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The Essential phrases in Catalan you must know

The Essential phrases in Catalan you must know

Catalan is a romance language, one of the four official languages of Spain. It is spoken in various dialects across Catalunya, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. Since its geographic origin, which occupies a large Mediterranean area and rubs shoulders with France, the language shares many similar words with other romance languages such as French, Italian and Portuguese. 

Do you have a decent grasp of Spanish? You will want to add these following Catalan phrases to your list to really improve your life in Barcelona. 

Do you want to feel like a local while you live in Barcelona?

Catalonia is an autonomous region within Spain that has its own unique identity and culture, which includes its own language: Catalan. If you want to feel more comfortable living in Barcelona, you have to keep in mind some essential Catalan phrases.

Catalans will appreciate it a lot if you say your greetings in Catalan, it will attract a warm-hearted response. In this article you will find a few Catalan expressions that are not difficult to remember and it will help you to strengthen your daily relationship and your routine in the city. In this other article we mentioned the best museums in BarcelonaLearn more about the Catalan culture and read on!

Find out the most used catalan expressions, and most essential!

Phrases and expressions in catalan

Common Greetings and Pleasantries

Bon dia (bon dee-ah) / Hello

This is the official greeting in Catalan, especially if what you want to express is “good morning”. Therefore, if you can’t remember the phrase, a simple “hola” will be sufficient. 

Adéu (ah-deh-ou) / Goodbye

When it comes to saying goodbye, everyone says “adéu”. 

Merci (mehr-see) – Graciès (grah-see-ahs) / Thank you

The official Catalan word for “thank you” is “gràcies”, but in some places you will also hear people saying ‘’merci”. As you can notice, this word has a similitud with the French word to say “thank you”. 

De res (deh res) / You’re welcome

Do you want to show off your courteous side? Saying “de res” is the best option. This means “you are welcome” and it has the same meaning as “de nada” in Spanish. 

Si us plau (see oos plow) / Please

This is another expression that has similarities with French “s’il vous plaît”. Again, if you want to show off your courteous side, it is important to use this expression because there people use this phrase to ask for everything. 

Usual idioms and phrases

Fem un café? (fem un kah-feh) / Let’s have a coffee

This is used when someone asks someone else to grab a coffee. Catalans love a good coffee, first thing in the morning, after lunch, after a long and hard day at the office… 

Has begut oli (ahs beh-goot oh-lee) / You have drunk oil

This expression is usually used to tell someone “you have failed” to describe disappointment. For example, when someone has really messed something up, you can say “has begut oli”. 

S’ha acabat el bròquil (sah a-cah-bat el broh-queel) / The gig is up

This has nothing to do with your diet, it has the similar meaning to English idioms as “the gig is up” or “the show is over”. 

Quatre gats (kwat-reh gats) / Four cats

Is a common way of saying there are few people in a place. It is also the name of a famous café in Barcelona, similar to Le Chat Noir in Paris.

Aneu a escampar la boira (a-neigh-oo ah es-camp-ar la boy-rah) / Go escape the fog 

This means “leave me alone”, a clear sign that someone doesn’t want your company. 

Déu n’hi do! (day-oo nee-doh) / Wow!

This is a curious catalan expression, this phrase is used to express amazement and surprise. It can be translated as “wow” or “amazing”. 

For foodies: at the restaurant or bar

Puc veure el menú? (pook vor al men-oo) / Can I see the menu?

As you know, the majority of restaurants there have a menu, which most of the time includes three courses and a drink. To ask for this menu is used the question “puc veure el menú?”. 

Bon profit! (bon pro-feet) / Bon appetit!

When people are eating with other people or even someone sees someone else eating, it is very common to say “bon profit!”. 

El comte, si us plau (el com-teh see oos plow) / Check, please

This is used when you have to ask for the bill, it is a nice way to say it. 


You have now hopefully grasped the most important Catalan phrases in order to improve your quality of life in Barcelona, now strengthen your personal and work relationships! So adéu (goodbye) and que vagi bé (take care).

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