The Despacito-inspired guide to Spanish: 8 phrases to spark your summer romance

Bieber’s Spanglish smash hit Despacito (translation: slowly) with Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee is dominating the charts this summer, as it reaches 4.6 billion global streams across leading platforms and becomes the first mostly Spanish song to hit number one spot since Los Del Rio’s ‘Macarena’ in 1996.

We decided to put together a quick Despacito-inspired guide to Spanish to help you develop your own romance this summer. Just in case romance isn’t on the cards, we’ve also included some general conversational pieces to brush up on. Take it pasito a pasito, suave suavecito.

1. Sabes que ya llevo un rato mirándote – You know I’ve been looking at you for a while

The very first line of Despacito involves Fonsi telling his love interest that he’s been looking at them across the room for a while now, a decent phrase to have up your sleeve on the off chance you’d like to tell your crush how you feel.

2. ¿Puedo invitarte un trago? – Can I buy you a drink?

A quick way to make friends and always appreciated by existing ones, this phrase is pretty self-explanatory. You’re asking someone if you can get them a drink, easy peasy.

3. ¿Me pone una jarra de sangría por favor? – Can I have a pitcher of Sangria please?

Success! If they accept your kind offer, Sangria is a popular option – red wine mixed with juice, fruit and typically brandy. If sangria isn’t their poison, you could also try ordering una cava (Spanish wine), un vino blanco or tinto (white wine or red wine), or una cerveza (beer). Don’t forget, if you want to make it two, pluralise – i.e. dos cervezas, por favor.

4. Tengo que bailar contigo – I have to dance with you

Ready to bust a move? If you’re feeling forward, you could take a leaf out of Fonsi’s book and ask someone to dance, right away. #YOLO.

5. ¿Te gustaría cenar conmigo esta noche? – Would you like to have dinner with me this evening?

If the tapas selection at the bar isn’t quite enough, take a chance and see if they fancy going out to dinner with you. Hopefully they’ll have some decent recommendations, otherwise you’ll have to do a quick Google or consult your guidebook to find a good local restaurant.

6. Reservé una mesa para la cena – I booked a table for dinner

This phrase is doubly helpful. A) As a way of letting your date know you’ve gone right ahead and booked a table and B) to let the waiter know when you arrive at a restaurant that you’ve already booked.

7. Pasito a pasito, suave suavecito – Step by step, gentle gently

Not necessarily the most useful phrase in everyday conversation, however this snippet of the song is so darn catchy it’s worth knowing what it means. Although now you know how to say you took something step by step in Spanish, that’ll come in handy one day right?

8. Estaba a punto de reservar un taxi – I was about to book a taxi

The day is drawing to a close, what better way to let your company know you’re planning to head back to your hotel than by explaining that you’re about to book a taxi? It’s also the perfect way to refuse the offer of one more drink if the evening’s a bust. ¡Vamos!

Bonus round, if you’d like to describe your wonderful trip to Spain to your family and friends you could say: Pasé el fin de semana en España y fue romántico – I spent the weekend in Spain and it was romantic.

Interested in learning more Spanish phrases for your next vacation? Paul Noble’s ‘Unlocking Spanish’ title is now 40% off using code CSREADS – as are his Italian and French editions. There’s a little something for everyone this summer, be inspired. Find out more.

By Rachel Quin
Collins Dictionary

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