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High Frequency Words in Spanish

The top 50 words in Spanish

These are the essential words that you need to know if you are learning Spanish seriously.

This is the the definitive list of the High Frequency Words in Spanish – the top 50

And…..

…. no ifs, no buts!

These words form the bedrock of your Spanish language learning journey.

They are the foundations.

Some are small little fiddly words – but these are the key to making good progress.

Know them, and know them well!

…..and you will jump start your Spanish.

And, here they are, in descending order numbers 1 to 10 of the High Frequency Words in Spanish – the top 50.

Click on the links for a full discussion of each of these key words.

El – the most frequent word in Spanish (#1)

 

De – the second most frequent word in Spanish (#2)

 

Que – the third most frequent word in Spanish (#3)

 

Y – the fourth most frequent word in Spanish (#4)

 

A – the fifth most frequent word in Spanish (#5)

 

En – the sixth most frequent word in Spanish (#6)

 

Un – the seventh most common word in Spanish (#7)

 

Ser – the eighth most common word in Spanish (#8)

 

Se – the ninth most frequent word in Spanish (#9)

 

No – the tenth most common word in Spanish (#10)

 

And, here they are in descending order, numbers 11 to 19 of the High Frequency Words in Spanish – the top 50.

 



 

Haber – the eleventh most common word in Spanish (#11)

 

Por – the twelfth most common word in Spanish (#12)

 

Con – the thirteenth most common word in Spanish (#13)

 

Su – the fourteenth most common word in Spanish (#14)

 

Para – the fifteenth most common word in Spanish (#15)

 

Como – the sixteenth most common word in Spanish (#16)

 

Estar – the seventeenth most common word in Spanish (#17)

 

Tener – the eighteenth most common word in Spanish (#18)

 

Le – the nineteenth most common word in Spanish (#19)

 



 

And, here they are in descending order, numbers 21 to 30 of the High Frequency Words in Spanish – the top 50.

 

Todo – the twenty first most common word in Spanish(#21)

 

Pero – the twenty second most common word in Spanish(#22)

 

Mas – the twenty third most common word in Spanish(#23)

 

Hacer – the twenty fourth most common word in Spanish(#24)

 

O – the twenty fifth most common word in Spanish(#25)

 

Poder – the twenty sixth most common word in Spanish(#26)

 

Decir – the twenty seventh most common word in Spanish(#27)

 

Este – the twenty eighth most common word in Spanish(#28)

 

Ir the twenty ninth most common word in Spanish(#29)

 

Otro – The thirtieth most common word in Spanish(#30)

 



 

And, here they are in descending order, numbers 31 to 40 of the High Frequency Words in Spanish – the top 50.

 

Ese – The thirty first most common word in Spanish(#31)

 

La – The thirty second most common word in Spanish (#32)

 

Si – The thirty third most common word in Spanish (#33)

 

Me – The thirty fourth most common word in Spanish (#34)

 

Ya – The thirty fifth most common word in Spanish (#35)

 

VER – The thirty sixth most common word in Spanish (#36)

 

Porque – The thirty seventh most common word in Spanish (#37)

 

Dar – The thirty eighth most common word in Spanish (#38)

 

Cuando – The thirty ninth most common word in Spanish (#39)

 

El / Él – The fortieth most common word in Spanish (#40)

 



 

And, here they are in descending order, numbers 41 to 50 of the High Frequency Words in Spanish – the top 50.

 

Muy – The forty first most common word in Spanish (#41)

 

Sin – The forty second most common word in Spanish (#42)

 

Vez – The forty third most common word in Spanish (#43)

 

Mucho – The forty fourth most common word in Spanish (#44)

 

Saber – The forty fifth most common word in Spanish (#45)

 

Qué – The forty sixth most common word in Spanish (#46)

 

Sobre – The forty seventh most common word in Spanish (#47)

 

Mi – The forty eighth most common word in Spanish (#48)

 

Alguno – The forty ninth most common word in Spanish (#49)

 

Mismo – The fiftieth most common word in Spanish (#50)

 

 

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querer

QUERER is the fifty-sixth most common word in the Spanish language.

QUERER is an irregular verb in some tenses and, in the present tense, it is a radical changing verb.

“Quiero” means I love or I want. Technically speaking, this is the first person singular of the present tense. The first “e” from querer has been changed to “ie“. This is what is known as the radical change.

“Quise” means I loved or I wanted. Technically speaking this is the first person singular, preterite tense. In the preterite or past tense, the verb is irregular, meaning that it does not follow the normal grammatical pattern.

The fact that QUERER can mean “to want” and “to love” can seem to be quite odd to the English speaker. My Collins Spanish – English dictionary explains that when the verb is followed by a person it means ” to love”.  When it is followed by an object it means “to want”. Notwithstanding this, is there some cross-over in the Spanish speaker’s mind between wanting and loving? This is not the place to discuss this any further, but it is an interesting point.

Here are two examples of uses of parts of the QUERER. One example illustrates the use meaning love,  and one, the use meaning want.

Te quiero – I love you.

Quiero una casa moderna – I want a modern house

Here then is a tale of two meanings – “to want” or “to love”. QUERER , the fifty sixth most common word in the Spanish language encapsulates them both.

dos

Dos is the fifty-fifth most common word in the Spanish language.

Dos is, in technical grammatical terms, is a cardinal numeral and an ordinal numeral. So, let’s unpack what these terms mean.

Firstly, dos can be translated into English as either “two” or “second”. When dos means “two”, it is a cardinal numeral. When dos means “second”, it is an ordinal numeral.

Here are etwo xamples of dos as a cardinal

dos más dos son cuatro = two and two are four

uno, dos, tres, cuatro = one, two, three, four

An example of dos as an ordinal

el dos de mayo = the second of May

dos de mayo

This picture is the “Dos de mayo” by Goya.

It hangs in the Prado in Madrid.

 

 

Dos, as the fifty-fifth most frequently used in Spanish, is a tale of two numbers, a cardinal and an ordinal. The same word in Spanish, different words in English – this is the beauty and interest of studying a language.

ano

 

AÑO is the fifty-fourth most common word in the Spanish language.

AÑO is a masculine noun, linked into the English word, annual, and anniversary, amongst others; in other words, something related to the English word year.

Indeed, the word AÑO means “year”.

One of the first idiomatic phrases that Spanish students learn is “tengo…años“. This is translated into English as “I am…years old” whereas the Spanish is literally saying “I have … years”.

This brings me to the question of the importance of accents in Spanish. If a ten year old says, or writes, “tengo … anos” i.e. without the tilde (the accent on the n), he or she is saying that he or she has, not to put too fine a point on it, ten anuses ( or should that be ani?). Moral of the story – beware the accent!

Here are a couple of examples of the use of año

1. As above – tengo veinticinco años – I am 25 years old

2. El año próximo voy a ir a España Next year I am going to go to Spain.

The moral of the story here then is to be very careful with your accents!  AÑO is the fifty-fourth most frequently used word in Spanish.

 

 

hasta

Hasta is the fifty-third most common word in the Spanish language.

This two-syllable is a preposition.

My Collins Spanish – English dictionary gives a number of differing translations, and the best, to my mind , are “until” or “to”.

Of course, this word is best known to Anglo-Saxon ears, in the expression made (in)famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger, “hasta la vista, baby”. I must confess to not having seen the film that the expression is from, but it has formed a prominent part in my Spanish lessons (especially amongst adolescent boys) when the  hasta la vista expression cropped up.

Hasta la vista literally means “until the sight” … but is perhaps rendered best into English as “see you soon”.

Here are two examples of the use of hasta

Hasta martes – see you on Tuesday (literally “until Tuesday”)

trabajo desde las nueve hasta las cinco – I work nine to five

Hasta then is the 53rd most frequently used word in the Spanish language. ¡Hasta pronto, amigos!

tambien

También is the fifty-second most common word in the Spanish language.

The three syllable word is an adverb.

My Collins Spanish – English dictionary gives three short expressions in English as possible translations – “too”, “as well” , and “also”.

The online DICCIONARIO DE LA LENGUA ESPAÑOLA reveals that también is a fusion on the words tan (so) and bien (well). The diccionario (click here for the entry on también http://lema.rae.es/drae/?val=yo) is a tremendous resource for all students, especially with advanced students who really want to get to grips with the language.

Here are two exemples of the use of también.

voy a ir al café también – I am going to go to the café as well

me gusta jugar al fútbol también – I like to play football as well

There it is the fifty-second most frequently used word in the Spanish language – también.

ego

Yo is the fifty-first most common word in the Spanish language.

The monosyllable Yo is a personal pronoun.

My Collins Spanish – English gives a crisp and short section on the meanings and definition of the word.

Yo means “I”. It comes from the latin word “ego”, which, of course, has its related words egotistical and other connected root words in English.

Here are a couple of examples of the use of  yo.

Pablo y  yo no vamos a ir – Pablo and I are not going to go

El  yo – in psychology, this means the ego.

A short, sharp and crisp post to reflect the monosyllabic nature of the fifty-first most frequently use word in the Spanish language yo.

mismo

Mismo is the fiftieth most common word in the Spanish language.

I am so pleased to have reached the 50th podcast on this blog and I have enjoyed the journey! I can also see that hits and views of the podcasts are on the rise. Thank you for your support!

Yes I’m now half way towards my aim of one hundred podcasts on the topic of the most frequently used words in Spanish. And, that feels good! Some six weeks ago I began this task with some trepidation. Now, I am well on the way!

I mentioned when I hit the 25th broadcast that doing this series of podcasts was something like learning a language – it certainly is. When learning a language you are continuously absorbing new material. Whenever I read or listen to Spanish or French, I’m constantly aware of,  and, indeed, am reminded of, new contexts and new words. It is in this way that the learning a foreign language never stops, and, that is one of its delights.

So, if you’re just starting out learning a language – stick at it. If you done a little bit, also stick at it and put yourself out just a little bit more. What did I hear at the gym once…!

So, let’s return to the 50th most common word in the Spanish language. That word is mismo.

Mismo is both an adjective and an adverb.

For those people who speak a little French, the French word même is in fact the same word as mismo. The circumflex on the E is just showing the missing S. Whilst, I am hesitant to make this into a French lesson, another example of this forest (la forêt).

My reliable Collins English Spanish dictionary has quite a range of translations, and the best translations to commit to memory are is “same” or “self”.

Here are two examples of this type of use.

Vivo en la misma calle – I live in the same street (change to misma because calle is feminine).

yo mismo – I myself

Well that’s half a century done and half a century to go! Bring it on ! (as some of my students might say).

Mismo then is the 50th most common word in the Spanish language and this two syllable word marks the half way stage in the journey to the 100 most common words in the Spanish language.

alguno

Alguno is the 49th most common word in the Spanish language.

The trisyllable is both an adjective and a pronoun.

My Collins English – Spanish dictionary has a number of different translation possibilities, but the best translation is “some” or “any”.

Here are a couple of examples of its use.

Algunas naranjas – some oranges (changed from alguno to algunas because naranjas is feminine plural)

Algunos chicos – some boys (changed from alguno to algunos because chicos is masculine plural)

To conclude, alguno is the 49th most common word in the Spanish language.