In many situations in Spanish, you’ll want to be able to wish someone good luck or that you wish them well…
How do you do this in Spanish?
The answer you need is just below in this guide. Let’s find out.
How do you say good luck in Spanish?
One of the most frequently used Spanish phrases for saying “good luck” to someone in Spanish is buena suerte.
Buena (a feminine adjective in Spanish) translates to “good” and suerte (a feminine noun in Spanish) translates to “luck”.
So, if your friend has a Spanish language exam tomorrow morning, if they have a driving test, or if they’re preparing for a performance recital, you can say buena suerte and they’ll likely respond with ¡muchas gracias! (thanks a lot!)
Other common ways to say “good luck” in Spanish
But there are other ways to say “good luck” in Spanish.
Check out the table below, which contains some of the common ways to say it:
|English phrases for good luck (literal translation)||Spanish phrases for good luck|
|I’m going to cross my fingers||Voy a cruzar mis dedos|
|That it goes well (for) you/ That it will go well (for) you||Qué te vaya bien|
How do we use tener suerte in Spanish?
You might have noticed that some Spanish expressions are a little bit different when compared with English, and the phrase tener suerte is one example.
For instance, whereas in English, if you are lucky in a certain situation, you’d use the verb “to be” and the noun “lucky” and say “I am so lucky, every traffic light was green, that’s why I arrived on time!”, in Spanish we use the verb “to have” in circumstances like these.
Here’s how the English example above would translate to Spanish:
Tengo tanta suerte. Todos los semáforos estaban en verde. Por eso llegué a tiempo.
Here, we use the conjugated verb tener in its yo form to express how lucky we are. A literal translation would be “I have so much luck”.
And by the way, there are other examples of this difference between Spanish and English. In English, we might say “I am cold”, or “I am scared”, or “I am tired”, whereas in Spanish we would say tengo frio, tengo miedo, or tengo sueño respectively.
So, if you’re an English speaker getting used to Spanish, try to remember that the phrase is tener suerte and not estar suerte.
How to conjugate the verb tener as part of the phrase tener suerte
Tener suerte should always be conjugated when you’re addressing someone or referring to someone else in a conversation.
Since it’s an irregular verb, whose stem changes when conjugated for certain subject pronouns, take a quick look at the table below to see how to conjugate the verb tener:
|English subject pronoun||Spanish subject pronoun||Conjugated verb tener indicative tense|
|He, She, It||Él, Ella, Usted||Tiene|
|They||Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes||Tienen|
If you wanted to say “you are lucky” in Spanish, this translates to tienes suerte.
To say “you guys/you’re all lucky” in Spanish, this translates to tenéis suerte. If you want to say “they’re lucky” in Spanish, you would say tienen suerte, and so on.
Using tener suerte in the subjunctive when wishing someone good luck
In some situations, you might even want to use the complete version when wishing someone “good luck”, or saying “I hope you’re lucky/have luck” in Spanish, which calls for the use of the subjunctive.
First, let’s look at an example of the full version and then explore the grammar behind it:
Espero que tengas suerte mañana.
Since there are two subjects in the sentence, and this sentence contains a wish, hope, or desire, the subjunctive mood is used.
The verb tengas in this case is the present subjunctive mood that you should take note of.
Luckily, conjugating the present subjunctive verb forms for tener is not as challenging as the indicative tense.
Here’s how to do it:
|English subject pronoun||Spanish subject pronoun||Conjugated verb tener present subjunctive tense|
|He, She, It||Él, Ella, Usted||Tenga|
|They||Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes||Tengan|
Any sentence that contains a “hope” should use the subjunctive tense.
So, to say “We hope they are lucky tomorrow”, translates to Spanish as esperamos que tengan suerte mañana.
If you need to say “I hope she is lucky tomorrow”, this translates to Spanish as espero que tenga suerte mañana.
Using suerte on its own to say “good luck” in Spanish
Sometimes, you’ll hear classmates or close friends, young people, or family using suerte on its own instead of buena suerte.
This is a shortened version that is normally used between friends or family members because it’s slightly more informal when compared to the full buena suerte version.
Expressing pity with mala suerte
You can combine suerte with the adjective mala to express pity or sorrow when one of your close friends receives bad news.
Here’s an example of how it’s used:
Que mala suerte. Lo siento, fallaste el examen.
Or you might use que mala suerte in an initial sentence without any other words following it.
If someone tells you they slipped and fell down the stairs, you might respond with que mala suerte, and once they have explained how the accident happened you can follow up with que te recuperes pronto (which is the short version of “I hope you recover soon”).
Using qué te vaya bien in the subjunctive to wish someone luck
Since the phrase qué te vaya bien is a hope, wish or desire meaning “I hope it goes well for you”, the subjunctive mood also applies to it.
The verb vaya is the present subjunctive of the verb ir (meaning “to go”).
If you wanted to say “I hope all these circumstances go well for you” you’d need to conjugate the verb ir in a different present subjunctive form to complement the “circumstances” in the above sentence.
Let’s look at how to conjugate it and see if you know which Spanish verb should be used for this example.
|English subject pronoun||Spanish subject pronoun||Conjugated verb ir present subjunctive tense|
|He, She, It||Él, Ella, Usted||Vaya|
|They||Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes||Vayan|
Since the above sentence uses a noun in its plural form, which is “circumstances”, we must also use a plural verb form in this sentence to complement this noun.
So, in this case, we would use the subjunctive verb vayan to wish someone luck.
Here’s the translated version of that sentence:
Espero que todas estas circunstancias te vayan bien.
When do we use éxito to wish someone luck in Spanish?
If you’ve done a quick Google translate search for the word éxito you’ll have noticed that it means “success” in English.
But we still use it when we want to say “good luck” in Spanish, and we use it in formal situations more so than the informal circumstances in which we use suerte.
Éxito is normally used alongside the prepositions en or con.
For example, if you’re wishing a colleague luck with a company presentation that could help you receive plenty of additional clients, you’d say:
Éxito con la presentación.
When do we say voy a cruzar mis dedos in Spanish?
As there’s an English equivalent to this phrase, you’ll have no problem using it in Spanish!
Voy a cruzar mis dedos means “I’m going to cross my fingers”. This phrase is normally used in informal situations, particularly in European Spanish.
You can, alternatively, use the phrase cruzaré mis dedos, which means the same thing as voy a cruzar mis dedos, but is conjugated differently.
You’ll have noticed this verb takes the future tense, translating to English as “I’m going to cross…(my fingers)”, or “I will cross…(my fingers).”
But if you wanted to say “he” or “she” is going to cross their fingers, you’ll need to conjugate the verb cruzar in the future tense. This is how to do it:
|English subject pronoun||Spanish subject pronoun||Conjugated verb cruzar future indicative tense|
|He, She, It||Él, Ella, Usted||Cruzará|
|They||Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes||Cruzarán|
Wish someone the best of luck in Spanish
The best way to remember these phrases is to use them, practice how to pronounce them, them, listen to how native speakers use them and to practice them.
Commit them to memory by first using flashcards to practice them. Learn the verb conjugations featured in this article. Then use these phrases when the time is right.
So, when the perfect opportunity presents itself, don’t forget to say suerte to your friends, or éxito to your colleagues!
Before you know it, you’ll have full command of these Spanish phrases for “good luck”. Oh, and if you’re studying for a Spanish exam, ¡mucha suerte! ¡Espero qué te vaya muy bien!
Are there any other tips you’d like to share with us to help someone learn how to wish someone luck in Spanish?
Write your contribution just below in the comments section!