If you’re traveling to a Spanish speaking country, one of the first things you’ll learn in Spanish is how to say ‘please’.
There are so many scenarios where you’ll need to use it.
So, if you’re looking for a quick guide on please in Spanish, some contexts in which you’ll use it, and a few examples of common phrases that feature the Spanish equivalent to ‘please’ you’ve come to the right spot!
Let’s dive in.
How do we say ‘please’ in Spanish and how is it pronounced?
To say ‘please’ in Spanish you should use the phrase: por favor.
To pronounce it, you’ll need to remember that the v sound in favor sounds a lot like the plosive b sound in English — only it’s slightly softer.
Also, keep in mind that the r sounds are also not trilled or rolled. It’s more of a softer roll.
Here’s a phonetic (IPA) break down that might help: /poɾ faˈboɾ/
When is the Spanish phrase por favor used?
Like ‘please’ in English, you typically use the Spanish phrase por favor when we’re asking for something or soliciting a request.
You’ll hear exasperated Spanish language teachers in Spanish classes using the phrase por favor when requesting their students to stop talking. 😊
¡Silencio, por favor! Estamos en clase.
You’ll hear it in everyday situations…
Buenas tardes, ¿me puede decir dónde está la panadería, por favor?
On the street..
Hola, ¿me podría ayudar, por favor? Estoy buscando el supermercado.
For requests related to public transport…
Quisiera un billete de ida y vuelta a Madrid, por favor
And even in supermarkets…
¿Me pongas una bolsa, por favor?
Other common Spanish phrases used when someone replies to a favor
So, the phrase por favor is important, but there are also other phrases and vocabulary like muchas gracias that you might hear used alongside the Spanish word for ‘please’.
Muchas gracias literally translates to English as ‘many thanks’ and means ‘thanks a lot’.
To make a good impression, you should always say muchas gracias, or gracias when someone has helped you out with your favor.
Some of the other Spanish phrases related to por favor are:
- De nada and
- Sin problema
Both of the above phrases are used when someone has happily obliged to help you out!
They mean ‘it was nothing’ and ‘no problem’, respectively.
Also check out my guide on how to say thank you in Spanish.
Common Spanish phrases that feature the phrase por favor
Here are a couple more phrases that you’ll typically hear in Spanish speaking countries that feature the phrase por favor:
- Mantenme informado, por favor — keep me informed, please
- Llámame pronto, por favor — call me soon, please
- Para mas información, por favor llama… — for more information, please call…
- ¿Puede repetir, por favor? — could you repeat that, please?
- Por favor, trata de mantener una distancia segura — please try to maintain a safe distance
Note that sometimes the phrase por favor is used along with imperatives in Spanish. For instance, in the sentences mantenme informado, por favor, and llámame pronto, por favor, both feature the imperative verbs.
Por favor is used in these cases to sort of ‘soften the blow’.
It’s a polite addition to an instruction that emphasises a level of formal etiquette.
How to shorten por favor in informal contexts (porfa)
There is a short version to por favor that you should reserve for informal contexts — to shorten it, simply say porfa.
It’s acceptable to use this among friends and family. Here are a couple of examples:
¿Me das un boli, porfa?
Venga, porfa, ¡tenemos que apurarnos!
Bear in mind that it might sound awkward and out of place in formal contexts. Avoid it when you’re at the bank, speaking with your boss, or speaking to strangers.
Keep practising, por favor: how to remember it
Just before we go, did you notice how the Spanish phrase por favor contains the English word ‘favor’ (American spelling)?
This is the easiest way to memorize it.
To remember it, just think that when you want someone to do you a favor, the word you’re looking for in Spanish actually contains the word favor, and you’ll need to use the phrase to be polite.
Keep practising in everyday situations and you’ll get the hang of it.
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