How to Say How Are You in Spanish

Опубликовал Admin
24-11-2020, 01:00
You may already know to say hola to greet someone in Spanish. Typically, after that greeting, you would ask "How are you?" The most common way of asking "How are you?" in Spanish is “¿Cómo estás?” (koh-moh ehs-tahs). However, there are several other ways you can ask a similar question to find out how someone is doing. Beyond that, there are many ways to respond when someone asks you this question.

Printable Cheat Sheet

Asking "How Are You?"

  1. Say “¿Cómo estás?” (koh-moh ehs-tahs) in most situations. "¿Cómo estás?" is the most basic way to say "How are you?" This phrase is appropriate in almost any context when talking to almost any person, whether you previously knew them or not. However, there is a more formal version, used particularly in Central American countries.
    • Note that there are two verbs in Spanish that mean "to be:" estar and ser. However, estar is used in this context because it implies a more temporary state, whereas ser is used to talk about a permanent condition or state of being.
    • Because verbs are conjugated to agree with the pronoun, you can leave off the pronoun and the sentence will still mean the same thing. The pronoun is inferred by the conjugation of the verb.
  2. Use "¿Cómo está usted?" (koh-moh ehs-tah oos-tehd) when you need to be more polite. There really isn't a formal way to say "How are you?" in Spanish. However, "¿Cómo está usted?" is used, primarily in Central America, when talking to someone who is older than you or in a position of authority.
    • It also doesn't hurt to use this phrase when talking to an adult you've never met before, as it conveys respect.
    • You can drop the pronoun usted and simply ask "¿Cómo está?" It means the same thing and will convey the same level of respect.
  3. Ask "¿Cómo están?" (koh-moh ehs-tahn) if you're greeting multiple people. If you walk up to a group of people and want to greet all of them, you might ask "¿Cómo están?" The verb is conjugated for the plural "you," so this is similar to saying "How are y'all doing?" or "How are you guys doing?" in English.
    • To make this question informal, ask "¿Cómo estais?" (koh-moh ehs-tah-iss)
    • Keep in mind that in some Spanish speaking cultures, it might be considered more polite to ask this question of each person in the group individually, rather than addressing the group as a whole.

Using Similar Questions

  1. Try alternatives to "¿Cómo estás?" in informal settings. Just as in English and other languages, there are informal ways to say "How are you" in Spanish. These alternatives could be roughly translated as the equivalent to saying "what's happening" or "what's up" in English. They're appropriate in casual social situations or when talking to people around your own age who you know fairly well, so you should only use them in relatively informal situations with people you know or people who are your age or younger. Some alternatives are:
    • "¿Qué pasa?" (keh pah-sah)
    • "¿Cómo va?" (koh-moh vah)
    • "¿Qué tal?" (keh tahl)
    • "¿Qué haces?" (keh ahs-ehs)
  2. Experiment with regional slang in casual contexts. Different Spanish-speaking countries also have different phrases that serve as alternatives to "¿Cómo estás?" Regional or local slang can make your Spanish seem more natural. Since they're slang, they're typically only appropriate in social settings when greeting people around your own age. Some examples are:
    • "¿Qué onda?" (keh ohn-dah): Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile
    • "¿Cómo andas?" (koh-moh ahn-dahs): Argentina, Spain
    • "¿Qué hubo?" (keh ooh-boh): Mexico, Chile, Colombia
    • "¿Pura vida?" (poo-rah vee-dah): Costa Rica
  3. Use "¿Cómo te sientes?" (koh-moh tay see-ehn-tay) to ask someone how they feel. With "¿Cómo te sientes?" you're literally asking someone how they are feeling. This question is typically more appropriate if you know someone hasn't been feeling well lately. Generally, it's not used as a direct alternative to "¿Cómo estás?"
    • If you're not familiar with the person, you might instead ask "¿Cómo se siente?" (koh-moh say see-ehn-tay) It's the same question, but using a more formal pronoun.

Responding to the Question

  1. Say "bien" (bee-ehn) in most situations. English-speakers typically don't take "How are you?" literally, and neither do Spanish speakers in most situations. Just as you would respond to the question with "fine" or "good" in English, in Spanish you would most often answer "bien (bee-ehn).
    • After you say "bien" (bee-ehn), always follow up with "gracias," (grah-see-ahs), which means thank you.
    • Even if you're feeling absolutely terrible, it's not really considered appropriate to come right out and say it. You might try "Bien...¿o te cuento?" (bee-ehn oh tay coo-ehn-toh) which means "Good... or shall I really tell you about it?"
  2. Switch to "más o menos" (mahs oh meh-nohs) if you don't feel quite as enthusiastic. If you're having a rough day and don't feel so "bien," but don't want to say so (which would be awkward), you can use "más o menos" (mahs oh meh-nohs), which means "so-so." The English equivalent would be responding "I'm alright" or "I'm okay."
    • You can also say "así así (ah-see ah see) which means basically the same thing.
  3. Follow up with "¿Y tú?" to turn the question around to the other person. If you weren't the first person to ask, it's polite to ask "¿Y tú?" after responding to the other person's question. This literally means "And you?"
    • The flow of conversation is similar to what you would have in English. Someone says "hello" and asks how you're doing. You would likely respond "Fine, and you?" Follow the same social cues in Spanish as well.
  4. Explain how you feel with the phrase "me siento" (may see-ehn-toh). This is the appropriate way to respond if someone asks you "¿Cómo te sientes?" Usually, if someone asks you this question, they know that you've not been feeling well lately, and they want to know if you're feeling any better. This person will usually be a friend or close acquaintance.
    • If you're feeling a little better, you might reply "Me siento un poco mejor" (may see-ehn-toh oohn poh-coh meh-hohr).
    • You could also add a description for how you feel, particularly if you're not feeling any better. For example, you might say "Me siento mareado," or "I feel queasy."


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