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How To Sound Smarter In Spanish | 23 Words

Doesn't it suck... Knowing that you sound dumber than you are when speaking. Enough searching for expressions, repeating the same old filler-words. Let's learn how to sound smarter in Spanish.

Learn these words and take a sentence like this:

Even though I had many problems with criminals on that street, I made it through. Although now I feel sad looking back on the memories…

and make it sound like this…

Despite the many problems I encountered with the delinquents on that street throughout the years, I survived. Nonetheless, I feel deeply saddened looking back on the memories.

Are you ready to learn how to sound much smarter in Spanish!?

¡Empecemos! (Let's start!)

Summary: How To Sound Smarter In Spanish

Sounding smarting in Spanish comes down to learning the most eloquent words that are still used normally in everyday (formal speech).

Replacement words and phrases such as:

  • Criminal - Delincuente

  • Drogas - Sustancias ilícitas

  • Hombre - Caballero

  • Deprimido - Decaído

  • Pero - No obstante

  • Por eso - Por lo tanto

It's important you don't learn words in Spanish that are just too "smart".

I mean if you mine as well learn Arabic words, you’ll have a better chance of being understood by Spanish speakers - no joke! So it comes down to learning the highest form of eloquence that doesn’t make us seem like arrogant pricks.

In this list, I have for you the most transformative words that I have learned throughout the years.

If you’re interested in taking your Spanish to the next level, let’s go!

Picture of a cartoon man thinking deeply - with title sized letters that say "How To Sound Smarter In Spanish"

Words That Make You Sound Smarter In Spanish

Here are some words that you can use as replacements for their more basic counterparts! These are words that will definitely make you sound smarter in Spanish.

Criminal - Delincuente 👨‍🎤

Hubo 3 criminales involucrados ❌

Hubo 3 delincuentes involucrados ✔️

(There were 3 criminals involved)

Drogas - Sustancias ilícitas ☠️

La cantidad de gente que consume drogas ha aumentado ❌

La cantidad de gente que consume sustancias ilícitas ha aumentado ✔️

(The quantity of people that consume illicit substances has increased)

Hombre - Caballero 👨

2 hombres le abrieron las puertas a la mujer ❌

2 caballeros le abrieron las puertas a la mujer ✔️

(2 gentleman opened the doors for the woman)

Disminuir - Mitigar 🤏

Él quería disminuir la influencia del dinero en la política ❌

Él quería mitigar la influencia del dinero en la política ✔️

(He wanted to mitigate the influence of money in politics)

Mujer - Dama 👩‍🦱

Este club es solo para mujeres ❌

Este club es solo para damas ✔️

(This club is for women only)

Diferentes - Distintos/Diversos 👮‍♀️👷‍♀️👨‍⚕️

Hay muchas perspectivas diferentes en esta compañía ❌

Hay muchas perspectivas distintas/diversas en esta compañía ✔️

(There are many different perspectives within this company)

Infeliz - Desdichado 😞

El niño fue muy infeliz con la decisión de sus padres ❌

El niño fue muy desdichado con la decisión de sus padres ✔️

(The boy was wretched/unhappy with the decision of his parents)

Enojado - Enfadado/Furioso 😡

Él estuvo muy enojado ❌

Él estuvo muy enfadado/furioso ✔️

(He was very angry)

Deprimido - Decaído 😭

Ella se sintió muy deprimido en ese momento ❌

Ella se sintió muy decaído en ese momento ✔️

(She felt very saddened in that moment)

Encontrar - Hallar 🧐

Necesitamos encontrar una solución que nos convenga a todos ❌

Necesitamos hallar una solución que nos convenga a todos ✔️

(We need to find a solution that works for everybody)

Phrases That Make You Sound Smarter In Spanish

These are all phrases that will be easily understood by native speakers - but that show a good understanding of the language.

You'll find a sentence below that shows the basic equivalent, and then the same sentence written in a more "intelligent" way.

a picture of a cartoon version of Albert Einstein with title sized letters that say "Phrases To Sound Smarter In Spanish"

No obstante - However, Nevertheless

Yo quise entender sus pensamientos pero ella no me quería hablar ❌

Yo quise entender sus pensamientos, no obstante, ella no me quería hablar ✔️

(I wanted to understand her thoughts, however, she didn’t want to talk)

Sin embargo - However, Nevertheless

Hemos fracasado mucho este año, pero aún podemos terminarlo rentablemente ❌

Hemos fracasado mucho este año, sin embargo, aún podemos terminarlo rentablemente ✔️

(We have failed a lot this year, nevertheless, we can still end the year profitably)

Además - Furthermore, In addition to, Besides

Yo he buscado la respuesta, hasta que hablé con todos los doctores en la ciudad ❌

Yo he buscado la respuesta, además, hablé con todos los doctores en la ciudad ✔️

(I have searched for the answer, furthermore, I have spoken with all of the doctors in the city)

Por lo tanto - Therefore

Lo hemos estudiado, y por eso, sabemos sobre el tema más que usted ❌

Lo hemos estudiado, por lo tanto, sabemos sobre el problema más que usted ✔️

(We have studied it, therefore we know more about the problem than you do)

Apesar de - In spite of

Aunque tuvimos muchos problemas, hemos terminado el año rentablemente ❌

Apesar de tantos problemas, hemos terminado el año rentablemente ✔️

(In spite of many problems, we have ended the year profitably)

Aparte de - Apart from, Other than, Besides

Tú tienes que pensar en algo más que no sea dinero Jorge ❌

Tú tienes que pensar en algo más - aparte del dinero Jorge ✔️

(You have to think about something more than money Jorge)

A lo largo de - Throughout

A través de los años, aprendí cómo manejar un negocio ❌

A lo largo de los años, aprendí cómo manejar un negocio ✔️

(Throughout the years, I learned how to run a business)

A lo lejos - Far away

Ví algo muy lejos de aquí ❌

Ví algo a lo lejos ✔️

(I saw something far away)

Filler Words To Not Sound Gringo

We as English speakers are used to saying things like well, uhmm, and like quite a bit. These are the Spanish equivalents that are often used to fill in sentences when the speaker is thinking, for example.

These won't make you "sound smarter" per say, but they will make you sound more native, and comfortable in the language.

Cartoon guy hanging out on a beach chair with title sized letters that say "Filler Words To Sound More Natural In Spanish"

Uhhh - Esteee

We as English speakers sometimes say things like Uhhh when we are thinking in Spanish. In Spanish, we say Esteee most commonly when we are thinking. It will just make you sound less gringo. For example:

Yo estaba esteee en un restaurante con ella

(I was in uhhhmm... in a restaurant with her)

Well - Bueno

If you learned that the meaning of Pues is Well, good, that’s true. But when we use it at the beginning of a sentence, almost like a filler word - we say Bueno. For example:

Bueenooo, yo no supe porqué me estaba diciendo eso

(Weeellll, I didn’t know why she was saying that to me)

I mean - O sea

If you don't know this phrase already, you got to learn it! Check out how it’s used below:

O sea, no sé por qué ella me gritaba así

(I mean, I don’t know why she was yelling at me like that)

Like - Como

This word is used just like the filler word Like is used in English. For example:

Yo estaba como, ¿por qué estás actuando así?

(I was like, why are you acting like this?)

Sound Smarter? Or Sound More Native-Like?

A cartoon doctor on the left side, and a man chilling on a beach chair on the other side with title sized letters that say "Smarter.... Or More Native-Like?"

One thing you might want to think about is, do you want to sound smarter? Or more native-like?

The reason why you should ask yourself this is, if you are looking to sound super smart, it might be harder for you to be understood.

You might also come across as an entitled gringo - I'm just being straight up.

I have only given you “smart words” that can be understood easily.

Now, let’s take a look at how to sound more natural and friendly.

Pronunciation To Sound Smarter/More Natural

If you want to sound smarter, you should pronounce almost all of your letters perfectly - to the standards of Spanish.

What I mean by this is:

  • Don’t pronounce the D like we do in English, but pronounce it lightly - like is expected in Standard Castilian Spanish.

  • Don’t pronounce the Z as we do in English, but like an S (as is the norm in Spanish)

  • Pronounce you B and V the same (The sound is like a mixture of the two letters)

Native Like Accent

If you want to sound native, you should adapt your speech to what is most common in the country you are going to, or have a connection with.

For example, if you love Argentina:

  • Pronounce the LL/Y as “SSHH”

  • Pronounce the S as a “Breathy H”

  • Adjust the rhythm that you speak with to that of Argentinians

  • Pronounce your D softly

  • Use Vos instead of

As you can see, to sound “smart” one should speak formally, but if you want to connect with a culture, you need to speak like those people.

This means you can learn to speak in a smart way, but you should mix it with a more native-like accent.

This way you’ll be understood well by all, and it won’t feel like you’re showing off or acting like you’re smarter than everybody else.

Conclusion: How To Sound Smarter In Spanish

If you learn the words and phrases listed above, you will certainly sound more eloquent whenever you speak. One question you should ask yourself is, “Do I want to sound smart or more like a smart native?”.

The difference is the same as it is in English, a smart person can sound smart without sounding so smart that nobody understands. But there are those people who use so many big words that it’s almost impossible to understand them.

This problem is worsened in Spanish though, as there is a much greater difference between the speech between friends and family, and a boss and his employees.

So remember these words and phrases, use them, and surely it will be noted that you dominate the Spanish language. However, if you go much further than this, you’ll be rocking the boat. That is to say, you’d be risking being misunderstood.

I hope this helped you out. If you haven’t chosen a Spanish Dialect to focus on yet, check out this series I just finished on every Spanish-speaking country's dialect.

Have a great day and study your Spanish.

- Ben


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