Questions and requests

When working on talking skills in Spanish, it is important to know how to make requests. For example, asking someone to repeat what they have said or asking them to slow down.

How to make requests in Spanish

Just like in English, we use requests in Spanish when they are needed in a conversation.

SpanishEnglish
No entiendoI do not understand.
¿Puedes repetir la pregunta?Can you repeat the question?
¿Puedes hablar más despacio?Can you speak more slowly?
¿Puedes hablar más claramente?Can you speak more clearly?
¿Cómo se dice ___ en español?How do you say __ in Spanish?
¿Cómo se dice ___ en inglés?How do you say __ in English?

It is polite to add ‘por favor’ - please, to the questions above. For example, if you do not understand what you are being asked, you could say:

  • No entiendo. ¿Puedes repetir la pregunta, por favor? - I do not understand. Can you repeat the question please?

Asking Questions in Spanish

Just like in English, there are different ways to ask questions in Spanish.

If you are asking for something in a shop, for example, you will use ‘quisiera’ which means ‘I would like’.

However, if you are asking if you can have something, you would be more likely to use ‘podría’ plus an infinitive.

Quisiera fruta por favor - I'd like fruit please

Question phrases include:

SpanishEnglish
quisiera…I would like...
podría tener…. could I have...
me gustaría… I would like...
puedo ir… can I go...
puedo pedir… can I order...

If you are ordering food, for example, you might say:

  • Quisiera un kilo de fresas, por favor. - I would like a kilo of strawberries, please.
  • ¿Puedo pedir una hamburguesa? - Can I order a hamburger?

Or, if you are asking for permission in class, you might say:

  • ¿Puedo ir al servicio, por favor? - Can I go to the bathroom please?
  • ¿Puedo hacer una pregunta? - Can I ask a question?

Quiz

Choose the correct translation for each Spanish word in this short quiz on requests.