Spanish Phrases and Spanish Words That are Useful in Ecuador

There are a number of invaluable Spanish phrases that will help you navigate your way around Ecuador more easily, as well as numerous Spanish words that you can quickly pick up because they are so similar to English.

The official language of Ecuador is Spanish, although most of the indigenous Indians speak Quechua or Quichua as their first language and Spanish second.  Spanish phrases are easy to learn and there are numerous Ecuador Spanish schools where you can take lessons, some that include immersion with local families so that you become more fluent more quickly.  Learn Spanish in Ecuador because immersion is the fastest way to learn and you will soon be speaking Spanish phrases like a native!

Spanish Phrases: Spanish Pronunciation

There are plenty of rules to help assist your learning experience.  Spanish is a logical language and the words are pronounced exactly as they look, letter by letter.

Many Spanish sounds are similar to those in English, but there are 3 letters in Spanish that don’t occur in English.  The “ch” came after “c,” the “ll” followed “l” and “n” with an accent over it, as in “nino,” came after “n” in the alphabet.  They were abolished in the 1990’s, but newer Spanish dictionaries list them.  If you can’t find a “ch” name in the phone book, look under the “c’s.”

Vowels are the same letters as in English:  a, e, i, o, u, but all are pronounced differently than in English, except for the “o,” which is pronounced the same.  If you memorize the pronunciation of each vowel you will move ahead greatly in your proficiency, because they always pronounce exactly the same sound.   Learning the sounds of the vowels is a primary key to learning and speaking Spanish.
    A = ah, as in “nada”
    E = ey, as in “padre”
    I = ee, as in “peanut”
    O= oh, as in “como”
    U= oo, as in “mucho gusto”

Spanish Phrases: Accents

Accents are important in Spanish.  Changing where the stress occurs in a word can change the entire meaning of the word.  There are 3 ways to identify the correct way to emphasize a syllable:

  • There will be a stress mark on the accented vowel.
  • If the word ends with a vowel, an ‘n’ or an ‘s,’ the stress is on the next-to-the-last syllable. 
  • In all other cases, the accent falls on the last syllable, as in catedral (cathedral).               

Spanish Phrases: Days of the Week

Monday          el lunes 
Tuesday         el martes
Wednesday    el miercoles
Thursday       el jueves
Friday            el viernes
Saturday       el sabado
Sunday          el domingo

Days of the week are not capitalized and usually start with “el”, which translates as “on.”

Spanish Phrases: Months of the Year

January           enero
February         febrero
March              marzo
April                 abril
May                 mayo
June                junio
July                 julio
August            agosto
September      septiembre
October          octubre
November       noviembre
December       diciembre

Spanish Phrases: Directions

North            norte
South           sur
East              este
West             oeste

Spanish Phrases: Other Directions

To the right        a la derecha
To the left          a la izquierda
Straight             derecho
In front of          en frente de
In back of          atras de
Under                 abajo de
Above                arriba de
On top of           encima de
Between            entre
Inside of            dentro de
Near                  cerca de
Far                    lejos

Spanish Phrases: Time

What time is it?        Que hora es?  (h is silent)
Son las. . .                It is. . .
Tres                          three o’clock
Ocho y diez              ten past eight
Dos y media              half past two
This morning             esta mañana
In the afternoon       en la tarde
In the evening          en la noche
Today                        hoy
Yesterday                 ayer
Tomorrow                  mañana
Tomorrow morning    mañana en la mañana

Spanish Phrases: Numbers

1    uno
2    dos
3    tres
4    cuatro
5    cinco
6    seis
7    siete
8    ocho 
9    nueve 
10   diez

11    once
12    doce    
13    trece
14    catorce
15    quince
16    dieciseis
17    diecisiete
18    dieciocho
19    diecinueve

20    veinte, veinte y uno, veinte y dos . . .
30    treinta, treinta y uno. . .    
40    cuarenta, cuarenta y uno . . .
50    cincuenta, cincuenta y uno . . .
60    sesenta, sesenta y uno . . .
70    setenta, setenta y uno . . .
80    ochenta, ochenta y uno. . .
90    noventa, noventa y uno . . .
100  cien
101  ciento uno
150  ciento cincuenta

200    doscientos
300    trescientos
400    cuatrocientos
500    quinientos
600    seiscientos
700    setecientos
800    ochocientos
900    novecientos
1000    mil

Useful Spanish Words, Spanish Phrases And Spanish Sayings

Introductions, Niceties and Greetings

Good morning (before noon)              Buenos dias
Good afternoon (before sunset)        Buenas tardes
Good evening/night (after sunset)    Buenas noches
Hello                                                    Hola  (h is silent, becomes ola)
Goodbye                                             Chao    
Please                                                 Por favor
Thank you                                          Gracias
You’re welcome                                  De nada
Congratulations                                  Felicidades
I’m sorry                                              Lo siento
Excuse me                                           Disculpe/perdon
Excuse me, when pushing past          Permiso/con permiso
Come in                                               Adelante
What is your name?                           ¿Como se llama?  
My name is ___                                  Me llamo . . .  (I call myself…..)
I don’t know                                       No se
Pleased to meet you                          Mucho gusto
How are you?                                    ¿Como esta?
Very well                                           Muy bien
See you later                                    Hasta luego
I don’t understand                            No entiendo
Please repeat                                    Repita,  (ray-peeta) por favor
To your health                                  Salud
Enjoy your meal                                Buen provecho
(this is also said to other diners in a restaurant as you pass their table)
Can you help me?                             ¿Puede atenderme?
How do you say. . .?                        ¿Como se dice. . .?

Spanish Phrases: Other Useful Spanish Words

Yes               si                          And              y        
No                 no                         Or                o        
With             con                        But              pero        
Without        sin                         Because      porque        
Before          antes                     Of, from       de                
After            despues de            In, on, at     en
Here             aqui                       On, about     sobre
There           alli or alla               A little of     Un poco (de)    
Mas              more                      Enough        suficiente
Menos          less                        Too much    demasiado
Now             ahora                     Open           abierto/a
Right now    ahorita                   Closed        cerrado/a
Soon            pronto 

More Spanish Phrases

I don’t like it.                     No me gusta.
They took my money.       Se me llevaron el dinero
They took my passport.    Se me llevaron el pasaporte.
I have been robbed.          Me han robado.
Robber.                              Ladron.
Help me.                            Ayudeme.
Police                                 policia
Hospital                              hospital
I do not feel well.               Me siento mal.
I have fever.                      Tengo fiebre.
Please write that down.    Por favor escribado.

Spanish Phrases: Gender

In Spanish, nouns are either feminine or masculine, so a book is referred to as a ‘he’ and a table is a ‘she.’  Most of the time you can tell whether a word is feminine or masculine by looking at its ending.

Nouns that end with ‘o,’ ‘e,’ ‘ma,’ ‘el,’ ‘al,’ ‘ente,’ ‘ador,’ or ‘or’ are usually masculine while those ending with ‘a,’ ‘ion,’ ‘tad,’ ‘tud,’ ‘umbre’ or ‘dad’ are usually feminine.

Masculine-                  Feminine-
El melon                      La leccion (lesson)
El sombrero                 La tortilla

Spanish Phrases: Some Helpful Verbs

Ayudar            to help
Bailar              to dance
Cambiar           to change, as money
Caminar           to walk
Cerrar              to close
Cocinar            to cook
Comprar          to buy
Dar                  to give
Escuchar         to listen to
Estar               to be (temporary, location)
Estudiar           to study
Fumar             to smoke
Gastar             to spend, waste
Hablar             to speak
Invitar             to invite
Lavar              to wash
Mandar           to mail
Necesitar        to need
Ordenar          to order
Olvidar           to forget
Pagar             to pay
Pensar            to think
Platicar           to chat
Preguntar        to ask, question
Preparar         to prepare
Presentar        to introduce
Recomendar    to recommend
Recordar         to remember
Regresar         to return
Terminar         to end
Tomar             to drink
Trabajar          to work
Usar               to use
Viajar             to travel
Visitar            to visit

Spanish Phrases: Pronouns

I     =    yo                     Nosotros = we
You(personal) = tu
He = el                          Ellos = they (m)
She = ella                     Ellas = they (f)
You (formal) = usted    Ustedes = you all

In Spanish these pronouns are often left out because the verb endings indicate the subject.

The personal you, ‘tu,’ is used with:
People you know well, who are on equal terms with you, younger than you or share a level of intimacy with you.

The formal you, ‘usted,’ is used with:
People you don’t know well, who have authority over you, who are older than you or with whom you have no level of intimacy.

You probably won’t offend people in Ecuador if you use the wrong Spanish word for ‘you.’  Ecuadorians usually appreciate the fact that you are attempting to speak their language!

Use ‘usted,’ in business to be safe and to show respect.

Women should not use the personal ‘tu,’ with a man until she knows him well because a man in Ecuador might misinterpret the informal use of you as an invitation to become intimate!

Mr.  =  Senor
Mrs. = Senora
Miss = Senorita

Spanish Phrases: Communication

I don’t speak Spanish            No hablo espanol.
I understand.                        Entiendo.
I don’t understand.               No entiendo.
Do you understand?              ¿Entiende usted?
What did you say?                 ¿Mande?
Please speak more slowly.     Por favor hable mas despacio.
What does it mean?              ¿Que significa?
Do you speak English?          ¿Habla ingles?
Where?                                  ¿Donde?
When?                                   ¿Cuando?
What?                                   ¿Que?
Which?                                  ¿Cual?
Who?                                     ¿Quien?
Why?                                     ¿Por que?
How much?                           ¿Cuanto?
How many?                           ¿Cuantos?

Spanish Words for Transportation

Plane               avion
Train                tren
Bus                   bus/ autobus/camioneta
Small bus         collective
Ship                 barco
Boat                 lancha
Car                   carro/auto
Taxi                  taxi
Truck                camion
Pickup truck     camioneta
Bicycle              bicicleta
Motorcycle       motocicleta
Trolley              trole
Airport              aeropuerto
Bus stop            parade
Bus terminal      terminal de buses/terminal terrestre
Train station     estacion de ferrocarril
City                    cuidad
Town                 pueblo
Village                pueblo
Freeway            autopista
Tourist office    oficina de turismo
Gas station        bomba de gasoline
Police station     estacion de policia
Embassy             embajada
Consulate           consulada
Bank                    banco
Public toilet         bano publico/servicio higienico
Men’s toilet         hombres, caballeros, varones
Women’s toilet    senoras, damas, mujeres

Let’s Go Shopping in Ecuador

Shop                   almacen/tienda
Shopping center    centro commercial
Price                   precio
Coin                    moneda
Money                 dinero/plata
Cash                   efectivo
Credit card         tarjeta de credito
Check                 cheque
Small                   pequeno
Large                  grande
Discount              descuento
Inexpensive         barato
Expensive            caro


Post office               correo
Letter                       carta
Postcard                   postal
Airmail                      correo aereo
Parcel                       paquete
Stamps                     estampillas
Email                         correo electronico
Public telephone       telefono publico
Telephone number    numero telefonico
Phonecard                tarjeta telefonica
International call      llamada internacional
Busy                          ocupado
Don’t hang up           No cuelgue

Hotels and Accommodations

May I see the room?    Puedo ver la habitacion? ("d" is pronounced as "th" in though)
What does it cost?        Cuanto cuesta?
Is breakfast included?   Incluye el desayuno?
Hotel                              hotel/ hospedaje
Room                              habitacion
Single room                    habitacion sencilla
Double room                  habitacion doble
Bed                                cama
Double bed                    cama matrimonial
Shower                          ducha
Toilet/bath                    bano
Sink                               lavabo
Per night                       por noche
Air conditioning             aire acondicionado
The bill                          la cuenta
Key                                llave
Soap                              jabon
Sheets                          sabanas
Pillow                             almohada
Blanket                          cobija
Towel                            toalla
Toilet paper                  papel higienico
Cold                              frio
Hot                               caliente
Clean                            limpio
Dirty                             sucio
Quiet                            tranquilo

Ecuadorian Edibles

Juice             jugo
Meat             carne
Vegetables     vegetales/legubres
Bread            pan
Cheese          queso
Water           agua
Pure water    agua purificada
Coffee          café
Tea               te
Beer              cerveza
Seafood        mariscos
Fish              pescado
Apple            manzana
Banana         banana
Blackberry     mora
Strawberry    fresa
Chicken         pollo
Cantalope      melon
Carrot           zanahoria
Corn              maiz
Cucumber       pepino
Lettuce           lechuga
Orange           naranja
Pineapple        pina
Potato            papa
Tomato           tomate
Watermelon     sandia
Butter             mantequilla
Honey             miel
Cream             crema
Egg                 huevo
Salt                 sal
Pepper            pimiento
Sugar              azucar
Ice cream        helado
Milk                leche
Ice                 hielo
Wine               vino
Cake               pastel
Breakfast         desayuno
Lunch              almuerzo
Dinner              cena
Dessert            postre

The Kitchen

Oven              horno
Refrigerator    refrigerador
Plate              plato
Glass             vaso
Cup               taza
Fork              tenedor
Knife             cuchillo
Spoon            cuchara


Bakery         panaderia
Bookstore     libreria
Hardware     ferreteria
Gallery        galleria
Jewelry       joyeria
Laundry       lavaderia
Market        mercado
Pharmacy    farmacia
Restaurant   restaurante
Shoe store   zapateria
Workshop    taller
Store          tienda
Cinema       cine
House         casa
School        escuela

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