If you’re learning Spanish for your new year’s resolution, there’s so much to look forward to. You’ll be opening your world up to new people, new cultures and new experiences. You’ll also have to deal with something else: new mistakes. Making an error in a new language is always a frustrating experience, but it’s an unavoidable part of the process. Rather than letting it discourage you, it’s best to see each one as an opportunity to grow. And in the meantime, you can equip yourself with a few phrases to use when you make mistakes in Spanish.
To help you out, we put together a guide to some words or phrases that might be helpful when you’re having trouble with Spanish. Whether you’re correcting yourself after you’ve slipped up or you’re asking someone to clarify something, these will be very helpful. And remember, there’s no shame in asking someone to repeat themselves. Most people will be very understanding when a mistake does happen.
Ready to make mistakes in Spanish? You can start learning today with Babbel, and you’ll be speaking confidently in no time.
How To Fix And Avoid Mistakes In Spanish
Apologies In Spanish
If you’ve made a mistake, a quick apology can smooth things over. You don’t have to go over the top — you wouldn’t say “my sincerest apologies” because you got your words mixed up — but these brief phrases can come in handy. We also have a more thorough guide to saying sorry in Spanish if you’re in need of deeper apologies.
- Lo siento mucho. — I’m very sorry.
- ¡Perdóname! (informal), ¡Perdóneme! (formal) — Pardon me!
- Te pido perdón. (informal), Le pido perdón. (formal) — I apologize.
- ¡Disculpas! — Apologies!
Interjections In Spanish
Sometimes when you make a mistake, you want to acknowledge it by yelling something out. Here are a few options used in Spanish.
- ¡Ups! — Oops!
- ¡Dios mío! — My god!
- ¡Ay! — no exact English equivalent, but kind of similar to “Oh!” or even “Ow!”
How To Say I Don’t Know In Spanish
When you’re trying to avoid making a mistake, maybe the best thing you can do is throw up your hands and say “I don’t know.”
- No sé. — I don’t know.
- No sé, estoy pensando aún. — I don’t know, I’m still thinking.
- No entiendo. — I don’t understand.
- Disculpe, no le he entendido. — Pardon, I didn’t understand.
- Hay demasiado ruido, no he entendido nada. — It’s too loud, I didn’t understand anything.
Asking For Clarification In Spanish
Another way to avoid mistakes in Spanish is to make sure you understood what the other person is saying. Here are a few ways to ask someone to repeat what they said.
- ¿Qué dices? — What did you say?
- ¿Puedes repetir? — Could you repeat that?
- ¿Perdón? — Pardon?
- ¿Puede repetir más despacio, por favor? — Could you say that slower?
- ¿Puedes hablar un poco más alto? — Could you speak a bit louder?
- ¿Puede repetir, por favor? — Could you repeat that, please?
Spanish Idioms For Miscommunication
If you want to sound a bit more colloquial when you express your confusion in Spanish, here are some helpful idioms that work for exactly those situations.
- No entiendo ni papa. — I don’t understand anything. (lit. I don’t even understand a potato.)
- Para mí es chino. — It’s all Greek to me. (lit. For me, it’s Chinese.)