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Published on: Grammar Bites

How to give, accept or refuse an invitation in Spanish

Now that the end-of-the-year holidays are coming up, it’s the perfect time to review how to extend an invitation to someone or how to accept/refuse an invitation we received.

Let’s take a look at some frequently used expressions to help us sound like a Spanish native speaker!


There are different questions we can use to give out an invitation, usually featuring verbs such as querer, apatecer, gustar, parecer:

  • ¿Quieres ir a al cine el sábado? Would you like to go to the movies on Saturday?
  • ¿Les apetece probar el nuevo restaurante este fin de semana? Would you like to try the new restaurant this weekend?
  • ¿Te gustaría pasar Día de Gracias con nosotros? Would you like to spend Thanksgiving with us?
  • ¿Qué les parece si vamos a Madrid por el fin de semana largo? How about if we go to Madrid for the long weekend?
  • ¿Por qué no vienen con nosotros a la playa? Why don’t you come over to the beach with us?

There are many different ways to accept an invitation, starting with the simple “Sí, gracias” to some more cordial and/or emphatic phrases, such as:

  • ¡Sí, me gustaría! Yes, I would love to!
  • ¡Perfecto, gracias! Perfect, thanks.
  • ¡De acuerdo! Sounds great!
  • Con mucho gusto. I’d be happy to.
  • Me parece bien / fantástico / fenomenal, etc. It sounds good, great, amazing, etc.

To work out the details of when and where to meet, you can follow up with:

  • ¿Dónde quedamos? Where should we meet?
  • ¿A qué hora quedamos? At what time should we meet / should I be there?
  • ¿Podemos quedar sobre las …? Can we meet up around…?
  • Prefiero quedar antes de / después de… I’d rather meet before / after….

a) When refusing an invitation, it’s important to use phrases like “lo siento” or “desafortunadamente” as a mark of cordiality that help soften the refusal:

  • Lo siento, pero hoy no puedo. Estoy muy ocupado -a. I’m sorry, but I can’t today. I’m very busy.
  • Gracias, pero no me apetece / deseo. Thank you, but I don’t feel like it.
  • Desafortunadamente, no puedo. Tengo prisa. Unfortunately / I’m afraid I can’t. I’m in a hurry.
  • Me gustaría, pero hoy no puedo. Estoy cansado – a. I would love to, but I can’t today. I’m tired.

b) If we would like to accept, but we have a more pressing obligation, we can use the phase tener que + infinitivo to explain this prior need or obligation:

  • Lo siento, no puedo. Tengo que estudiar para un examen de la universidad. I’m sorry, I can’t go. I have to study for a college exam.
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