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Some Common Spanish Phrases

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Here’s a very quick quiz,

Warning: It’s not as easy as it looks.

In fact, if you get more than 5 out of ten correct, you’ll be doing well.

How many of these very common Spanish phrases do you know? Grab a pen and translate these ten phrases:

  1. cuando mucho
  2. quiere decir
  3. más bien
  4. como no
  5. más alla
  6. no tiene que ver
  7. todo el mundo
  8. cuanto antes
  9. costar mucho trabajo
  10. de nuevo

It’s a good bet that you know every individual word on the list, but the meanings of the phrases will surprise you

Let’s see how you did?

Remember your target is to get more than five out of ten correct.

So, if you get 6 or more correct, bien hecho (well done).

Ok, you didn’t peek right?


Here are the answers:

  1. at the most
  2. it means
  3. rather
  4. of course
  5. beyond
  6. it’s got nothing to do with
  7. everyone
  8. As soon as possible
  9. to be hard to do
  10. once again

Sure, in context, literal translations will work. But the translations I just gave you are the ones you’ll hear the most.

You’ll start hearing them all over the place once you know them.

You’ll hear them, when you chat with your Spanish speaking friends, go to shops or
talk to the locals when you travel.

But it’s not casual Spanish or a slang Spanish or regional Spanish.

This is just as real as any Spanish you’ll find in a dictionary. From the man in the local store to the president, from a farm worker to a PHD graduate, they’ll all use these phrases.

And they use them very often. Very often!

It’s everyday Spanish

Yet, there it’s rarely taught.

A while back I started tracking the use of these types of phrases. It was part of my research for the Spanish Ear Training Masterclass series. You see, even if I train your ears, it won’t do you much good if you don’t understand what people are saying anyway.

Article courtesy of Marcus Santamaria. For more on his excellent course, please click on the Synergy Spanish banner in the left column.

2 comments to Some Common Spanish Phrases

  • With Mexican expressions like “ya casi” I found that the Marcus Santamaria Synergy Spanish course was the only way I would ever learn Mexican-style Spanish.
    God Bless,

  • Amanda

    everyone’s speakin’ spanish! I am learnin too! it’s not that tough. i should have paid atten in my spanish class?
    Never tooo late!

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