Daily routine vocabulary is very useful for any Spanish learners. This will make the words easier to remember and improve your functional ability to communicate in Spanish. Moreover, knowing daily routine vocabulary will help you think in Spanish. If you can discuss or even think about your daily activities in Spanish, it’ll help you transition to being able to think in Spanish in general which is an important step towards fluency. What’s more, daily routine Spanish vocabulary are some of the most common words, so they’re essential to clear communication. Without these words and phrases, you won’t be able to communicate some very basic information, and this could complicate your Spanish-language conversations.
Despertar (no se at the end) means “to awaken”. This is the word you use when discussing an outside agent who/that wakes a person, like an alarm clock or your son. To discuss someone being woken up by something or by someone else, you can use pronouns like me, te and le to indicate who’s being awoken. In this case, the verb wouldn’t be considered reflexive. For instance, you might say mi hijo me despierta (my son wakes me up).
Despertarse, on the other hand, is used to communicate when someone has woken up without provocation or when they’ve woken themselves up: Mi hermano se despierta a las siete (my brother wakes up at seven).
In the context of daily activities, levantarse means “to get up”. While this is similar to despertarse, they don’t have quite the same meaning. Levantarse can be used to refer to getting out of bed, getting out of a chair, etc. It helps to remember that levantar means “to raise”, so levantarse literally means “to raise oneself”.
Despertarse, however, only means “to wake up” so it’s only used when someone has been sleeping. Even if you’ve woken up, you might still be laying in bed. So, you could say “me desperté a las seis y me levanté a las siete y media” (I woke up at six and I got out of bed at seven thirty).
Desayunar means “to have breakfast” or “to have for breakfast”. Similarly, the noun desayuno means “breakfast”.
Ducharse means “to take a shower”. For example: Alicia se ducha cada mañana (Alicia showers every morning).
Bañarse means “to take a bath”. In Latin America, however, it’s also often used to mean “to take a shower” or “to swim”.
Bañar, on the other hand, means “to bathe” when you’re referring to someone bathing someone other than themselves: Baño a mis hijas después del colegio (I bathe my daughters after school).
6. Lavarse/cepillarse los dientes
Lavarse los dientes literally means “to wash one’s teeth”. However, it’s frequently used to refer to brushing teeth.
Cepillarse los dientes, on the other hand, literally means “to brush one’s teeth”.
7. Cepillarse el pelo
Cepillar means “to brush”. Therefore, cepillarse el pelo and cepillarse el cabello both mean “to brush one’s hair”.
Peinar means “to comb”, and with this verb, it’s usually understood that you’re referring to your hair. So, think of peinarse as “to comb one’s hair”.
While vestir means “to wear”, the reflexive vestirse means “to get dressed”.
10. Ponerse la ropa
Ponerse la ropa means “to put on clothes”. While the meaning is very similar to vestirse, there are some slight differences. Generally, vestirse is only used when you’re putting on clothes but weren’t already dressed. Ponerse, on the other hand, can also be used when putting on additional garments like a jacket.
Afeitarse means “to shave oneself”. For example: ¿Te afeitas en verano? (Do you shave in summer?). If you, for whatever reason, are shaving someone else, you’d use afeitar in combination with the appropriate pronoun. While it wouldn’t technically be reflexive because you’re acting on someone else, you’d still use pronouns like te, me and le to indicate who’s being shaved: Ayer afeité al perro (Yesterday, I shaved the dog).
Both maquillarse and pintarse can be used to mean “to put makeup on oneself”. When it isn’t reflexive, maquillar means “to make up”, so you can use this if you’re putting makeup on someone else. Again, you’d still use the pronouns me, te and le to clarify who’s being made up.
On the other hand, when pintar isn’t reflexive, it usually means “to paint”, so pintarse is sort of like “to paint oneself”.
13. Hacer la cama
Hacer la cama means “to make the bed”.
14. Ir a… (trabajo, colegio, universidad, centro comercial, tienda, médico, etc.)
Ir a means “to go to”. Remember that when a is followed by el, we combine it to al: Por las mañanas, voy al trabajo (I go to work in the mornings) / Patricia necesita ir al médico la próxima semana (Patricia needs to go to to the doctor next week).
Trabajar means “to work”. Similarly, un trabajo is “a job” an ir al trabajo is the phrase for “to go to work”.
Almorzar means “to have lunch”. It can also mean “to have for lunch”. Similarly, in Spain, it can mean “to have a mid-morning snack” or “to have as a mid-morning snack”. The noun almuerzo means “lunch”.
Comer means “to eat”. However, in Spain and Mexico, comer can also mean “to have for lunch”, while in parts of Latin America, it can mean “to have for dinner”.
18. Llegar a casa
Llegar a casa means “to arrive home”: ¿A qué hora llegarás a casa? (At what time will you get home?).
19. Quitarse la ropa
Quitarse la ropa means “to take off one’s clothes”. It helps to remember that quitar alone means “to remove”.
Desvestirse and desnudarse both mean “to undress oneself”, but desnudarse has the slightly more specific meaning of “to get naked”.
21. Echarse una siesta
Echarse una siesta means “to take a nap”. For example: Mi padre llega de trabajar a las tres, come y luego se echa una siesta de media hora (my dad gets home from work at 3pm, he has lunch and then he takes a 30 minutes nap).
22. Ver la televisión/tele
Ver la televisión or ver la tele means “to watch television”. Tele is simply an informal version of televisión—it’s like saying “TV” rather than “television”.
Picar can have a wide variety of meanings including “to sting” or “to chop”. However, perhaps most importantly, picar can mean “to snack on”. For example: ¿Te apetece picar algo después del trabajo? (Do you feel like taking a snack after work?).
Merendar means “to have an afternoon snack”. Similarly, it can mean “to have for an afternoon snack”. In Latin America, it can be “to have supper”, “to have dinner” or “to have an evening snack”.
Cenar means “to have dinner” or “to have for dinner”. Cena, on the other hand, is the noun for “dinner”.
Acostarse means “to lie down” or “to go to bed”. If you put someone else to bed (like a child), you can use acostar, but don’t forget to use me, te and le to indicate whom. For instance: Acuesto a Adriana a las ocho / La acuesto a las ocho (I put Adriana to bed at eight / I put her to bed at eight).
Dormirse usually means “to fall asleep”, but it can also mean “to oversleep” (context is key). When it isn’t part of the reflexive dormirse, dormir means “to sleep”.
Images: “computer” by perzonseowebbyra / “make up” by Egalo Palo (Freeimages.com) / “meat” by Klaus Post (Freeimages.com) / “sleep” by Jocilyn Pope (Freeimages.com)