Welcome to the first in our series of free classes on essential Spanish phrases. The aim of the series is to get you up to speed as quickly as possible with the kind of words, questions and phrases which you’ll actually need when you visit a Spanish-speaking country.
Most classes are based around a video, where we’ll listen to native Spanish speakers taking us through the phrases that they would actually use in their daily lives.
In this class we’ll look at Spanish phrases for giving our name, age and nationality, and we’ll also learn how to say where we live and what we do. It’s not rocket science, but it’s pretty essential stuff!
If you’ve never learnt a foreign language before, here’s a small piece of advice about sentence structure:
Never expect a sentence in one language to be an exact, word-for-word translation of the same sentence in English
Word order in Spanish phrases is often very different to English, and there are a number of other major differences between the languages. It’s not too complicated, but it’s a good idea to expect the unexpected.
In this video our fantastic native speakers will take us through the key Spanish phrases we need in order to give basic information about ourselves. Oh, and I also pop up with a few pointers and explanations.
Here are the main phrases you’ll need when you introduce yourself and start to talk about where you are from, what you do etc.
Giving your name:
In Spanish we use the reflexive verb ‘llamarse’ and literally say ‘I call myself…’.
- Me llamo Katia
Giving your age:
There’s really only one way to do this wherever you are in the Spanish-speaking world:
- Tengo 26 años
In Spanish we use the verb ‘tener’ (have) when we give our age. We do not use the verb ‘ser’ (be):
- Correct: Tengo 26 años
Obviously in order to give your age in Spanish, you’ll need to know the numbers. Check out our reference section for how to pronounce the numbers properly in Spanish (Oops, we’re still finishing this! link coming soon)
Where we live:
- Vivo en Cadaqués
Did you notice how the ‘v’ is pronounced? Like the English ‘be’.
Where we are from and nationality:
For this, we’ll need ‘Soy’. No, not a sauce popular in East Asian cooking, but actually one of two ways that Spanish has of saying ‘I am’.
‘Soy’ is the first person singular of the verb ‘Ser’ (see the end of the class for full conjugation)
- Soy de Nueva York
I’m from New York
- Soy de Londres
I’m from London
Most Spanish adjectives, including those of nationality, have feminine and masculine forms. If you’re female you’ll say:
- Soy inglesa
- Soy argentina
But if you are male, you’ll say:
- Soy inglés
- Soy argentino
See the grammar section below for more examples:
A little bit of grammar
Let’s quickly look at some grammar points. Well, actually, they are more like vocabulary points. Pay attention anyway, it won’t hurt, honest!
Nationality – Remember your gender!
When you give your nationality you’ll need to remember what sex you are, unless you’re American or Canadian. Here are the adjectives of nationality for the main English-speaking countries:
And here are the female and male variations for the inhabitants of most Spanish-speaking countries:
Bonus Spanish Phrases
Here are some more phrases with ‘Soy’, this time for talking about what we do. The words for many professions and trades also have female and male versions just like the adjectives for nationality.
- Soy diseñador gráfico.
I’m a graphic designer (masc.)
- Soy diseñadora gráfico.
I’m a graphic designer (fem.)
- Soy cocinero.
I’m a cook.
- Soy dependienta.
I’m a shop assistant (fem.)
- Soy comercial.
I’m a sales representative.
The verbs for this class
Here’s how to conjugate this video’s most important verbs in the Presente indicativo
|Ser (to be)|
|Tener (to have)|
|Vivir (to live)|
To the next class that’s where! Now that we know how to give basic personal information in Spanish, lets move on and learn how to ask someone’s name and age, as well as where they live and where they are from. That’s what we’re going to look at in the next class, which will also serve as a useful introduction to the TWO different forms which Spanish has for ‘you’.