Beginner Lessons
Survival Spanish

Survival Spanish

In addition to the web version, you can download the lesson as a PDF, found at the bottom of the page.

Be sure to listen and practice with the audio throughout the lesson.

Lesson 5: Survival Spanish

Getting by in a Spanish-speaking country is nearly impossible without these basics.

Listen to and repeat the audios for good pronunciation practice.

Greetings and Pleasantries


Hi; hello

Buenos días

Good day, morning

Buenas tardes

Good afternoon


Buenas noches

Good night







Hasta luego

See you later

Nos vemos

See you later


When you’re comfortable, switch up the last four goodbyes in order to vary your speech just a bit.

Being Polite


Excuse me; pardon me
To get someone’s attention, like in a restaurant


Excuse me
To apologize for something, like bumping into someone accidentally

Con su permiso
Con permiso

Excuse me

To get by someone, like in the metro, on the street or in any crowded space

You can use con (su) permiso which means with (your) permission

Or simply use permiso

(Muchas) gracias

Thank you (very much)

De nada

You’re welcome


Hablo inglés/ español

I speak English/ Spanish

No hablo español

I don’t speak Spanish

Hablo un poco de español

I speak a little Spanish

¿Me puedes ayudar?
¿Puedes ayudarme?

Can you help me?
They both mean the same thing, so use the one you like.

Necesito ayuda

I need help

survival spanish

Asking for Directions

¿Dónde está...
Where is...

…esta dirección?
…this address?

…este hotel?
…this hotel?

…la plaza principal?
…the main plaza?

…este/ esta ___?*
…this ____?*

*You can always ask “¿Dónde está este/ esta ___?” and then point at a map or something else to indicate what you’re talking about.

¿Dónde hay...
Where is...

…un banco?
…a bank?

…un restaurante?
…a restaurant?

…un mercado/ supermercado?
…a market/ supermarket?

…un hospital
…a hospital

¿Dónde está…? is used with specific places, whereas, ¿Dónde hay…? is used for general places.

You can also use, “¿Dónde queda…?” for general places.

For example, if you’re looking for an ATM and any ATM will do:

“¿Dónde queda un cajero?” OR “¿Dónde hay un cajero…?”

Both are nearly interchangeable.

¿Dónde puedo..
Where can I...

…tomar el metro?
…take the metro?

…pedir un taxi?
…order a taxi?

…encontrar un baño público?
…find a public restroom?

Just by practicing a few key phrases, you’ll be much better off than someone who doesn’t put in any effort.

You will absolutely get treated better just by being polite and asking a few questions in Spanish during your time abroad.

And you’ll no doubt need to learn a bit about asking questions. The next lesson will help you with that.