Spanish Courtesy
Language Resources

Courtesy / La courtesía

Expressions of courtesy are constantly used in daily life, at many different times and in many different situations. We could even say that they are the first words which are used upon arriving in a new country, as you have to start getting around from the beginning and asking strangers for help, such as taxi drivers or attendants at the airport. Therefore, although the words and phrases that fall into this category may be few in number, it is essential that you know them well enough to make sure that you get off to a good start wherever you are going. After all, as they say, politeness costs nothing – but it is worth a great deal! It will also help you to make a very good impression right from the very start with those who are around you.

These are the main expressions of courtesy which Spanish speakers use in their day to day lives and which may be repeated many times a day just as a matter of casual conversation or interaction. As you can see, they are the simplest ones to use but they will be essential in all the situations in which you find yourself from one day to the next. It does not matter if it is simply in a bakery ordering which cake you would like and then thanking the person who passes it to you, thanking someone who has held the door open for you and who you have never met before, or in an important work meeting where it is important to put your best foot forward and be as courteous as possible; it is always a good idea to know these expressions.

One of the things that you might wish to do early on if you know that you are going to need to start using Spanish before you are fully well versed in it is to remember these phrases – so that you can apologise if you do not know what someone is saying to you or how to reply, so that you can request them politely to talk slower or more clearly, and so that you can thank them if they help you out and make it possible for you to get what you are looking for. You can also get someone’s attention if you need assistance such as directions by using these phrases, so all in all they are certainly going to be very useful to you at the start of your stay in Spain or a Spanish speaking country for your language course. Take a look at the table that we have listed below and all of the information that is on it, and make sure that you take as much time as possible to learn and memorise these phrases so that you can use them as soon as you need to do so.

Please.Por favor.
Thank you. Gracias.
You're welcome. De nada.
Excuse me. Con permiso.
Excuse me. Perdón.
It doesn't matter. No importa.