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Formal and informal ways of saying “Hello” in Spanish Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Basic, 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.

 

Speaking

1. Greeting a Friend

Hola (Hello)
¿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 tarde
s (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.
Mal.  Bad.
Todo bien.  All good, great.
Nada.  Nothing.
¿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?
¿Qué hace?


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)

Writing

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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About the Author: Magda

Hi all! I’m Magda, a Spanish native speaker writing the culture posts in the Transparent Language Spanish blog. I have a Bachelor’s in English Philology and a Master’s in Linguistics and Literature from the University of Granada, in Spain. I have also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and then worked as an English teacher in several schools and academies for several years. Last year was my first at university level. In addition, I work as a private tutor, teaching English and Spanish as a foreign language to students and adults. In my free time, I’m an avid reader and writer, editing and collaborating in several literary blogs. I have published my first poetry book recently. And last but not least, I love photography!


Comments:

  1. Mohammed:

    Hi,
    would you post goodbye articles pls.
    Regds,
    Muhammed

    • Magda:

      @Mohammed Sure! You´ll have it soon!

      • khavi:

        @Magda When we will meet strangers first we can kiss both cheeks

  2. Dave:

    How would you say various ways of hello in really slang type terms. eg in england we could say, wothca? easy, wassup, howdy. loads of various things as well as the standard stuff. is there other stuff peculiar stuff spaniards say for hello?

  3. Brenda:

    Estimado Magda
    Is the Spanish spoken in Ecuador the same as in Spain or are there significant colloquial differences?
    Regards
    Brenda

  4. Daylina:

    How do you greet your middle school teacher in spanish