95 Spanish Phrases

Beginners Spanish phrases: Part four

Rob Ashby

Rob Ashby

The Spanish Obsessive

Welcome to the fourth set of phrases from our beginners Spanish phrases mini-series. You can test yourself using the quiz at the bottom of this article.

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65

En todo caso

In any case

Construction

This literally translates as “in all case(s)”.

Why we love it

This is one of many ways that you can also say “anyway” – meaning, “let’s end the conversation”, or to reinforce a point.

66

En algunos casos

In some cases

Construction

Algun(os) means “some”, and we are combining again with caso, this time forming a slightly different meaning. Don’t forget that we change the adjective ending to match the noun in number and gender: Casos is masculine and plural, so algún becomes algunos.

Why we love it

Algún is a very common and useful word, and you’ll meet it in many different contexts. This phrase is a particularly common use of this word, so well worth memorising.

67

Bajo ningún concepto

Under no conditions/circumstances (no way!)

Construction

This literally translates as “under no concept” – “concept” here with the meaning of “circumstance”:

Bajo: Under

Ningún: No (none)

Concepto: Concept

Why we love it

The opposite of algún is ningún, and this is a common phrase using that word.

68

Ningún problema

No problem

Construction

Same structure, but it’s worth remembering that problema is masculine, despite ending in a.

Why we love it

Another phrase using ningún. You can see that problema is another noun which, despite ending with a, is actually masculine. You’ll just have to remember that!

69

En gran parte

For the large part

Construction

Gran comes from grande, meaning “large”. Whenever grande goes before a singular noun (masculine or feminine), it gets shortened to gran. This is known as a short form adjective, and there are a few of these around, but this is the most common.

Why we love it

This is a great phrase to memorise to get to grips with gran and short adjectives, and is one that you will find yourself using and hearing a lot.

70

No es un buen momento

It’s not a good moment

Construction

Another common adjective which often gets shortened is bueno. When this comes before a singular, masculine noun, it becomes buen.

Why we love it

Buen is another short adjective you’ll hear and use very often, so this is a good phrase to help you memorise and use it.

71

Tengo que irme

I have to go

Construction

There are two parts to this: Tener que means “to have to do something”, and this has been conjugated for yo; irme comes from ir+se, and means to leave. Ir is often used with se with the meaning “to get out” of somewhere. For example, me voy: I’m out of here/I’m off

Why we love it

Tener que is a great construction, which means “to have to”, while irse is incredibly useful as well. Learn these and use them!

72

Hay que hacerlo

One has to do it/It must be done

Construction

This uses a set expression, hay que + verb in infinitive, which means “to have to VERB”. However, it doesn’t express who has to do something.

Hacerlo means “to do it”.

Why we love it

Another variation is hay que – the difference here is that hay que does not specify a person, whereas tener que is conjugated, so specifies who has the obligation.

73

Lo único es que

The only thing is that…

Construction

This phrase uses the neuter article lo, which can be combined with adjectives to give the meaning “the ADJECTIVE thing” (for example: Lo bueno, “the good thing”). With unico, this translates to “the only thing”.

Why we love it

A good introductory phrase so that you can get the hang of using lo + adjective, and this one is, of course, incredibly common and useful!

74

Lo importante es que

The important thing is that

Construction

This uses exactly the same structure as the previous phrase, with importante meaning “important”.

Why we love it

Another useful phrase using lo. In this case lo importante becomes “the important thing”.

75

Lo mío es tuyo

What’s mine is yours

Construction

In this case, lo is used with possessive pronouns, meaning “yours” (lo tuyo) and “mine” (lo mío).

Why we love it

A great phrase to remember how to use these common constructions, and continue learning lo type phrases.

76

O sea que…

That’s to say…

Construction

It’s not particularly helpful to break this construction down, it’s basically used as a set phrase, whose grammar doesn’t necessarily make much sense. Treat it as one “block”, or a chunk of meaning on its own. However, so that you know, sea comes from ser, and is in the subjunctive. Perhaps a literal translation could be “or (let it) be that”, really meaning “that is”, “I mean”, “in other words”.

Why we love it

Sea comes from the verb ser and is in the subjunctive form. This is a highly idiomatic expression, which you’ll hear literally all the time!

77

¡Qué bueno!

How great/nice!

Construction

Here is the structure of this common construction:

Qué + Adjective

How adjective!

It’s very simple!

Why we love it

This is an incredibly common construction, used as an exclamation. Qué is followed by an adjective, and is used to add emphasis to the adjective. In this case, it means “how good/great!”

78

¡Qué alegria verte!

How nice to see you!

Construction

Using the same construction as the previous phrase (although alegría, meaning “joy”, is a noun), you can append a verb in the infinitive. In this case, verte means “to see you”.

Why we love it

Another one to help you remember this useful construction, in a slightly different context.

79

Me voy

I’m going/I’m off

Construction

This comes from irse, which is different from ir. Irse (which is really ir plus se) means “to leave”. This is an incredibly common phrase.

Why we love it

Need we explain how useful this phrase is? If you are a “we” (ie, with other people!), conjugate this for nosotros : Nos vamos.

80

Voy a la tienda

I’m going to the shop

Construction

Voy comes from ir, meaning “to go”. It’s an irregular verb, meaning you’ll have to learn the conjugations individually. When ir is used without se (as in the previous phrase), it means to go somewhere specific, in this case la tienda, the shop.

Why we love it

It’s good to learn both this and the previous phrase to get an understanding of the differences between ir and irse, which beginners commonly confuse.

81

Tú también

You too

Construction

This couldn’t be much simpler, literally translating as “you too” (también: “also, too”)

Why we love it

You’ll find yourself wheeling out this incredibly useful little conversational hook all the time.

82

Tampoco lo sé

I don’t know either

Construction

Two very useful words to learn are también and tampoco, meaning “either” and “neither”. También is used with positive statements, while tampoco is used with negative statements (just as we do in English).

Why we love it

This is one of the more common phrases using tampoco, so will help you get the hang of how this word works as you use it and hear it more often.

Test your memory

Help me learn these phrases!

Drop your email below and we’ll send you a download of all of these phrases, including a link to Quizlet to help you memorise them:

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