Top Spanish Phrases: Essential Everyday Language Chunks

Gordon Feliz • Updated Feb 19th, 2024

chunking method Spanish conversation

One of the keys to fluency is mastering common word chunks – those phrases we use all the time without thinking. In English, we say things like "I think that" or "in my opinion" quite often. Spanish has its own set of these handy phrases, and learning them can significantly boost your conversational skills.


Lo que (Whatever/What)

Meaning: "Lo que" is used to refer to 'whatever' or 'what' in a general sense.

Example: "Lo que necesitas es paciencia" (What you need is patience).


Creo que (I think that)

Meaning: Expressing an opinion or belief.

Example: "Creo que va a llover hoy" (I think it's going to rain today).


Tal vez (Maybe)

Meaning: Indicating a possibility or uncertainty.

Example: "Tal vez vaya al cine más tarde" (Maybe I'll go to the cinema later).


Por supuesto (Of course)

Meaning: Expressing agreement or confirmation.

Example: "Por supuesto que puedes acompañarme" (Of course you can come with me).


A lo mejor (Perhaps/Maybe)

Meaning: Similar to "tal vez," but often used in a slightly different context.

Example: "A lo mejor podemos ir mañana" (Perhaps we can go tomorrow).


Es decir (That is/I mean)

Meaning: Used to clarify or rephrase something.

Example: "Vamos al parque, es decir, si no llueve" (We're going to the park, that is, if it doesn't rain).


En cuanto a (Regarding/As for)

Meaning: Used to shift the focus to another topic or subject.

Example: "En cuanto a la reunión, será el jueves" (As for the meeting, it will be on Thursday).


Sin embargo (However)

Meaning: Used to introduce a contrast or opposition.

Example: "Quiero ir, sin embargo, tengo mucho trabajo" (I want to go, however, I have a lot of work).


Además de (In addition to)

Meaning: Indicating an addition or extra information.

Example: "Además de español, también hablo francés" (In addition to Spanish, I also speak French).


A pesar de (Despite)

Meaning: Used to express a contradiction.

Example: "A pesar de la lluvia, fuimos a caminar" (Despite the rain, we went for a walk).


Así que (So/Therefore)

Meaning: Used to indicate a consequence or result.

Example: "Estaba cerrado, así que volvimos a casa" (It was closed, so we returned home).


Aunque (Although/Even though)

Meaning: Used to introduce a contrast or exception.

Example: "Aunque llueva, iré al parque" (Even though it's raining, I'll go to the park).


Hasta que (Until)

Meaning: Used to indicate a time frame or limit.

Example: "Esperaré aquí hasta que llegues" (I'll wait here until you arrive).


Antes de (Before)

Meaning: Used to talk about something that happens prior to something else.

Example: "Antes de salir, apaga las luces" (Before leaving, turn off the lights).


Después de (After)

Meaning: Indicates what happens following an event or action.

Example: "Después de comer, fuimos al cine" (After eating, we went to the cinema).


En lugar de (Instead of)

Meaning: Used to suggest an alternative.

Example: "En lugar de tomar el bus, caminamos" (Instead of taking the bus, we walked).


Debido a (Due to/Because of)

Meaning: Indicates the reason or cause of something.

Example: "Debido a la tormenta, se canceló el vuelo" (Due to the storm, the flight was canceled).


Por eso (That's why/Therefore)

Meaning: Used to explain the reason behind a conclusion.

Example: "No estudiamos, por eso reprobamos el examen" (We didn't study, that's why we failed the exam).


Aparte de (Apart from/Besides)

Meaning: Indicates an addition or exception.

Example: "Aparte de español, hablo inglés" (Apart from Spanish, I speak English).


A causa de (Because of)

Meaning: Similar to "debido a", it indicates causation.

Example: "A causa de la huelga, el tren no funcionará" (Because of the strike, the train won't operate).

Spanish learning with chunks
Puede que (It may be that)

Meaning: Used to express possibility or uncertainty.

Example: "Puede que venga mañana" (It may be that he/she comes tomorrow).


No solo... sino también (Not only... but also)

Meaning: Used to add information emphatically.

Example: "No solo es inteligente, sino también amable" (Not only is he/she intelligent, but also kind).


Tengo que (I have to)

Meaning: Expressing obligation or necessity.

Example: "Tengo que terminar mi tarea" (I have to finish my homework).


Estoy de acuerdo (I agree)

Meaning: Expressing agreement with someone.

Example: "Estoy de acuerdo contigo" (I agree with you).


Me parece que (It seems to me that)

Meaning: Expressing an opinion or impression.

Example: "Me parece que va a llover" (It seems to me that it's going to rain).


Ten en cuenta que (Keep in mind that)

Meaning: Used to point out something important or to consider.

Example: "Ten en cuenta que el museo cierra temprano" (Keep in mind that the museum closes early).


Hay que (One must/It's necessary to)

Meaning: Impersonal expression to indicate necessity or obligation.

Example: "Hay que estudiar para el examen" (One must study for the exam).


Me gustaría (I would like)

Meaning: Expressing a polite desire or preference.

Example: "Me gustaría pedir una pizza" (I would like to order a pizza).


Siempre que (As long as/Whenever)

Meaning: Setting a condition or time for an action.

Example: "Siempre que estudies, aprobarás" (As long as you study, you will pass).


Por lo menos (At least)

Meaning: Indicating a minimum or the least that can be expected.

Example: "Llega a las cinco, por lo menos" (Arrive by five, at least).


En vez de (Instead of)

Meaning: Used to suggest an alternative.

Example: "En vez de café, tomé té" (Instead of coffee, I drank tea).


Por otro lado (On the other hand)

Meaning: Used to introduce a contrasting point.

Example: "Me gusta el verano, pero por otro lado, el calor puede ser excesivo" (I like summer, but on the other hand, the heat can be excessive).


En cuanto a (Regarding/As for)

Meaning: Used to shift the focus to another subject.

Example: "En cuanto a la cena, prefiero pasta" (As for dinner, I prefer pasta).


Por cierto (By the way)

Meaning: Used to introduce a new topic or an aside.

Example: "Por cierto, ¿cómo estuvo la reunión?" (By the way, how was the meeting?).


Al menos (At least)

Meaning: Used to indicate a minimum or something positive in a negative situation.

Example: "Perdimos el juego, pero al menos lo intentamos" (We lost the game, but at least we tried).


A fin de cuentas (In the end/After all)

Meaning: Used to sum up or conclude a point.

Example: "A fin de cuentas, la decisión es tuya" (In the end, the decision is yours).


Es más (Moreover/Furthermore)

Meaning: Used to add more information.

Example: "Es un buen libro; es más, diría que es el mejor que he leído" (It's a good book; moreover, I would say it's the best I've read).


Por lo general (Generally)

Meaning: Referring to what usually happens.

Example: "Por lo general, me levanto temprano" (Generally, I wake up early).


En otras palabras (In other words)

Meaning: Used to clarify or rephrase.

Example: "Es muy caro; en otras palabras, no puedo comprarlo" (It's very expensive; in other words, I can't afford it).


Por lo tanto (Therefore)

Meaning: Used to introduce a logical conclusion.

Example: "No estudiamos; por lo tanto, no pasamos el examen" (We didn't study; therefore, we didn't pass the exam).

Language Learning Exercises To Practice The Phrases Above


Translate the following Spanish sentences into English:

"Lo que más me gusta de los fines de semana es poder relajarme."

"Creo que hoy será un buen día para empezar un nuevo proyecto."

"Tal vez deberíamos considerar otras opciones."

"Por supuesto, puedes contar conmigo para el evento."

"A lo mejor podemos ir al parque si el tiempo lo permite."

"Es decir, no estuvo tan mal como pensaba."

"En cuanto a tu pregunta, te responderé pronto."

"Sin embargo, hay que tener en cuenta todos los detalles."

"Además de inglés, también hablo un poco de italiano."

"A pesar de la lluvia, el concierto fue increíble."


Translate the following English sentences into Spanish:

"As for the movie, I think it was quite interesting."

"Maybe we can go out for dinner tonight, if you like."

"In addition to yoga, she also enjoys running."

"However, we need to finish our work first."

"Despite the cold weather, they decided to go hiking."

"That is, I didn't completely understand the explanation."

"Of course, I'll help you with your Spanish homework."

"Whatever happens, we'll handle it together."

"I think it's going to rain, so bring an umbrella."

"Perhaps we should wait a little longer before making a decision."


Answer Key


Translations from Spanish to English:

"What I like most about weekends is being able to relax."

"I think today will be a good day to start a new project."

"Maybe we should consider other options."

"Of course, you can count on me for the event."

"Perhaps we can go to the park if the weather permits."

"That is, it wasn't as bad as I thought."

"Regarding your question, I will respond soon."

"However, we have to take all the details into account."

"In addition to English, I also speak a little Italian."

"Despite the rain, the concert was amazing."


Translations from English to Spanish:

"En cuanto a la película, creo que fue bastante interesante."

"Tal vez podamos salir a cenar esta noche, si te apetece."

"Además de yoga, también disfruta correr."

"Sin embargo, necesitamos terminar nuestro trabajo primero."

"A pesar del frío, decidieron ir de excursión."

"Es decir, no entendí completamente la explicación."

"Por supuesto, te ayudaré con tu tarea de español."

"Lo que pase, lo manejaremos juntos."

"Creo que va a llover, así que lleva un paraguas."

"A lo mejor deberíamos esperar un poco más antes de tomar una decisión."

Chunking common Spanish words
Additional Resources To Learn More


Learn Spanish Fast: Key Phrases for Travelers

If you're planning to travel to Spanish-speaking countries, this article is a must-read. It provides essential phrases and practical language tips to help travelers communicate effectively and navigate different situations.


Speak Like a Local: Common Spanish Slang Words and Phrases

Dive into the informal side of Spanish with this guide on slang words and phrases. It's an excellent resource for those looking to understand colloquial speech and sound more like a native speaker.


Spanish Conversation: 103 Essential Phrases And Chunks: This resource from Effortless Conversations provides a comprehensive list of essential Spanish phrases and chunks, perfect for everyday conversation. It covers basic questions, responses, and phrases for various situations, including greetings and farewells. This can be particularly helpful for understanding how to form questions and respond in Spanish using common word chunks.


Chunking: A Powerful Language Learning Hack: Spanish Hackers offers an insightful guide on the chunking technique, which involves learning phrases and their meanings without focusing heavily on grammar. This method can accelerate your conversational skills in Spanish by allowing you to use phrases naturally in conversation. It's a great resource for those who want to speak Spanish more fluently without getting bogged down by the intricacies of grammar.

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