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Last names in Spanish

Corporate Spanish Trainer

Last names in Spanish – 5 notes
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Bienvenidos a The Spanish Trainer’s Blog – Spanish Blog 365

Hoy hablamos de los apellidos.

5 notes about last names:

Using señor, señora & señorita

A. If you don’t know the person and you want to get their attention, you could say:

Disculpe, Señor. – Excuse me, Sir.
Disculpe, Señora. – Excuse me, Ma’am / Ms.
Disculpe, Señorita. – Excuse me, Miss.


B. If you know the person and are being more formal when talking directly to them, you would use the title above with their last name.

Buenos días, Señor Garcia. – Good morning, Mr. Garcia.
Buenas tardes, Señora Acevedo. – Good afternoon, Mrs. Acevedo.
Buenas tardes, Señorita Trujillo. – Good evening, Miss Trujillo.


C. If you are taking about the person and they are not present, you would say the following:

El Señor Romero es mi vecino. – Mr. Romero is my neighbor.
La Señora Hernández está en su oficina. – Mrs. Hernandez is in her office.
La Señorita Vargas es muy buena maestra. – Miss. Vargas is a really good teacher.



When you mention a family to say, for example, the Smiths, in Spanish use…

Los + the last name in the singular

Los Martínez viven en México. – The Martinez’ live in México.



It’s common that Spanish-speakers have 2 last names.

Pablo Ruiz Picasso
The first last name, Ruiz, es de su padre. El segundo, Picasso, es de su madre.

If you are alphabetizing by last name, you would file under the first last name.


Last names ending in –ez translate as, hijo de...
In English there are last names such as Peterson, which means son of Peter or Johnson, son of John

In Spanish, -ez is similar

Martínez – hijo de Martín
Rodríguez – hijo de Rodrigo
González – hijo de Gonzalo
Hernández – hijo de Hernando o Hernán
López – hijo de Lope


Some last names translate into other words in English.

Castillo – castle
Cruz – cross
Delgado – thin
Hidalgo – nobleman
Reyes – kings
Rios – rivers
Romero – rosemary (an herb)
Rubio – blonde


Action steps:
1. Observe last names and notice if they fit into any of these categories.
2. Practice using rules 1, 2 & 3 above.
3. Come back tomorrow.

Gracias y hasta pronto,