Category Archives: Learn Spanish Phrases

We love Cool Spanish Phrases, in fact, we include new ones in every edition of our famous ‘Real Spanish Newsletter’ (sign up for free here!)

Mas feliz que un regaliz – Spanish Happiness Phrases

Happiness Phrases

The following phrases can all be used in Spain (there may be variations in South/Latin America) to say that you, or someone else, are really happy:

Más feliz que un regaliz (literally, happier than liquorice)

Más feliz que una perdiz (literally, happier than a partridge)

Más contento que un niño con zapatos nuevos (happier than a child with new shoes)

e.g. ¿Cómo estás? … ¡Estoy más feliz que un regaliz!

Another favourite of ours:

Está como un pez en el agua – She’s really having a great time, she’s in her element, (literally ‘like a fish in water’. It’s strange that in English we say ‘like a fish out of water’ to mean the exact opposite!)

And if you just want to keep things simple, there’s no easier phrase in the world than:

Estoy super contento/a 🙂

¡Que seáis muy felices! – May you all be very happy!

– Ben y Marina

Real Spanish Love Phrases, Audio, and a Song

Here’s a bit of ‘Love’ Spanish for you, our lovely listeners! We are pretty sure that, like us, you love learning Real Spanish!

El amor es lo único que crece cuando se reparte.
– Antoine Saint-Exupery

¡Te quiero! – Spanish love phrases

I (Ben) remember how odd it was to walk around the streets of Madrid in my first months in Spain many years ago, hearing young couples say to each other ‘Te quiero’… literally meaning ‘I want you!’ This sounded a little strange to be saying to each other in the street all day long, until I discoved that in Spain it simply means, ‘I love you’, and is used (here, at least) much more frequently than ‘te amo’.

Here are a few more Spanish love phrases we like:

Amor a primera vista – Love at first sight

… or more commonly used:

“Lo nuestro fue un flechazo” – For us it was love at first sight

Encontrar pareja – To find a partner

Or much more poetic and romantic:

Encontrar tu media naranja – To find your perfect other half.

Our Love Audios

This is a great week to listen to our love-related audios again!

Notes in Spanish Gold Season 1 – Ep.12 – Amor y La Galaxia – Ben’s sister finds love, despite it being more likely to find aliens in our galaxy, and online dating flourishes in Spain.

Advanced Spanish Podcast 65 – San Valentin – ¿Cuál es la manera más común de celebrar el dí­a de los enamorados en tu paí­s?

Intermediate Spanish Podcast 20 – Amor – ¿Que es lo que hace la gente de tu pais la primera vez que queda con alguien?

Once Again, Our Favourite Spanish Love Song

Here’s Y Sin Embargo – from the most Madrileño Joaquin Sabina – with the stunning intro from Olga Roman – with such classic, love filled stanzas as:

Te quiero más que a mis ojos,
te quiero más que a mi vida,
más que al aire que respiro
y más que a la madre mía.

Here’s the video:

(Lyrics for the main song with Sabina, here, and the opening section here.)

Happy Spanish Learning! Ben y Marina

Find the worksheets, with full conversation transcripts, for the above Notes in Spanish audios in our store.

Quitameriendas, Spanish Compound Nouns, and call for help from Spanish teachers.


This beautiful flower, springing up all over the sierras north of Madrid recently as the summer weather gives way to autumn, is called a quitameriendas, because it appears at this time of year, when the cold weather is going to quitar (take away) our meriendas (snacks, or in this case, outdoor eating). It’s a flower which says, “the cold weather is on its way!”

I love these compound nouns – like rascacielos (meaning skyscraper, from rascar – to scratch or scrape and cielos, skies), girasoles (meaning sunflowers, beacuase they turn – girar – as they follow the sol – sun).

There are plenty moresacacorchos (corkscrew), abrelatas (tin opener), apagavelas (candle snuffer), but my favourite is:

Aguafiestas – a party pooper, spoilsport or wet blanket – someone who literally throws water on your party!

Update: Check out all the wonderful compound nouns listeners have added in the comments on this post!

Call for help from Spanish Teachers

We are delighted that our Spanish audios and worksheets are used in classrooms all over the world. We recently had a request from a teacher in the States for information about how teachers use our materials in their classes – but we don’t know exactly, so we thought we’d ask!

Update: The full teachers report is now ready here!

Asking for Help In Spanish

Here are some useful phrases for when you need a hand in Spanish!

¿Tienes un momentito (e.g. para ayudarme con la cena)? – Have you got a moment (e.g. to help me with dinner)?

¿Me puedes echar una mano (e.g. con mis deberes)? Can you lend me a hand (e.g. with my homework)?

Juan me echó un cable en la reunión cuando me quedé en blanco – Juan helped me out in the meeting when I went blank/couldn’t remember what I was going to say.

Si mi suegra se enrolla mucho, ¡échame un capote y dime que me necesitas! – If my mother in law starts going on and on, help me out and tell me that you need me!

(Note, echar un capote is a phrase that comes from the world of bullfighting, when the capote, or cape, was used by other bullfighters to distract a bull from further attacking an injured bullfighter on the ground – it’s a common phrase but does not mean that we condone bullfighting!)

Notice a few other great Real Spanish phrases from the above sentences:

Quedarse en blanco – to go blank / forget what you want to say

Enrollarse – to go and on

Not Spanish, But Great Anyway: Lending friends a hand!

I want to ‘echar un cable‘ to two great initiatives which, although they are not directly Spanish-learning related, you might like, or know someone who will.

First of all, my friend John and I have launched a site called Making Time To Live – it’s about getting out, away from the screen, and being more creative, and we’d love people all round the world to join in.

Check it out here:

Secondly, people often ask us if there is a ‘Notes in English’ – for Spanish friends or intercambios learning English – we don’t have one, but a great friend of mine has set up which works very much along Notes in Spanish lines, and is run by very talented people. Pass it on to your English learning Spanish friends!

Check it out here: (they also have a sale on at the moment, so it’s a good time to tell people about it!)

¡Buen fin de semana a todos!


Merienda time! Snacks and Food Vocabulary in Spanish

Spanish tapas


It’s revision/review time – Last year we emailed some of you about Spanish for snacks, and we wanted to make sure you all get this great Spanish language information:

It can often be confusing how the Spanish can have 3 different ways to say the same thing!

Having a between-meals snack is a classic example.

Spanish tapas

If I (Ben) am investigating the fridge for a snack Marina might say to me either of the following things:

Hmmm, hazme un piscolabis también…

A mi también me apetece un tentempié…

If it’s afternoon teatime, she’ll probably use ‘merienda’:

¿Vas a preparar la merienda?

So, piscolabis and tentempié are both wonderful sounding words used here in Spain for between-meal snacks and merienda is more for teatime, though it could be used for a morning snack in the context of what you send a child off to school with to keep her going until lunch.

Spanish tapas

The verb is often used too – voy a merendar algo, and the Spanish often talk about having an early merienda-cena, a ‘high-tea’ that fills you up enough to not need a proper supper later.

Spanish tapas

So snacking in Spain can sound like a complex business, but we like to make sure you are aware of all the variations!

Try using these in real life Spanish conversations!

Saludos desde Madrid,

Ben y Marina

Spanish Dark Humour, Useful Spanish Phrases and Video Revision!

Cool Spanish humour

The above statue was spotted near the Palacio Real by a friend as we walked around Madrid – some witty person has hung a sign around his neck:

Cool Spanish humour

‘No tengo ni pa’ ropa’ – with the ‘pa’ being short for ‘para’ to show it is mimicing coloquial speech.

No tengo ni para ropa – I can’t even afford clothes! (Which is clearly a bit of a dark joke in these times of financial crisis…)

More for you to sink your Spanish-learning teeth into…

First of all, 3 useful phrases we’ve come across in the last 24 hours and wanted to share:

¿Qué vamos a hacer para la cena esta tarde? ¿Comemos en casa o en un café? – What are we going to do for supper tonight – eat at home or in a cafe?
Pues, vamos a decidir sobre la marcha. – Well, let’s decide on the go/when the moment arrives.

Tengo un examen esta tarde – I’ve got an exam this afternoon.
Pues ya nos contarás que tal te ha ido – Well you can tell us later on how it went.

Lo que no mata engordaWhat doesn’t kill you will make you stronger (when Ben ate some bread with a bit of mould on the crust! This is a very typical Spanish phrase, literally meaning ‘what doesn’t kill you will make you fatter.)

Next up, time for some video revision!

Take a look at our Spanish table manners video again, very important to get this right if you ever eat in Spain!

If you like this video, you’ll love our Gold Audio – are you listening yet?

The Learn Spanish Fruit and Vegetables Video Quiz!


In our latest Spanish learning video Ben and Marina begin by explaining how Marina’s sister and her boyfriend came back from a Kitesurfing holiday in Brazil keen to improve their eating habits, and started buying more fruit and vegetables from the local market.

This reminded us about how lots of children these days don’t know the names of many fruit and veg, and so we thought we’d test your knowledge of the names of fruit and vegetables in Spanish! Watch the video and see how many you get right!

Spanish vocab and phrases from the video

Hacer kitesurfing – To do kitesurfing
Le gusta mucho hacer kite – He really likes kitesurfing
Han vuelto con muchas ganas de cambiar su estilo de vida y llevar una alimentación mas sana – They’ve returned [from holiday] really keen to change their lifestyle and eat more healthily
[En el mercado] se supone que la verdura y la fruta es de mejor calidad – In the market the fruit and vegetables are supposedly better quality
[La fruta y verdura] no ha pasado tanto tiempo en cámaras – The fruit and vegetables haven’t spent so long in refrigerators
Un limón – A lemon
Un aguacate – An avocado
Una berenjena – An Eggplant/Aubergine
Un calabacín – A zucchini/courgette
Una manzana – An apple
Una calabaza – A squash/pumpkin
Lo tengo en la punta de la lengua – It’s on the tip of my toungue
Un plátano (de Canarias!) – A banana (from the Canary Islands!)
Están super ricos – They are really nice/tasty
Una mandarina – A mandarin/tangerine
Una Clementina – A Clementine
Una nuez – A walnut
Un cascanueces – A nut cracker
Un cazo – A ladle
Un mortero – Pestle and Mortar
Una cabeza de ajos – A bulb of garlic
Un diente de ajo – A clove of garlic
¡Tampoco te pases! – Don’t go over the top!

And finally, Marina rembered a typical Spanish phrase with apples:

¡Estoy mas sana que una manzana! – I’m really healthy!

More Great Spanish Learning Resources…

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