Formal and informal ways of saying “Hello” in Spanish Posted by Magda on May 2, 2013 in Learning
I hope you are having a wonderful Thursday! Today we are going to have a quick review on how saying “Hello” in Spanish.
There are different ways of greeting each other, depending on the context and how close is our relationship with the addressee. In Spain it is very common to kiss people on both cheeks when you meet them, even if it is for the first time. Women will kiss other women and men, and men will kiss women and close male friends or family members.
“Buenos días” or “Buenas tardes” are very common greetings in Spanish, they are a good way to show respect, even when you are not having a conversation with the other person.
1. Greeting a Friend
¿Qué tal? (Hello, how are things?)
¿Cómo estás? (Hello, how are you?)
¿Qué haces? What are you doing?
¿Qué hay? (hello, what’s up?)
¿Cómo te va? How’s it going?
Buenos días (good morning)
Buenas tardes (good afternoon)
Buenas noches (good evening/good night)
Buenas / muy buenas (a shortened version of the above three greetings, suitable anytime more informal, suitable anytime)
Bien, gracias. / Muy bien. (Well, thanks. / Very well.)
Como siempre. (As always.)
Más o menos. Okay, so-so.
Todo bien. All good, great.
¿Y tú? (And you? A common follow-up question.)
2. The Formal Verbal Greeting
In formal situations, with strangers, more senior persons, we use “usted” instead of “tú”, and third person pronouns and verbs to show respect.
¿Cómo está usted?
¿Cómo le va?
3. Meeting someone for the first time
Mucho gusto. (Nice to meet you, often said while shaking hands and as an alternative to saying “encantado” if the other person says it first)
Encantado. / Encantado de conocerle. (How do you do. / Pleased to meet you)
1. Formal letters
Estimado señor/señora (Dear Sir / Madam)
Distinguido señor/ señora (Dear Sir / Madam)
NOTE: in Spanish we use a colon instead of a comma after name.
2. Less formal letters
Estimado amigo / José (Dear friend, Jose)
3. Informal letters
Querido amigo / José (Dear friend, Jose)
We will leave the “Goodbye” greetings for a next post. I hope you find it useful!
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