spanish surprise expressions

15 Spanish Expressions of Surprise You Must Know

Imagine an old friend you haven’t seen in ages shows up unexpectedly.

Or you receive a phone call from a lawyer informing you about inheritance you got from an estranged uncle.

No doubt you’d be surprised, wouldn’t you?

Today I’ll show you how to express surprise in Spanish with many useful phrases and examples.

The Must-Know Expressions of Surprise in Spanish

  • 🇪🇸 ¿Estás bromeando? – 🇬🇧 Are you kidding me?
  • 🇪🇸 ¡No me lo creo! – 🇬🇧 I can’t believe it!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡No me digas! – 🇬🇧 You don’t say!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Oh por Dios! – 🇬🇧 Oh my God!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Qué sorpresa! – 🇬🇧 What a surprise!
  • 🇪🇸 No me lo esperaba! – 🇬🇧 I didn’t see it coming!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡No puede ser! – 🇬🇧 No way!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Ay cielos! 🇬🇧 Good heavens!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Increible! – 🇬🇧 Unbelievable!
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Mentira! – 🇬🇧 It’s a lie! It can’t be true!
  • 🇪🇸 ¿En serio? – 🇬🇧 Seriously?
  • 🇪🇸 ¿De veras? – 🇬🇧 Really?
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Imposible! – 🇬🇧 ¡No way!
  • 🇪🇸 ¿Qué? – 🇬🇧 What?
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Guau! – 🇬🇧 Wow!

Showing emotions in Spanish

We use language to communicate not only facts, opinions, or ideas, but also how we feel about them. Do you know how to talk about feelings and emotions in Spanish?

Sometimes, a little change of intonation and tone can make your words sound angry, frustrated, scared, or cheerful. 

Even more useful – especially in a language that you are still learning – are short expressions, proper to that language, that convey a clear message about how you feel.

Take a look at the examples below to see how different “WOW” expressions can be used in Spanish to show surprise:

🇪🇸
A: ¿Supiste lo de Sofía? Está embarazada!
B: ¡No puede ser! ¿De nuevo? 
🇬🇧
A: Have you heard about Sofía? She’s pregnant!
B: No way! Again?

🇪🇸
A: Feliz cumpleaños Carlos! Te traje un regalito!
B: ¡Pero qué sorpresa! No pensé que te acordarías.
🇬🇧
A: Happy birthday Carlos! I got you a little something!
B: What a surprise! I didn’t think you’d remember.

🇪🇸
A: Te tengo una tremenda noticia. A Juan lo van a ascender a gerente de finanzas.
B: ¿Estás bromeando? ¡¿Pero si entró a la empresa hace solo un par de meses?!
🇬🇧
A: I have huge news for you. Juan is going to get promoted to CFO.
B: Are you kidding? But he started working here only a couple of months ago?!

🇪🇸
A: Mamá, ¡adivina qué! Me saqué la mejor nota del curso!
B: ¿En serio? ¡Te felicito! ¡Bien hecho!
🇬🇧
A: Mom, guess what! I got the best note in the whole class!
B: Really? Congrats! Good job!

🇪🇸
A: Ayer me junté con Julio. Me contó que había terminado con Paula.
B: ¡Mentira! Se veían tan felices! Me pregunto que habrá pasado.
🇬🇧
A: I got together with Julio yesterday. He told me Paula and he broke up.
B: It can’t be true! They seemed so happy together! I wonder what had happened.

🇪🇸
A: Abuela, ¡Juanito se ha caido de la escalera!
B: Ay cielos, espero que no se haya roto nada!
🇬🇧
A: Grandma, Juanito has fallen off the stairs!
B: Good heavens, I hope he hasn’t broken anything!

🇪🇸
A: María me contó que Carlos no se acordó de su aniversario.
B: ¿En serio? No me lo esperaba de él. Se veía tan enamorado.
🇬🇧
A: María told me that Carlos didn’t remember about their anniversary. 
B: Really? I didn’t expect that from him. He seemed so in love!

🇪🇸
A: Oye, Los Rodriguez del piso 3 de nuevo tuvieron una fiesta a todo volumen!
B: ¡No me digas! Y apuesto que ni siquiera se disculparon por el ruido.
🇬🇧
A: Listen, the Rodriguez from the 3rd floor had another one of their loud parties.
B: You don’t say! And I bet they didn’t even apologize for the noise. 

🇪🇸
A: ¿Qué te parece mi nuevo peinado?
B: ¡Guau! Te ves súper guapa. ¡Y pareces 10 años más joven!
🇬🇧
A: ¿What do you think about my new hairdo?
B: Wow! You look so pretty. And you seem 10 years younger!

🇪🇸
A: ¡Luisa y Ramón se casan en Octubre!
B: ¿Qué? ¡No tenía idea!
🇬🇧
A: Luisa and Ramón are getting married in October.
B: What? I had no idea!

Local expressions of surprise in different Spanish speaking countries.

Spanish is spoken in 20 different countries and each version is slightly different. Those differences concern not only pronunciation and grammar, but also specific vocabulary that has developed over time.

What are some local expressions of surprise in countries like Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Mexico, or Spain?

Here is a small selection:

México

🇲🇽
A: Mira, güey, mi carro nuevo.
B: ¡Órale! Y desde cuando ganas tanto?
🇬🇧
A: Look, dude, my new car.
B: Wow! Since when do you earn so much money!

Chile

🇨🇱
A: ¿Cachaste que la Juana renunció a su pega?
B: Chuta, no tenía idea! ¿Y por qué?
🇬🇧
A: ¿Have you heard Juana quit her job?
B: Gee, I had no idea! And why?

Spain

🇪🇸
A: Por fin me dieron la beca!
B: Ostia, tío, qué buena noticia!
🇬🇧
A: I finally got the grant!
B: Wow, man, this is great news!

Argentina

🇦🇷
A: Che, boludo, ¿querés que te cuente algo? El boliche de la calle Merced va a cerrar!
B: ¿Me estás cargando? Y vos como lo supiste?
🇬🇧
A: Hey, dude, do you want me to tell you something? The club on the Merced street is going to close.
B: ¿Are you kidding me? And how do you know that?

Venezuela

🇻🇪
A: Chama, te tengo que contar una vaina. El Juan Antonio está súper enfermo. 
B: ¡Qué broma! ¿Sabes que tiene?
🇬🇧
A: Girl, I need to tell you something. Juan Antonio is very sick.
B: ¡No way! Do you know what’s wrong with him?

***

As you can see, Spanish is a very colorful and expressive language. 

No matter if you are A2 or C1, I strongly encourage you to try to incorporate more emotion when you communicate in this language.

The expressions of surprise that I have shown you today will make your Spanish sound more natural and real. 

Remember, you can’t master a foreign language only through textbooks and grammar exercises. The best way to learn is through conversations. 

And if you run out of good conversation topics, check out my post with many great conversation starter ideas in Spanish. 

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Joanna Lupa

Joanna Lupa

Polish by birth, Chilean by the turns of life. Has spent 20 years in that beautiful South American country working as a language teacher and translator. Has taught Spanish and English to students of all proficiency levels. Passionate about languages, books, and traveling. A mother of 2 trilingual teenagers.