Useful words & phrases for the oral

Bueno… (well)


¿Cómo? (pardon?/what?)

¿Podría repetir la pregunta? (Could you repeat the question?)

¿Podría decirme la pregunta de otra manera? (Could you rephrase the question?)

No entiendo. (I don’t understand – only use this if you are feeling a little desperate!)

No sé… (I don’t know) Drag this out – no sééééé (sounds like [say])- so that it is clear that you are pondering the answer to a thought-provoking question, not that you don’t understand what has been asked.

La verdad es que… (The truth is that..)

Es que…(Literally = it’s that…) This is used all the time in Spanish – just pop it on at the start of a sentence. It’s similar to saying “It’s just that…” and may be used as a sort of explanatory introductory phrase.

Ah…sí (Ah, yes) Use this to buy yourself time, or to show you have understood the question. Draw it out a little, like the No sé: Aaaah. síííí.

Ah…no. Self explanatory, I hope!

Ah…claro. (Ah, of course.)

Claro que no. (Of course not.)

Desde luego = Por supuesto (of course) It’s nice to use more than just “Claro” in your conversation.

Ojalá (If only/I wish.) If you use this at the start of a sentence, the next verb must be in the subjunctive, but you can use it as a stand-alone as well.

Ya veremos. (We’ll see.)

Por ejemplo. (For example.) Use this to explain, clarify and extend your answer.

Y ya está. (And that’s it/all.) Useful at the end of a list eg of subjects/facilities at your school/what your uniform consists of etc to signal that you have finished talking about that point.

Y nada más. (As above, though it literally means And nothing more.)

También. (as well)

Tampoco. (the opposite of también.) Use it to say what you don’t like either.

Remember that most languages function in similar ways. Think of how your own native language works and try to transfer some of that to Spanish eg someone asks you a question which you don’t immediately catch, but which you then register. Your immediate reply might be “What? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. No.”

That’s a perfectly standard response to someone asking you if you really do love Brussel Sprouts (por ejemplo)! It’d work in Spanish too, though possibly more like “¿Cómo? Ah, vale, vale. ¡No!”

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