Tag Archives: high frequency words in Spanish


Porque is the thirty-seventh most common word in the Spanish language.

Porque without an accent means, quite simply, “because” in English.So this is one word in all – not two. This can cause confusion for foreigners writing in Spanish – porque, without an accent and only one word is not to confused with por qué (two separate words and with an accent on the qué) which means “why”. If it helps at all, I remember the por qué as a little translation “for what” i.e. why.

Porque, then, meaning “because” is a conjunction according to my trusty Collins English-Spanish dictionary.

For the sake of completeness, I will add that el porqué (one word, accent on the e) means the reason, that is to say that el porqué is a noun. Looking in the dictionary, I particularly like “no me interesan los porqués” – I am not interested in the whys and wherefores.

Here is an example of the use of porque –

No puedo estudiar porque tengo mucho tabajo en la oficina durante el día – I cannot work because I have too much work during the day.

The thirty-seventh most common word in the Spanish language is therefore a tale of accents and one words or two.

Remember – porque, no accent, one word,means because.


DAR is the thirty-eighth most common word in the Spanish language.

A short, snappy, monosyllabic, top drawer irregular verb.

Why top drawer? – because DAR and all of its irregular parts are one of the keys to learning Spanish and the fact that it crops up so often, being the thirty-eighth most frequently word in the Spanish language, makes learning the verb a “no brainer” (as my students might say).

DAR means to give in English and is linked into the English word donate.

My trusty Collins English-Spanish dictionary has some 25 different meanings and shades of meaning. It previous posts I have talked about the usefulness of learning how to read the dictionary and DAR is a case in point – if you drift through the various and take ,say, one and use it and remember it, slowly but surely the quality and breadth of your language will improve.

Before giving some examples of the use of DAR, I give the key first person irregularities of the verb.

DOY – I give

DI – I gave

These do not follow any real pattern as they are irregular and, as such, simply have to be learned and committed to memory. As a tip, learn them in context or in a phrase that you know you will be wanting to use quite frequently.

Here are two examples of the use of DAR

Voy a dar un bocadillo a Juan – I am going to give a sandwich to Juan

Voy a dar un paseo – I am going for a walk (literally I am going to give a walk..a nice example of an idiomatic phrase.

There it is – DAR, to give in English. An irregular must-know high frequency very common Spanish verb.


VER is the thirty-sixth most common word in the Spanish Language.

It is a frequently used one syllable irregular verb. Yes – beneath its quiet and inoffensive exterior, VER has quite a punch. Yes it is deceptive, and it pays to get to know this verb well.

It means “to see” in simple terms. My Collins English – Spanish dictionary (and this time I have use the iPad app), has a whole myriad and list of shades of meaning, totalling up to some twenty in all.

Non Spanish speakers will be aware of the various irregular parts of the verb through well known films.

“Hasta la vista” for example – vista is noun which comes from the verb meaning sight. So this expression literally means “until the sight” i.e. until I see you again.

Hotel Buenavista – is a hotel with (hopefully) good views – or perhaps it might be a case for the lawyers and the trades descriptions act.

Here are some examples of the use of VER

“Cuánto tiempo sin verte” – how long since I have seen you i.e. I have not seen you for ages. Note that the word for you has been tacked on the end of the verb.

Voy a ver el castillo – I am going to see the castle.

So, there it is – number 36 in the top one hundred Spanish words. Know it, recognise it and get to know some of its irregularities.


Si is thirty third most common word in the Spanish language.

It is also one of the words that most people recognise – even those who have never learned a word of Spanish.

This monosyllabic sibilant has two potential meanings in Spanish.

My Collins Spanish English dictionary gives quite a substantial write-up, with some ten differences of meaning and shades of meaning.

Si (without an accent) means “if”

 (with an accent) means “yes”.

Here are examples of the different uses of Si

Sí, señor – “yes, sir”

Si lo quieres – tómalo – If you like it, take it!

And, here is an example (with potential to confuse).

, sé que si significa “if” en inglés – Yes, I know that si means “if” in English.

What a short, sexy, and sibilant lexical item. Si or weighs in at number 33 in the top 100 Spanish words.


La is the thirty-second most common word in the Spanish language.

La is the feminine definite article, i.e. it goes with the feminine nouns. Masculine and feminine nouns can be a difficult concept for a maternal English tongue speaker. My advice if that is you – do not beat yourself up about it! Accept it and do not question it. OK, some words are masculine and some words are feminine – so what! I could go on to the Romans and all that! However, I won’t! Well I will – but not much… in Latin (which the Romans spoke) divided nouns up into masculine and feminine (not forgetting neuter).

But let’s get back to la. My Spanish – English Collins dictionary gives the basic meaning of la as “the”,

La is also a personal pronoun (when it means “her”).

Here are a couple of examples of the use of la

La casa es grande – the house is big

La chica es inteligente – the girl is intelligent.

So there it is – la the thirty-second most common word in the Spanish language.


OTRO is the thirtieth most common word in the Spanish language. OTRA is the singular feminine form, with OTROS and OTRAS being the corresponding masculine and feminine forms in the plural.

OTRO is described in my Collins English-Spanish dictionary as both a noun and a pronoun.

OTRO has a number of shades of meaning, but the key translations are “other” or “another”.

Here are some examples of its use:-

necesito otro diccionario

¡otra! – encore!

This last example is the mongrel language English at its best! I have used a French word (encore – literally meaning again) to translate a Spanish word. English certainly is predatory and collects and assimilates useful words wherever it can find them.

So there we have it – the thirtieth most common word in Spanish. Make sure you know it, can recognise it, and can use it!


TODO is the twenty-first most common word in the Spanish language.

I always remember a few years back one of my pupils said “to do” instead of TODO. Such is the imprint  and the power of the maternal tongue.

So, happy Spanish language learners, this word, the twenty-first most common word in the Spanish language is TODO not ” to do”. (If you have been following this series of podcasts and posts the word for “to do” is coming up shortly. I know you cannot wait – it is, in fact, high frequency word number 24. I will say no more – hacer is a cracking and confusing two syllable irregular verb).

TODO is a an adjective, a pronoun and is in particular neat verbal constructions.

TODO can mainly be translated into English as all.

In my previous post (the twentieth most common word in the Spanish language LO I talked about the value of reading the dictionary. I will know give an example of that. The next entry to TODO in my dictionary is todopoderoso. The first that all good linguists do is split a word up into its constituent parts – so, here we have TODO poderoso. So the first part means all, and usually, when there is some context around the word, that helps to give the meaning away. If, therefore you came across the following:-

el Todopoderoso está en el cielo – the Allmighty (all-powerful) is in heaven.

Here are some examples of the use of TODO

todo el mundo – all the world i.e. everybody

todo o nada – all or nothing

todos los coches – all the cars

For those on the other side of the pond (I am writing and podcasting this from the UK), the word coche in Spanish Spanish means car. The word “carro” in Spanish Spanish means “cart”. Such are the difficulties presented by the Atlantic divide. Carro thus potentially is a false friend (un amigo falso) depending on where you are in the world.

There we have it. TODO, the twenty first most common word in the Spanish language. One to know – that’s for sure!

Why not pop details of any Spanish false friends you know in the form below. The more the merrier!

To get us started – actual does not mean actual in Spanish, it is current, present day, as in el gobierno actual – the current government.

LO is the twentieth most common word in the Spanish language.

Grammatically this word is very versatile. It is described in the dictionary as a definite article, and a personal pronoun.

Whilst the dictionary has many different meanings for this flimsy one syllable word, I will keep the meanings here to the more straight forward definitions. It can be variously translated as him, or you, or what with lots of other subtle shades of meaning that only a good read of the dictionary can reveal.

Read the dictionary! I hear you cry. Well, yes. One of the best ways to really get to grips with language learning is to read the dictionary. How sad, I hear you cry again. Well no. It is not sad ! Serious language learners do it regularly – it is a most useful practice for it opens the pathways of the minds to all sorts of possibilities, and almost subconciously, new phrases and shades of meaning seep into the mental recesses, only to pop out at the most unexpected times.

Here are a few examples of the use of LO

Lo mejor de aprender un idioma es ….. the best thing about learning a language is….

Lo que más me gusta es …. what I like the most is……

Lo conozco – I know him (or you depending on context).

To sum up, then. LO is the twentieth most common word in the Spanish language. A useful to know – there is no doubt about it!

Language and language laerning is a very personal thing. What techniques, tips do you use to remember vocabulary or phrases? Why not fill in your tip below.


IR is the twenty-ninth most common word in the Spanish language.

And, oh boy, this irregular verb is a “biggy”. It is a must know, a no brainer a simple got to know …I think you get the gist!

This little, seemingly innocuous, one syllable word which hardly bothers the eye and flips off the tongue in the battering of an eyelid (caution! – metaphor mixing) is an essential building block and step in the Spanish language learning process.

IR, with a pleasant little trill on the end of the verb (or rolling r), a sound which is not easy for the maternal tongue English speaker (with perhaps the exception of the Scots), means “to go”.

This little monosyllable certainly packs some linguistic punch. My Collins English-Spanish dictionary has a whole maze of meanings and subtleties attached to it. Again, this is where reading the dictionary can again come into its own (click on the tag below, reading the dictionary for other posts where I have talked about this particular topic).

But, to cut to the chase, and to keep it simple, the basic meaning of IR is “to go”.

Key parts of the verb are:

VOY – I go / I am going

IBA – I used to go / I was going

FUI – I went

HE IDO – I have gone

I have deliberately only used the first person ( I ) in the different key tenses. Note that each part of the verb does not bear any real resemblance to the infinitive IR. And, come to that, notice how the English is also, apparently,  “all over the place”. (go, went, gone) – but that is another story for another website / blog. If however, you would like to follow this up, I would suggest that is a very good place to start.

Here are a couple of examples of the use of IR and its various parts.

Voy a ir a España – I am going to go to Spain.

Fui a Argentina – I went to Argentina

He ido a Francia – I have been to France

Iba a Bolivia – I used to go to Bolivia.

Well there it is – the muscly, mighty, powerful one syllable with the trill, IR. It is the twenty ninth most common word in Spanish.

For those competitive types amongst you, I am offering a free half an hour online Spanish lesson for the first person to respond to the question below. ¡Vamos!

Este is the twenty eighth most common word in the Spanish language.

Este is a demonstrable adjective. It is the masculine form. Esta is the feminine form (note no accent on the a.) Está, with an accent, means “is”.

Este means this i.e. this when the thing being referred to is close to the speaker. Este contrasts with ese (that i.e when the thing being referred to is a little further way from the speaker). Spanish also the word aquel (and its various parts) which means that, “over there” i.e. a lot further away.

Este is also a masculine noun. It means east.

Here are two examples of the use of este

Este chico es inteligente – This boy is intelligent

Barcelona está en el este de España – Barcelona is in the east of Spain.

Et voilà, este meaning this or east is the twenty eighth most common word in the Spanish language.