The 3 Spanish Words You Must Know

Tres Palabras (TRAYS  pah-LAH-brahs) Three Words

There are 3. They are sacred.

There are three words everyone must know in English and Spanish.

No, they are not cerveza (sayr-BAY-sah), baño (BAHN-yoh), and mierda (MYAYR-dah).  Yes, beer, bathroom, and shit are good to know, but they won’t save lives. And if they will save lives…. well then, you’ve got some extraordinary issues on your jobsite.



The three words relate to Safety:

1. Casco (KAHS-koh) Hardhat

2. Mira (MEE-rah) Look

3. Cuidado (kwee-DAH-doh) Careful


These three words have the ability to save lives when you need to communicate in a split-second to avoid disaster.

Lock these into memory now, so mentally recalling them and saying them with confidence will be second nature to you when the time comes to point out someone’s imminent demise on your job.

These three words are perfect for Caveman Spanish – where instead of grunting and pointing (like all good Cavemen did), you say the Spanish word and then point at some object of interest.



CASCO (KAHS-koh) Hardhat

They say pictures are worth a thousand words. Some are worth just one. Such is the case with casco.

If you’ve ever mentioned the warehouse retail giant Costco, you said hardhat in Spanish. They are pronounced the same. If it helps, here is a dumb one-liner to help make it stick: “The prices are falling so fast at Casco, you better wear a Hardhat.


MIRA (MEE-rah) Look

I’ve used ¡Mira! to save lives on my jobsite. Whether it was a box truck backing up over a b-box (we would have killed the driver) or the brainless destruction of food goods (a landscaper nearly sat on a plate full of home-made cookies from a homeowner), the timely exclamation of ¡Mira! saved the day.

OK – maybe those aren’t the best examples, but you get the idea.

To remember this, just think of Mira Sorvino. The Academy Award winner (she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her 1995 performance in Mighty Aphrodite) is dangerously positioned beneath a terribly sloppy mason. I need to get her atenciónand I need it now!





CUIDADO (kwee-DAH-doh) Careful

There is currently a vacancy in the Red Angle Visual Language Library (RAVLL) for Cuidado. I hate to say it, but at the present time, I don’t have a clever photoshopped image to make this easy to remember.

You may have to (gasp!) memorize it.

Or better yet – let me know your ideas on how we all can remember how to say ¡Cuidado!



Bradley Hartmann is founder and el presidente at Red Angle (, a Spanish language training firm focused on the construction industry. He likes Costco, Mira Sorvino, beer and bathrooms. Read Hartmann’s recent article on The Simple 3.25 Steps you can take to solve problems:ñol-/10FCP212920FCP21128

Categories: Jobsite Leadership

Tags: , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. Hey Big Red..
    How bout this for a ‘Careful’ image reminder:
    Homer Simpson about to do something dangerous,.. ‘Doh!’ -Cuidado, dumby

    -what’s the trademark royalties on this?!
    Dig the blog; keep streaming out the good info.


  1. Who’s Got Yer Back? « redanglespanish

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