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Making a Phone Call in Spanish: 5 Essential Verbs

Do you ever feel like practicing your Spanish over the phone? In this lesson, we would like to share with you the most important verbs you need to know when making or talking about a phone call. Also, we will show you the words you can use if you are wondering how to answer the phone in Spanish.

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1. Llamar (to call)

This is probably the most important verb when you want to indicate that you are making a call. Let's see some useful sentences.

 

When you are about to call someone:

 

Un momento, voy a llamar por teléfono.

One moment, I'm going to call [them].

Caption 6, Ariana - Cita médica

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When you want to say that you called someone:

 

Cuando llamé por teléfono, era para hablar con Lucio.

When I called on the phone, it was to talk to Lucio.

Caption 23, Yago - 14 La peruana

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When you want to indicate that someone called someone:

 

La primera vez que tu papá me llamó, no fue a la casa.

The first time your dad called me, it was not to the house.

Caption 42, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 5

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2. Responder (to answer)

Of course, when you call someone, you expect an answer. Let's see this verb in action.

Disculpa, estaba en una reunión y no pude responder tu llamada.

Sorry, I was in a meeting and I couldn't answer your call.

 

You can also use the verb contestar (to answer) in this situation:

 

Que pena, discúlpame.

I'm sorry, excuse me.

Tengo que contestar esta llamada.

I have to answer this call.

Captions 8-9, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 3 - Part 1

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The example above also provides us with another very useful noun: llamada (a call).

 

By the way, do you know how to answer the phone in Spanish? In English, we say 'hello' but what's about in Spanish? There are several options:

 

Bueno

Literally, bueno means 'fine' or 'well'. However, in this context, you can take bueno as a simple 'hello'. This way of answering the phone is very common in Mexico.

 

Hola

This is the Spanish equivalent of 'hello'.

 

¿Sí?

Literally, this means 'yes'. It is also a very normal way of answering the phone in Spanish. 

 

Diga or dígame

The translation of this is 'tell me'. A very common way of answering the phone in Spain.

 

Aló

This way of answering the phone is very popular in Colombia. It works as a simple 'hello'.

 

Buenos días, buenas tardes or buenas noches

Some people prefer to answer the phone according to the time of the day so you can say buenos días (good morning), buenas tardes (good afternoon) or buenas noches (good night).

 

3. Colgar (to hang up)

This is the verb you use when you need to get off the phone.

 

When you want to tell someone that you need to go:

 

Oye, tengo que colgar porque vamos a comer.

Listen, I have to hang up because we're going to eat.

Captions 56-57, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 8

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When you want to say that someone hung up on you or someone else:

 

Una mina llamó por teléfono a tu celular.

A girl called your cell phone.

Elena atendió, ella preguntó por vos y entonces Elena le dijo,

Elena answered, she asked for you and then Elena said to her,

"¿Quién habla?"

"Who is it?"

Y la mina colgó.

And the girl hung up.

Captions 43-45, Yago - 11 Prisión

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From the example above, you can also see that the verb atender (to respond) is another verb you can use instead of responder (to answer). Also, keep in mind that when talking about a smartphone you use the word celular throughout Latin America and the word móvil in Spain. If you prefer, you can also use the word teléfono (telephone).

 

4. Hablar (to talk)

Of course, you talk over the phone so if you want to express that action, you can say it like our friend Silvia from El Aula Azul:

 

Estoy hablando por teléfono.

I'm talking on the telephone.

Yo hablo por teléfono.

I talk on the telephone.

Captions 49-50, El Aula Azul - Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

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5. Escuchar (to hear, to listen)

A phone call is about listening to someone else so this is a very important verb especially when you want to make sure the other person is able to listen to you.

Me puedes escuchar?

Can you hear me?

 

You can also use the verb oir (to hear) in this context:

 

¿Qué tal?

How are you?

Muy bien.

Very well.

Y ahora que te oigo, de maravilla.

And now that I hear you, wonderful.

Captions 33-35, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 3 - Part 13

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And that's it for today. Are you ready to make a phone call in Spanish? We hope so. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

Regular AR Verbs in Spanish

In the Spanish language, all infinitive verbs belong to one of the following groups: verbs ending in ‘-ar’, verbs ending in ‘-er and verbs ending in ‘-ir.

 

Likewise, each infinitive verb is formed using the following formula:

Verb stem + infinitive ending.

 

Let’s look at some of the most common regular ‘AR’ verbs in Spanish:

 

Hablar (to speak) = Habl + ar

Comprar (to buy) = Compr + ar

Estudiar  (to study) = Estudi + ar

 

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What makes a verb regular?

A verb is considered regular when the verb stem doesn’t change from the infinitive form to the conjugated form of the verb. Let’s take the regular verb hablar (to speak) and see its conjugation in the simple present. Notice how the stem stays the same but the endings vary:

 

Yo hablo (I speak)

Tú hablas (You speak)

Él/Ella habla (He/She speaks)

Nosotros/as hablamos (We speak)

Vosotros/as habláis (You speak)

Ellos/as hablan (They speak)

 

 

... o cuando mis alumnos hablan español.

... or when my students speak Spanish.

Caption 84, Lecciones con Carolina - Adjetivos posesivos

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Now, let’s take the regular verb comprar (to buy) and see how the conjugation works in the simple past:

 

Yo compré (I bought)

Tú compraste (You bought)

Él/Ella compró (He/She bought)

Nosotros/as compramos (We bought)

Vosotros/as comprasteis (You bought)

Ellos/as compraron (They bought)

 

 

¿Recuerdas el regalo que compré? -Mm-hm.

Do you remember the gift that I bought? -Mm-hm.

Caption 17, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos - El pasado

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Let’s use a different verb to see the conjugation of a regular ‘AR’ verb in the simple future. Let’s take the verb estudiar (to study):

 

Yo estudiaré (I will study)

Tú estudiarás (You will study)

Él/Ella estudiará (He/She will study)

Nosotros/as estudiaremos (We will study)

Vosotros/as estudiaréis (You will study)

Ellos/as estudiarán (They will study)

 

 

La Comisaría de Pesca dice que estudiará la forma de pagar esa indemnización.

The Fisheries Commissioner says that she will evaluate the way to pay that compensation.

Caption 50, Europa Abierta - Aguas en discordia

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Do you want to know more regular ‘AR’ verbs in Spanish?

Take a look at the following list featuring some of the most used 'AR' verbs in Spanish:

 

Cantar (to sing) 

Ahora puedo cantar.

Now I can sing.

Caption 36, Ariana Cita médica

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Bailar (to dance) 

nos gusta bailar, nos gusta disfrutar,

we like to dance, we like to have fun,

Caption 34, Días festivos La diablada pillareña - Part 1

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In this example, the speaker also uses another -ar verb in Spanish: disfrutar (to have fun/to enjoy).

 

Bajar (to go down) 

Y ahora, voy a bajar.

And now, I am going to go down.

Caption 15, Raquel Las direcciones

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Caminar (to walk) 

Comenzó a caminar sin rumbo fijo.

He began to walk with no particular destination in mind.

Caption 39, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 2

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Contestar (to answer) 

Tengo que contestar esta llamada.

I have to answer this call.

Caption 9, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 1

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Descansar (to rest) 

Me encanta descansar un poquito después del trabajo.

I love to rest a little bit after work.

Caption 21, Ariana Mi Casa

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Entrar (to enter) 

para entrar en nuevos mercados.

to enter into new markets.

Caption 6, Negocios Problemas laborales - Part 1

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Escuchar (to listen to) 

Tómate un tiempo para escuchar,

Take some time to listen to,

Caption 17, Ana Carolina Mejorando la pronunciación

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Limpiar (to clean)

Ahora sólo me falta limpiar mi mesa de noche.

Now I just have to clean my nightstand.

Caption 27, Ana Carolina Arreglando el dormitorio

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Now, a final challenge: take one of the verbs we just mentioned and try conjugating it in simple present, past and future. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.

 

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Explore more lessons:

Spanish Reflexive Verbs for Your Daily Routine

Is Agua Masculine or Feminine?

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