How to Say “What” in Spanish Like a Native Speaker

How do you say “what” in Spanish? It seems like a simple question, but the answer is not as straightforward as you might think. In fact, there are several ways to express “what” in Spanish, each with its own nuance and context. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll explore the different translations of “what” in Spanish and provide you with real-life examples to help you master this essential vocabulary.

The Most Common Ways to Say “What” in Spanish

1. ¿Qué? – The Go-To Translation

When you’re learning how do say what in Spanish, the first word that likely comes to mind is “qué.” And you’re right! “¿Qué?” is the most common and versatile way to say “what” in Spanish. You can use it in a variety of questions and exclamations, such as:

  • ¿Qué quieres hacer hoy? (What do you want to do today?)
  • ¿Qué hora es? (What time is it?)
  • ¡Qué sorpresa! (What a surprise!)

2. ¿Cuál? – Asking for a Choice

Another important word to know when learning how do say what in Spanish is “cuál.” Use “¿Cuál?” when you’re asking someone to choose between options or make a selection. For example:

  • ¿Cuál es tu película favorita? (What is your favorite movie?)
  • ¿Cuáles son tus planes para el fin de semana? (What are your plans for the weekend?)

3. ¿Cómo? – Asking “What” in the Sense of “How”

Sometimes, we use “what” in English to ask “how” something is done or how someone is doing. In Spanish, this translates to “¿Cómo?”. Here are a couple of examples:

  • ¿Cómo te llamas? (What’s your name? – Literally, “How are you called?”)
  • ¿Cómo te fue en el examen? (How did you do on the exam?)

Using “Lo Que” to Mean “That Which” or “What”

In addition to the question words, another way to say “what” in Spanish is by using the phrase “lo que,” which means “that which” or “what.” This is often used in statements rather than questions, like:

  • No entiendo lo que estás diciendo. (I don’t understand what you’re saying.)
  • Haz lo que quieras. (Do what you want.)

Mastering “What” in Spanish

Learning how do say what in Spanish is an essential part of becoming fluent in the language. By understanding the different translations and their contexts, you’ll be able to express yourself more accurately and sound like a native speaker.

Remember, “qué” is your go-to word for most “what” questions and exclamations, while “cuál” is used for asking someone to make a choice. Use “cómo” when asking “what” in the sense of “how,” and “lo que” to say “that which” or “what” in statements.

With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to mastering “what” in Spanish. ¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)

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