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

Lots of people will tell you that learning a new language is easy. And it can be . . . but it usually isn’t. The problem isn’t with the actual difficulty of the language, though. The problem is that we don’t practice.

Unless you live among native speakers, it’s a problem that’s not easily remedied. My suggestion: every few months (more if you’re in a hurry), play some audio recordings of words with translations or children’s music in the car on repeat. Language learning is not an all-at-once thing; you’ll need lots of time and repetition to let it sink in. If possible, be casual about it, but be consistent.

If you’re a person who enjoys reading and writing, copy your word lists onto flash cards or foldable lists. Personally, I spend countless hours writing and rewriting my lists when in full-on language learning mode.

You can also make games out of your vocabulary words–all kinds of fun games. At the end of this post I provide a story you can tell your kids that incorporates practice and repetition (theirs or yours).

Complete Beginners’ Spanish Word List

Greetings

Hello: Hola
Good morning: Buenas dias
Good afternoonL Buenas tardes
Good evening: Buenas noches
Goodbye: Adios; chau
What is your name?: Como se llama?
My name is …: Me llamo; mi nombre es …
Pleasure to meet you. Mucho gusto.
How are you: Como esta (for a less familiar person); Como estas (for a more familiar person); Como esta usted (for a formal situation or older person)
Where are you from: De donde viene
I’m from …: Soy de …
See you later: Hasta luego.
See you tomorrow: Hasta ma­nana

Almost-Free Words

Important: Importante
Interesting: Interesante
Perfect: Perfecto
Excellent: Excellente

Exclamations

Thank you very much: Muchas gracias
You’re welcome: De nada
Execuse Me: Disculpe; perdoname; con permiso
Goodness: Caramba
Please: Por favor
I’m sorry: Lo siento
Forgive me: Disculpe
Help me: Ayudame
Danger: Peligro
Forbidden: Prohibito
No smoking: No se fuma
Fire: Fuego; incendio
Emergency: Emergencia
Hurry up: Appurase; rapido
For sale: Se vende
For rent: Se alguila
Look: Mira
Stop: Pare
Watch out: Cuidado
That’s fine: Esta bien
Go away: Dejeme
Bienvenido: Welcome
Oops: Opa (an expression from Greek)
True: Verdad
Of course: Por supresto
It’s okay/don’t worry about it: Tranquila; no se preculpe
Are you sure: Seguro
What do you mean: Como
How do you say: Como se dice
At what time: A que hora
Qual es: Which is it

Small Words

Me, I—mi, yo
You—tu (familiar) usted
They, them; ellos o ellas
This—-esta
That—este
Now—ahora
Because—por que
But—pero
For—para
To—a
Actually—-En verdad
The—la, e, los, las (depending on gender)
In—por, en
We/us—nosotrous
a—un, una
never—nunca
only—solo
alone—solamente
maybe—quisas o tal vez
Equal—iqual
Without—sin
She-he—-ella, el
Their—su
Her’s/his.—la , le
Your—tu (familiar form)
Other—otra
Also—tambien
Yes/no —si y no (shaking one finger is the most common form of no in South America—the index finger)
Therefore—por lo tanto
Then—entonces
Of the —del
Per—por
Like/similar to—paracido
Here—(different words used depending on distance aqui, aji, alla)
Together —-conmigo, contigo (familiar)
Quite—bastante

Verbs

To be—Ser (permanent): soy, son, es; estar (less permanent): estoy, esta
To do—hacer…hago, hace
To feel—Sentir sineto , sienta
To be there—hay
To want—querer, quiero, quiere, quieres
To like—Gusta, me gusto, se gusta
To go (irregular verb) voy, vas, viene,
To live—vivir—vivo, vives, viva
To eat—comer como, comes, come
To drink—For non-alcoholic beverages: Tomar: tomo, tomes, tome; For alcohol: Beber …bebo, bebes, bebe
To cost—cuesta
To carry/transport—Llevar
To Exit—salida( noun)
To Arrive:—Llegar, llego, llegas, llega
To park: Estacionar
To Wait: Esperar, espero, espero, esperamos
To speak: Hablar, hablo, hables, habla
To say—digo, dices, dice
To stay put—quedar, quedense (command form)
To Help—ayudar, ayudo, ayudas, ayuda
To be able/capable—Puedar, puedo, puedes, puede
To understand—entender entiendo, entiendes, entiende
To comprehend—Comprender, comprendo, comprendes, comprende
To Hope—Esperar, espero, esperes, espere
To know/be acquainted with (person) Conocer, conozco, conoces, conoce
To know (facts) Saber, se, sabes, sabe
To charge/exchange—Cambiar, cambio,
To travel—viajer, viajo, viege
To close—Cierrar
to find—encountrar
to wash—lavar, lavo (clothes)
to clean—limpiar, limpio,
to buy—comprar, compro, ustead compra
to sit—sentar
to smoke—fumar
to take—tomer
to walk—cambiar-=–cambio, cambias, cambia
to search for—buscar, busco, buscas, busca
to see—ver veo, ve
To give—dar, doy, da
To pay—pagar, pago, paga
To sign—firmar, firmo, firme
To need—necesitar, necesito, necesita
To cook—cocinar cocino, cocina
To reserve—reservar,
To confirm—confirmar
Include—incluye
To take a photo—sacrar una foto
To Call—llamar, llamo
Prohibitied—prohibito
To accept—acceptar, acepto
To sleep—dormir,duermo,duerma
To work—trabajar, trabajo, trabaja
To think—pensar, penso
To believer—creer, creo, cree
To stop—parar
To return—volver
To sell—vender,vendo, vende
To exit—salir, salgo
To come—venior, vegno, viene
To lose—perder, pierdo, pierde
To win—ganar, gano, unstead gana
To study—estudiar, studio
To dance—baillar, bailo, bailas
To sing—cantar, canto, canta
To play—jugar..juego, juega
To hate—odiar
To love—-amar, encantar, encanto, encanta

Descriptions

Large—grande,
Small—pequeno
Afraid—austado
Fast—rapido
Slow—despacio o despacito
Good—bueno, bien
Bad—mal, malo
Pretty—bonita
Handsome—guapo (word also means hard working in some contexts)
Fat—gordo
Thin—flaco
Tall—alto
Short—corto
Open—abierto
Closed—cerrado
Personal—personal
Better—mejor
Best—primer
Hot—caliente (refers to heat, piquante refers to spicy)
Cold—frio
Exact—exacto
Special—especial
The same—mismo
Different—differente
Cheap—burato
Expensive—carro
Necessary—necesito (this is a verb, not an adjective) Necesito eso, or necesita eso (you need this)
Not necessary—no necesito
Joven—young
Difficult—dificil
Easy—facil
Modern—moderna
Old—viejo
Classic—classico
Weak—debil
Strong—fuerte
Oldest—mejor
Youngest—menor
Ready—listo
Light—ligero
Heavy—pesada
Perfect—perfecto
Excellent—excelente
Private—privado
Stupid—estupido
Smart—intelligente
Late—tarde
New—nuevo
Logical—logico
Strange/weird—extrano
Interesting—interesante
Wet—mojado
Dry—seca
Second hand—segundo
Busy—ocupado
Quiet—tranquilo
Dangerous—peligro
Safe—seguro
Available—disparsible
Tired—cansado
Broken—roto
Important—importante
Sure—seguro
Worried—preoccupado
Fun—divertito
Happy—felix
Sad—triste
Shy—-timido
Often—frequentamente

People and Animals

Grandfather—abuelo
Gandmogther—abuela
Father—padre
Mother—madre
Secretary—secretaria
Waiter—amarero
Miss—senorita
Mister—senior
Mrs—senora
Family—familia
Relative—familiares
Police—policia
Military—gendarmo
Everyone—todos las personas
No on—nadia
Person—persona
Boy—nino
Girl—nina
Children—ninas, ninos
Baby—bebe
Husband—espouso
Wife—espousa
Girlfriend—novia
Boyfriend—novio
Dog—perro
Cat—gato
Cousins—primos
Nieces/nephews—sobrainas,sobrinos
Uncle/aunt—tio, tia
Men/man– hombres, hombre
Women/woman—mujeres
Daughters—hijas

Things

TV—television
Photo—foto
Photographer—fotographia
Photocopy—fotocopia
Clothes—-ropa
Something—algo
Thing—cosa
Book—libro
Pair of glasses—lentes
Possession—posesion
Watch—reloj
Parts—partalores, partes
Computer—computadora
Shirts—camisas
Makeup—machichoa
Jeans—jeans
Purse—carteras
Key—llave
Toilets—servicios
Garbage cans—basero
Bag—bolsa
Light—luz
Powder—polvo
Gift—regalo
Repellant—repellente
Everything—qualquier cosa

Numbers

One—uno
Two—dos
Three—tres
Four—quatro
Five—cinco
Six—seis
Seven—siete
Eight—ocho
Nine—nueve
10—diaz
11—once
12—doce
13—trese
14—catorce
15—quince
16—dieceseis
17—diecesiete
18—dieceocho
19 —diecenueve
20 —viente
21…vienteuno
30—triente
31—trienteuno
40—quarenta
41—quarentauno
50—cincuenta
51—cicuentauno
60—sesenta
70—setebta
80 —ochenta
90—noventa
100—cien
1000—mil
1 million—un million
101—cineto uno
900—noveciento
1100—mil cien
1300 mil trecientos
200—doscientos
300—trescientos
400—cuatrocientos
500—quiencientos
600—seiscientos
700—setecientos
800—ochocientos

Days and Months

Sunday—domingo
Monday—lunes
Tuesday—martes
Wednesday—miercoles
Thursday—jueves
Friday—viernes
Saturday—sabad
January—Enero
February—Febuero
March—Marzo
April—Abril
May—Mayo
June—unio
July—Julio
August—Agosto
September—Septiembre
October—Octubre
November—Noviembre
December—Deciembre

Question Words

What—que
What is it—que es esto
Where —donde esta
How much—cuanto?
Who—quien
Who is it?—quien es
Which—cual
How—como
Why—por que
Why not—por que no
What time is it? Que hora es?

Colors

Black—negro
White—blanco
Blue—azul
Red—rojo
Yellow—amarillo
Green—verde (careful in using this description, though: some things that are green are considered dirty, i.e. pornography or a “green” magazine)
Pink—rosado
Purple—purpuereo
Orange—naranja

Places

Museum—museo
Bookstore—libroria
Bakery—panaderia
Department store—almacia
Country—campo (refers to terrain/geography)
City—ciudad
Home—casa
Exchange store—casa de cambio
Address—direction
Movies—cine
Restaurant—ristorante
Parking lot—estacionamonte
Café—cafeteria
Bar—taberna
Bank—banko
Hotel—hotel
Hostess—hostel
Room—cuarto
Bathroom—bano
Bus stop—parade de autobus
Entrance—entrada
Exit—salida
Supermarket—supermercados
Mall—cinto commercial
Shoe store—zapateria
Hospital—hospital
Police station—comisaria
Post office—el correo
Pharmacy—farmacia
Embassy—embajada
Place—lugar, parte, locale
School—escuela secendaria (secondary school); escuela escuela primaria (grade school)
Building—edificio

Body Parts

Body—cuerpo
Face—cara
Eyes—ojos
Nose—nariz
Mouth—boca
Hands—manos
Arms—armas
Legs—piernas
Feet—pies
Stomach—estomago
Hair—cabello
Skin—piel
Head—cabeza

Foods and Drinks

Hungry—hambre
Thirsty—sed
Food—comida
To eat—comer
Drink –beber o tomar
Coffee—café
Milk—leche
Cream—crema
Water—aqua
Ice—hielo
Miner water—aqua mineral
Sugar—azucar
Tea—te
Soft drink—gaseosa
Bottle of wine—una botella de vino
Red/white wine—tino /blanco vino
Salt—sal
Pepper—pimiento
Mustard—mostaza
Oil—accete
Vinegar—vinagre
Garlic—ajo
Soup—sopa
Noodles—fideos
Chicken—pollo
Meat—carne
Vegetables—verduras
Fruit—fruitas
Seaford—mariscos
Fish—pescado
Cold veggie soup—gazpacho
Banana—banana
Orange—naranja
Apple—manzana
Tangerine—mandarina
Pineapple—pina o anana
Mango—mango
Avocado—aquacate
Onion—cebolla
Turkey—pabo
Tomato—tomato
Sausages—chorizo
Ham—jamon
Rice—arroz
Corn—maiz
Beans—frijoles
Juice—jugo
Lemonade—limonada
Cider—cidra
Flour—harina
Bread—-pan
Ice cream—helado
Chocolate—chocolate
Vanilla—vanilla
Strawberry—fresa
Pastry—pastel
Cookies—galletas
Custard—flan
Milk shake—batido de leche
Espresso—un expreso
Cheese—queso
Eggs—huevos
Butter—mantequilla o Manteca
Margarine—margarina
Whisky—whiskey
Beer—cerveza
Alcohol—alcohol
Tuna—atun
Lobster—langusta
Sardines—sardines
Salmon—salmon
Bacon–tocino
Broth—caldo
Stew—guiso
Steak—chursasco, carne
BBQ—churrasco , churro
Tenderloin—tourneados
Roast beef—rosbef
Pork—cerdo
Toast—tostada
Grilled—parrilla
Baker—Horneado,
Mashed potatoes—pueredo papas
Potatoes—papas (careful to use las papas because the word is feminine. El Papa refers to the pope)
French Fries—papas fritas
Chicken breast—suprema de pollo
Salami—salarme
Breakfast—desayuno
Lunch—almuerzo
Soysauce—salsa d soya
Liquids—liquidos
Fry—frita
Grill—parilla
Salad—ensalada

Restaurant Words

Plate—un plato
Cup—una taza/copa
Glass—vaso
Teaspoon—una cuchariva
Spoon—cuchara
Fork—tenedor
Knkife—cuchillo
A can —una lata
Box—una lajo
A jar—un pomo
Menu—la carta
What is today’s special?—Cual es el plato del dia
Reservation—reservacion
Table—mesa
I’dlike to order—quisiera pedar
Bill—-la cuenta
Fast to go—comida para llevar
Fast food—comida rapida

Directions

Where/there—aqui, aji
Here is—aqui tiene
Right—derecha
Left—izquierda
Straight—derecho
One block—una cuadrenta
Turn—gire
Corner—ciquina
Opposite from—frenta a
Next to—junto a
In Front—frente
In back—al antes
Everywhere—en todas partes
No where—ninguna parte
Far—lejos
Close—cerca
North—norte
South—sur
East—este
West—oeste
Highway—carretera
Lost—perdido
Upstairs—arriba
Downstairs—abajo
Separate—aparte
Together—contigo,conmigo

Times

Time—tiempo
Hour—hora
Day—dia
Week—semana
Month—la mesa
Year—ano
Today—hoy
Evening/night—noche
First—primero
Second—segundo
Third—tercero
Last—ultimo
Morning—la manana
Yesterday—ayer
Tomorrow—manana
Before—antes
After—despues
Later—despues, lluego
Earlier—antes
Every day—todos las dias
Always—siempre
Never—nunca
1:00—una hora
1;15—la una y quince/cuarta
1:30—uno y media
1:45—cuarto al dos
1:01—la una y una
Date—fecha
The end—el final
Finished—finis

Amounts

More—mas
Less—menos
All—todo
Some—unos
None—nada
That’s all—eso es todo
Kilogram—kilo
Half kilo—medio kelo
Dozen—docena
Approximately—approximente
A bit of—un poco de
Number—numero
Single—individual
Double—doble
Too much/too many—demasiado
Not enough—no bastante
Enough—bastante
Many/much—mucho
Very—muy
A little—poco, poquito

Money Words

Money—dinero
Dollars—dolares
Travelers checks—chequs de viajero
Exchange rate—cambio
Commission—interes
Fee—tarrif
Bills—billetas
Small change—suelto
Signature—la firma
The payment—le debo
Credit card—tarjeta de credito
Cheap—barrata
Price—precio
Discount—discuento
ATM—el cajero

Nature Words

Sun—soil
Trees—arbol
Sky—cielo
Sea—mar
Mountains—montanas
River—rio
Lake—lago
Beach—playa
View—vista
Rain—lluevia
Tortoise—tortuga
Animals—animales
Cockroach—cucaracha
Mosquito—los mosquitos

Medical Words

Medicine—medicina
Doctor—-El Doctor
Ambulance—ambulancia
Nurse—enferma
What’s wrong>–Que le pasa
I’m sick—Me siento enfermo
Headache—dolor de la cabeza
Flu—la gripe
It hurts here—me dula aqui
I feel dizzy—tengo mareos nauseas
Pregnant—embarazada
Pain—dolor
Stomach ache—dolor to estomacho
Backache—dolor de espalda
I feel—siento
Diarrhea—diarrhea
Antibiotics—antibioticsos
Allergic—alergico
Vaccinated—vacundo (a)

Travel Words

Passport—passaporte
Documents—documentes
Bag—bolsa
Vacation—vacaciones
Suitcases—maletas
Business trip—viaje de negocios
Baggage cart—carnto para maletas
Room—cuarto, habitacion
Single bed—habatacion con una sola cama
Reservation—reserve
Shower—ducha
Private bath—bano privado
Oceanview—vista del mar
Motocycle—moto
Taxi—taxi
Bus—autobus
Car—auto, coche
Truck—camion
Station—estacion
Ticket—boleta, pasaje
Roadmap—mapa de carreteras, plano de ciudad
Boat—boats,
Port—puerto
Cabin—camarote
Subway—metro
One-way ticket—billete de ida
Round-trip ticket—billete de y vuelta
Departure—partida
Arrival—llegada
Tourism/tourist—turismo, turista

Miscellaneous Words

American—nortemaricano(a)
Englis—ingles
Spanish0—espanol
Grammatical—gramatica
Meaning—signfico
Questions—preguntas
One more time—ulta vez
Femine—feminia
Information—informacion
Life—vida
County –pais (refers to actual country, not a general description)
Age—edad
Word—palabra
World—mundo
Death—muerte
Race—carrera
Competition—competencia
Party—fiesta
Free-libre
Game—juego
Holiday—fiesta
Vacation—vacaciones
Power—poder
Religion—religion
Catholic—catholico
Protestant—protestante
Drama—drama
Information—informacion
Friendship—amistad

“The Spanish Backyard” Story and Game

Harriet and Toby were just regular kids, living in just a regular house. Still, they had what many people don’t: they had a wonderful backyard.

Sometimes their yard was a wide, deep ocean. Other times it was a space station. But Harriet and Toby’s favorite times of all were when the yard became a magical kingdom far away, where anything they spoke in Spanish appeared.

The catch: they had to speak the sentence properly three times in a row.

One day, Harriet and Toby were hungry. They were waiting for their parents to finish cooking a large meal. So, they decided to make food appear in their yard–every kind of food they could imagine.

What do you think Harriet and Toby asked for? What would you want to make appear?

Note to teachers: Here, have your students make sentences with the word list you’re working on currently. Change the scenario to fit the types of words you want to practice. Each time the student gets the sentence right, draw what they said or say, “Look! It’s a …”]

Harriet and Toby continued playing The Spanish Backyard until the sun was all the way down.

***

Being in love is harder than it sounds. Really, it’s a challenge on every level. Get Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby on Amazon now.

***

Buy stuff on Amazon and support this blog. Easy enough, right? Just click here. Anything you buy counts.

8 comments

    1. Nice to hear. Thanks! I worked hard on this and was going to make it into a children’s book series, but well, never happened. I like it as part of my homeschooling series.

  1. I have found, traveling in both France and in Spanish-speaking countries, that if you can ask where the bathroom is, say “good morning,” “please,” “thank you,” “excuse me,” “I’m sorry” and maybe ask for the bill, you can pretty much get by. Food names help. Oh, and “do you speak English?” in their language is the first thing to ask. Google translate got me through when my husband was injured in France, because “my husband has hurt his leg on the metro” was not in my French vocabulary. If you at least try, people meet you where you are.

    1. I agree! I used to write and rewrite word lists while traveling of all the basics like these. That and practice was enough. Language isn’t that hard, really; the human brain is positively awesome at it.

    1. Awesome, thanks! I am often wondering if my education and book posts are too far off-topic for my audience. But this one has been received well, so who knows?

COMMENTS