135 Basic Spanish Words for Beginners: Essential Vocabulary

Knowing basic Spanish words can help you build a solid foundation to understand and communicate in different scenarios since daily conversations rely on essential vocabulary. In fact, many of these fundamental terms can be used in multiple contexts. 

Since vocabulary is the backbone of communication, in this article, you’ll find a curated list of basic words in Spanish that all learners should know. To make things easier, I’ve classified these terms into: 

I’ve included examples for you to use how to use this Spanish vocabulary.

Most Essential Words in Spanish

Expressions of politeness and Spanish greetings are some basic words you’ll need in most situations. Here are some of the terms you should focus on: 

  • Adiós: Goodbye
  • Buenos días: Good morning
  • Buenas noches: Good night
  • Buenas tardes: Good afternoon
  • De nada: You’re welcome
  • Disculpe: Excuse me
  • Gracias: Thank you
  • Hola: Hi
  • No: No
  • Perdón: Sorry / Excuse me
  • Por favor: Please
  • Salud: Bless you / Cheers 
  • : Yes

Basic Pronouns in Spanish

Spanish pronouns are essential words we use to refer to people or things. As a beginner, you should learn subject pronouns first: 

  • Yo: I
  • : You (informal)
  • Él: He
  • Ella: She
  • Ellos / Ellas: They
  • Nosotros: We
  • Usted: You (formal)
  • Ustedes: You (plural)
  • Vosotros: You (plural Spain)

These common Spanish words can be combined with verbs to express the action a person is doing or with adjectives to describe them. Here are some simple phrases:

Yo soy Daniela. 
I am Daniela. 

Ella es maestra. 
She is a teacher. 

Ustedes parecen muy amables. 
You guys seem very nice.

On top of subject pronouns, you should also know these basic Spanish pronouns: 

  • Me: Myself / Me
  • Te: Yourself / You
  • Se: Herself / Himself / Yourself
  • Lo / La: It / Him / Her
  • Le: Him / Her / You (formal)
  • Nos: Us / Ourselves 
  • Os: You (Spain)
  • Los / Las: Them 
  • Les: You / Them 

Tina se despierta muy tarde. 
Tina wakes up very late. 

Te llamé pero no me contestaste. 
I called you but you didn’t answer me

Check my guide to pronouns in Spanish to learn when and how to use each one of these words. 

Spanish Words for People & Relationships

  • El amigo: Friend
  • La chica: Girl
  • El chico: Boy / Guy
  • El compañero: Classmate / Coworker 
  • El esposo / La esposa: Husband / Wife
  • La familia: Family
  • La gente: People
  • El hermano / La hermana: Brother / Sister
  • Los hermanos: Siblings
  • El hijo / La hija: Son / Daughter 
  • El hombre: Man 
  • La mamá: Mom
  • La mujer: Woman
  • Los niños: Kids
  • El novio / La novia: Boyfriend / Girlfriend 
  • El papá: Dad
  • La persona: Person
  • El señor: Mr. / Sir / Man
  • La señora: Mrs. / Madam / Woman
  • La señorita: Miss
  • El vecino: Neighbor 

From a grammar point of view, these words are considered nouns. Spanish nouns are often followed by adjectives to describe how someone is or verbs to express what someone does. 

No tengo vecinos
I don’t have neighbors

¿Tienes hermanos?
Do you have siblings?

Esa mujer es mi vecina
That woman is my neighbor

Take Note: Nouns in Spanish have gender and plural forms. In other words, they change to express whether the person or thing we refer to is singular, plural, masculine, or feminine. 

Common Spanish Words for Places, Things & Time

  • El agua: Water
  • El banco: Bank
  • El año: Year
  • El árbol: Tree
  • El calor: Heat
  • La calle: Street
  • La casa: House
  • La ciudad: City
  • El clima: Weather
  • La comida: Food
  • El día: Day
  • La edad: Age
  • La escuela: School
  • La estación: Station
  • El frío: Cold
  • La habitación / el cuarto: Room
  • La hora: Hour / Time
  • El hospital: Hospital
  • La mañana: Morning
  • El mes: Month
  • La mesa: Table
  • La noche: Night
  • La oficina: Office
  • El país: Country
  • El parque: Park
  • La película: Movie
  • El restaurante: Restaurant
  • La ropa: Clothes
  • La semana: Week
  • La silla: Chair
  • El sol: Sun
  • La taza: Cup
  • La tarde: Afternoon / Evening
  • La tienda: Store
  • El vaso: Glass / Cup

And here are some examples using this Spanish vocabulary:

La silla es roja. 
The chair is red.

Quiero un vaso de agua
I want a glass of water

Los niños están en su cuarto
The kids are in their bedroom

Disculpe, ¿dónde está el baño?
Excuse me, where is the bathroom?

Take Note: El and la are Spanish definite articles. They’re often used in vocabulary lists to express if a word is masculine (el) or feminine (la). Articles are not the only words that can be placed before nouns

Spanish Vocabulary to Describe People & Things

The Spanish words below are basic terms that can help you describe people and things (adjectives) or actions (adverbs). 

  • Ahora: Now
  • Amable: Kind / Nice
  • Alto: Tall
  • Allí: There
  • Aquí: Here
  • Ayer: Yesterday
  • Bien: Well / Good
  • Bonito: Pretty
  • Bueno: Good
  • Cerca: Near
  • Difícil: Difficult
  • Ese / Esa: That
  • Este / Esta: This
  • Fácil: Easy
  • Feo: Ugly
  • Grande: Big
  • Hoy: Today
  • Interesante: Interesting
  • Mal: Bad / Badly
  • Malo: Bad
  • Mucho: Much
  • Muy: Very
  • Lejos: Far
  • Lento: Slow
  • Pequeño: Small
  • Poco: Little
  • Rápido: Fast
  • Siempre: Always
  • Tarde: Late
  • Viejo: Old

Check these sentences:

Hoy hace mucho calor. 
Today is very hot.

Tu hermano es muy amable
Your brother is very nice

Ellas siempre hablan rápido
They always speak fast

No tengo mucho tiempo. 
I don’t have much time. 

La tienda está lejos de aquí
The store is far from here

Take Note: In Spanish, adjectives are subject to adjective agreement, meaning that they must change to agree with the gender and number of the words they describe. Spanish adverbs, on the other hand, don’t have these types of changes. 

Basic Question Words in Spanish

These are the basic Spanish interrogative words you can use to ask information questions: 

  • ¿Cómo? – How?
  • ¿Cuándo? – When?
  • ¿Dónde? – Where? 
  • ¿Qué? / ¿Cuál? – What? / Which?
  • ¿Quién? – Who?
  • ¿Por qué? – Why?
  • ¿Cuánto? – How much?

¿Qué es eso?
What is that?

¿Cómo te llamas?
What’s your name?

¿Quién es ella?
Who is she?

¿Dónde está la estación de tren?
Where is the train station?

Keep in mind that question words in Spanish have particular uses that may not align with their English equivalents. So, make sure you understand how and when to use each term. 

Spanish Basic Verbs 

These are some of the most common verbs in Spanish you need to know: 

Check these simple sentences using these verbs:

Él se llama Sebastián. 
His name is Sebastian. 

Esas señoras viven en Madrid.
Those women live in Madrid. 

tienes un perro y un gato. 
You have a dog and a cat. 

Me gustan mucho las películas. 
I like movies very much. 

Nosotros vamos a ir al doctor. 
We’re going to the doctor. 

Your Next Steps to Level Up From Basic Words in Spanish

Now that you’ve learned the most common, basic words in Spanish, you should also check some basic questions and simple phrases that can help you kickstart your conversations. 

When you’re ready, you should also check how to conjugate verbs in Spanish and a more thorough list of common verbs you must know. This list was meant to provide you with the most important terms. As a result, you may want to expand your Spanish vocabulary by learning the following set of words: 

Download the Basic Spanish Words PDF

Congratulations, you’ve now learned the top most common Spanish words beginners should know. The trick to recalling these words when you need them is through practice and repetition. That’s why I’ve created a PDF for this guide which you can download for free. It contains all 135 basic words with their translations which you can use as cheat sheets when you need them!

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I've been studying Spanish professionally as well as teaching it in Mexico and online for over 10 years. I’ve taught Spanish to a wide array of foreigners from many backgrounds. Over the years, I've made it my mission to work hard on refining many challenging to understand grammar topics to make my students' learning experiences easier, faster and more enjoyable. Read More About Me

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