Updated: Apr 4
Who are the members of your family, how many are there, and what do they do? These are among the first questions you may be asked when you meet and first become acquainted with a native Spanish speaker. Depending on your age, you may be asked about your parents and what they do for a living, or you may be asked if you are married or have any children. Learn the words to describe your family members, then bring a photo along, and even if you're a beginner and know only simple grammar, you'll be able to engage in conversation.
Vocabulary of the Family
Let's start with the vocabulary of the family. Following are the names for the most common relatives and some of the uncommon ones:
Esposo, marido: husband
Esposa, mujer: wife
tatarabuelo: great great grandfather tatarabuela: great great grandmother bisabuelo: great grandfather bisabuela: great grandmother abuelos: grandparents abuelo: grandfather abuela: grandmother nietos: grandchildren nieto: grandson nieta: granddaughter bisnieto: great grandson bisnieta: great granddaughter
tío: uncle tía: aunt primos: cousins primo: cousin (male) prima: cousin (female) sobrino: nephew sobrina: niece
Medio hermano, hermano de padre, hermano de madre: half brother
Media hermana, hermana de padre, hermana de madre: half sister
Concuñado: husband of one's spouse's sister
Concuñada: wife of one's spouse's brother
Consuegro: father-in-law of one's son or daughter
Consuegra: mother-in-law of one's son or daughter
Prometido, novio: fiance, boyfriend, groom
Prometida, novia: fiancée, girlfriend, bride
Compañero: male partner in a couple relationship
Compañera: female partner in a couple relationship
Amigo: friend (male)
Amiga: friend (female)
Tataranieto: great-great-grandsonTataranieta: great-great-granddaughterTío: uncleTía: auntTío abuelo: great-uncleTía abuela: great-auntPrimo: cousin (male)
Prima: cousin (female)
Primo carnal, prima carnal, primo hermano, prima hermana: first cousin
Primo segundo, prima segunda: second cousin
Children will often call their father papá and their mother mamá. When saying or writing these words in Spanish, remember to put the accent on the final syllable or you will be saying another word.
In Spain is very common to say madre and padre. The generic name for parents in Spanish is padres. Don't use Parientes which means relatives.
The generic name for brothers and sisters in Spanish is hermanos. You don't need to say hermanos y hermanas as we do in English because the word hermanos includes them both.
Sample Sentences Referring to Family Members
As you have probably noticed, in Spanish we use verb TENER to say how old we are:
¿Cuántos años tienes? (How old you are?)
Tengo 45 años. (I am 45 years old.)
We also use verb ESTAR to talk about marital status:
Estoy casado/casada. (I am married.)
Estás soltero/soltera. (You are single.)
Está divorcidado/divorciada. (He/she is divorced.)
Mi hermano se llama Juan.
¿Está casada tu hermana?
Su madre tiene 72 años.
Now it is time to practice everything you have learned with our quizzes. Remember to contact your tutor with any questions you have. Don’t you have a Spanish tutor yet?
Listening and Quiz Activity No. 1: "Una familia española"
To see how to describe your family in Spanish you need to see this vocabulary in context, you can do it with the video with subtitles below.
Response True (T) or False (F)
1. _____ Los hijos de Paco y María son los primos de Eva.
2. _____ El padre de Eva no tiene hermanos.
1. Pepe y Manolita son los __________ (hermanos, abuelos, tíos )de Eva.
2. Paco y Pilar son los _____________ (hermanos, abuelos, tíos) de Eva.
3. Paco _______ (tiene, tenemos, tienen) 52 años.
4 Pilar _________ (tiene, está, es) soltera.
Free Student Handout Activity No. 2: Test yourself
Free handout for you to practice. Click the purple button below to DOWNLOAD the free handout. Add your name and email and we’ll send it to you! Remember you can contact your tutor with any question have. Don’t you have a Spanish tutor yet? Please, leave a message if you want we prepare more activities about this topic. Thanks for helping us to improve.
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¡Hasta la vista!
The Español Latino Team