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100 Must-Know Basic Spanish Words For Beginners (with Audio)

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When learning a new language, you reach a point when it all comes to vocabulary acquisition. But most people struggle to remember hundreds or thousands of new words. It makes sense: forming a vast vocabulary takes time.

But it’s also true that, in most languages, everyday talk needs only a couple of dozen words; no more than a hundred, in most situations.

That’s why in this article we’re going to present you a quick guide to 100 basic Spanish words — A fast, useful start for your conversation skills! This list contains the basic Spanish words used in everyday sentences. These should be enough for you to express yourself when traveling, and they should give you a strong foundation on your Spanish learning journey!

These are great to add to your vocab list or flashcards. For flashcards, we recommend using Anki, a free flashcard app. Check out our beginner’s guide on using Anki for learning languages.

The Most Common Easy Spanish words

This list contains 100 of the most common Spanish words. They’re divided by categories: nouns, verbs, adjectives and prepositions. We’ll also include a “miscellaneous” category for different kinds of functional words.

Note: functional words, like articles and prepositions, might be a little tricky, and in some cases, they’re easier to learn in a grammar lesson than in a vocabulary list. But it’s still helpful to know these words as it will give you a good foundation before getting into the grammar rules.

With that said, read on to get the ultimate Spanish Vocab List for beginners. ¡Vamos!

Basic Spanish Nouns

These are maybe the most useful Spanish vocabulary words. Nouns identify objects, places, people… Almost everything! If you don’t know any more words, but you can point and say a few nouns, you should be able to communicate. So pay attention to these words!

People

SpanishEnglishExample Sentence
la persona the personEsa persona habla mucho.
That person talks a lot.
la mujer the womanEsa mujer trabaja conmigo.
That woman works with me.
el hombre the manEl hombre llegó ayer.
The man arrived yesterday.
la niña the girlLa niña tiene seis años.
The girl is 6 years old.
el niño the boyEse niño es mi hermano menor.
That boy is my younger brother.

Home

SpanishEnglishExample Sentence
la casa the houseLa casa de María es muy bonita.
Maria’s house is very beautiful.
la mesa the tableLa mesa está servida, ¡a comer!
The table is set. Let’s eat!
la ventana the windowLa ventana está abierta.
The window is open.
la silla the chairLa silla es muy incómoda.
The chair is very uncomfortable.
la puerta the doorAbre la puerta, por favor.
Open the door please.
el piso the floorEl piso está muy sucio.
The floor is very dirty.

Spanish Words about Time

SpanishEnglishExample Sentence
el tiempo the timeNunca tengo tiempo para nada.
Maria’s house is very beautiful.
el año the year¿Cuántos años tienes?
How old are you?
el día the dayEste es mi último día en la oficina.
This is my last day in the office.
la semana the weekVi a Sandra la semana pasada.
I saw Sandra last week.

Body parts

SpanishEnglishExample Sentence
los ojos the eyesTienes unos ojos hermosos.
You have beautiful eyes.
la boca the mouthRodrigo nunca cierra la boca.
Rodrigo never shuts his mouth.
la cabeza the headMe duele mucho la cabeza.
My head hurts a lot.
las manos the handsLucía es hábil con las manos.
Lucía is skilled with her hands.

Everyday life

SpanishEnglishExample Sentence
la vida the lifeMi vida es una gran aventura.
My life is a great adventure.
la cosa the thingNo encuentro una cosa.
I didn’t find a thing.
el mundo the worldJuan recorre el mundo en su motocicleta.
Juan travels the world on his motorbike.
el problema the problemNo hay problema.
No problem.
el grupo the groupMi grupo de amigos es el mejor.
My group of friends is the best.
el dinero the moneyNo tengo mucho dinero.
I don’t have a lot of money.
el coche the carLucas compró un coche nuevo.
Lucas bought a new car.
el trabajo the workMi trabajo es bastante interesante.
My work is quite interesting.
la calle the streetLa calle está vacía.
The street is empty.
la tienda the storeEsa tienda vende frutas frescas.
That store sells fresh fruits.
el café the coffeeQuiero tomar un rico café.
I want to drink rich coffee.
el té the teaEl té está muy caliente. ¡Cuidado!
The tea is very hot. Be careful!
el vino the wineUna copa de vino, por favor.
One glass of wine, please.
la cerveza the beer¿Tienes cerveza artesanal?
Do you have craft beer?
la leche the milkDebo comprar leche.
I must buy milk.
el agua the waterQuiero beber agua antes de partir.
I want to drink water before leaving.
la comida the foodDebo preparar la comida.
I must prepare the food.

Read next: 18 Ways to Say How Are You in Spanish

Basic Spanish Verbs

Verbs describe actions and processes. They’re essential if you want to form complete sentences, so you should learn a few if you want to communicate in Spanish. Conjugation may be a little tricky at first —Spanish verbs change a lot more than English verbs— but don’t worry: the infinitive form should be enough to start. 

SpanishEnglishExample Sentence
ser to be (permanent)Yo soy español.
I’m Spanish.
estar to be (temporary)Yo estoy en España.
I am in Spain,
tener to haveMartín tiene un coche nuevo.
Martín has a new car.
hacer to do/makeAdriana hace gimnasia.
Adriana does gymnastics.
decir to saySeñor, le digo la verdad.
Sir, I tell you the truth.
hablar to talk/to speakNosotros hablamos durante horas.
We talked for hours.
ir to goQuiero ir a Rusia en el verano.
I want to go to Russia in the summer.
saber to knowNo sé la dirección del hotel.
I don’t know the address of the hotel.
tomar to takeAndrea tomó la copa con las manos.
Andrea took the cup with her hands.
ver to seeVeo unos bonitos pájaros en el cielo.
I see some pretty parrots in the sky.
pensar to thinkÉl pensó en su trabajo toda la noche.
He thought about his car all night.
querer to wantMaría quiere comprar ese libro.
María wants to buy this book.
dar to giveCarlos le dio un regalo a su hermana.
Carlos gave his sister a gift.
usar to useManuel usó su lápiz nuevo.
Manuel used his new pencil.
encontrar to findHe encontrado este teléfono en la calle.
I found this phone on the street.
preguntar to askLe pregunté al policía dónde estaba la salida.
I asked the police where the exit was.
trabajar to workTrabajo en una oficina con mucha gente.
I work in an office with a lot of people.
parecer to seemEsteban parece un hombre muy agradable.
Estaban seemed like a nice man.
sentir to feelLucía siente miedo por las noches.
Lucía feels scared at night
intentar to tryJorge intenta cambiar de carrera.
Jorge tries to change careers.
salir to leaveMartina salió de casa por la mañana.
Martina left the house in the morning.
llamar to callLucas llama a su madre todas las tardes.
Lucas calls his mother every afternoon.
llegar to arrive/comeArmando llega a casa a las seis de la mañana.
Armando arrives at his home at six in the morning.

Read next: You’re Welcome in Spanish — Regional Variations

Basic Spanish Adjectives

Adjectives are used to characterize or define things or people. Similar to English, there are many Spanish words to describe things. Unlike English, Spanish adjectives usually have to match the number and gender of the noun. 

In other words, if the noun is feminine, the adjective will change its ending to become feminine; if the noun is plural, the adjective will change its ending to become plural. Sounds like a real headache! But it’s not. It’s basically changing an “o” for an “a” to turn the adjective feminine and adding an “s” at the end, if it’s plural. For example, let’s take the adjective “alto” (tall):

  • alto (singular masculine)
  • alta (singular feminine)
  • altos (plural masculine)
  • altas (plural feminine)

On this list, we will present the adjectives in the masculine singular form. These are the most common Spanish adjectives:

SpanishEnglishExample Sentence
bueno goodMi perro es muy bueno.
My dog is very good.
malo badEl perro malo huyó otra vez.
The bad dog ran away again.
nuevo newHoy empiezo mi trabajo nuevo.
Today I start my new job.
viejo oldJosé es un viejo compañero de escuela.
José is an old schoolmate.
joven youngEse árbol es muy joven.
This tree is very young.
primero firstYo llegué primero.
I arrived first.
último lastSoy el último de la fila.
I am the last in line.
largo longHoy fue un largo día.
Today was a long day.
grande big/largeTu casa es muy grande.
Your house is very big.
alto high/tallDiego es alto.
Diego is tall.
pequeño little/smallEse gato es muy pequeño.
That cat is very small.
otro otherHablemos de otro tema.
Let’s talk about another topic.
mismo sameTengo el mismo pantalón.
I have the same pants.
diferente differentQuiero comer algo diferente.
I want to eat something different.
correcto right/correctEste es el camino correcto.
That is the correct street.
incorrecto wrong/incorrectEra el momento incorrecto para hablar.
It was the wrong time to speak.
temprano earlyLuciana siempre llega temprano.
Luciana always arrives early.
tarde lateEs muy tarde para mí.
It is too late for me.
feo uglyEse coche es feo.
That car is ugly.
lindo beautiful/nice¡Qué lindo día!
What a nice day!
poco little/fewTengo poco tiempo.
I have a little time.
mucho a lot of/muchTe quiero mucho.
I love you a lot.
público publicAllí están los baños públicos.
(Over) There are public toilets.
privado privateEstudié en un colegio privado.
I studied in a private college.
próximo nextEres el próximo en la fila.
You are the next in line.
importante importantLa familia es una parte importante de mi vida.
Family is an important part of my life.

Basic Spanish Prepositions

Prepositions are functional words: they connect elements of the sentence. They’re quite difficult to translate, since both in English and Spanish they all have multiple meanings and uses. We’ll give you here one possibletranslation for each preposition, but you’ll really get the feel of them by listening how people use them. There’re 23 prepositions in Spanish, but don’t worry! We’re only going to list the most common ones.

SpanishEnglishExample Sentence
a to¡Vamos a la playa!
Let’s go to the beach!
con withVivo con Miguel.
I live with Miguel.
sin withoutEstoy sin dinero.
I am without money.
de ofEl libro de Florencia.
The book of Florence.
desde since/fromVengo desde el trabajo.
I come from work.
durante duringMi vecino hace ruido durante la noche.
My neighbor makes noise during the night
en in/on/atVivo en México.
I live in México.
hacia towardsIremos hacia allí.
We will go towards there.
hasta until¡Hasta mañana!
Until tomorrow!
para forCompré esto para ti.
I bought this for you.
por by/forEl tren pasa por aquí.
The train goes by here.

Other Useful Spanish Words

In this section, you will find Spanish words that are articles and connectors, which are the most common functional words. These are easy to learn and very frequently used. We’re sure you’ll find them very useful:

SpanishEnglishExample Sentence
el the (masculine)El hombre es alto.
The man is tall.
la the (feminine)La mujer es rápida.
The woman is fast.
y andQuiero un café y un vaso con agua.
I want a coffee and a glass of water.
o or¿Vamos al cine o al teatro?
Are we going to the cinema or the theater?
pero butTengo sueño, pero no puedo dormir
I’m sleepy but I can’t sleep.

Conclusion

Now you have 100 new words to your Spanish vocabulary! These are the most basic Spanish words, the ones that you’ll use every day in any Spanish-speaking country. If you learn these, you’re ready to start comprehending and communicating —and also they can work as a starting point for improvement!

You’ll see how, in a very short amount of time, these 100 words will become 200, and then 300… If you put your mind to it, you’ll be speaking fluent Spanish very soon! Everyone has to start somewhere, and this is your start: your basic Spanish vocab list. 

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