¿Cómo estás? - Everyday Spanish Greetings You Can Use (2024)

¿Cómo estás? - Everyday Spanish Greetings You Can Use (1)

May 2, 2022 by Luis F. Dominguez Spanish Instruction, Spanish Vocabulary 2 comments

Have you ever tried to start a conversation with a native Spanish speaker but didn’t know how to do it?

That’s normal and just part of the struggles every new learner of the language has to go through.

Luckily, I’m here to help by introducing you to the most common and useful Spanish greetings and farewells.

Keep reading to learn why greetings are so important in Spanish, the main types of Spanish greetings, and—most importantly—how to use them.

Table of Contents:

  • Why Greetings in Spanish Matter
  • Initial Greetings
  • Secondary Greetings
  • Farewells
  • Letter and Email Greetings
  • Phone Greetings
  • Practice These Spanish Greetings and Improve Your Spanish

Why Greetings in Spanish Matter

Greetings are a critical part of our conversations in any language. They are like a key that opens endless doors—and those doors are actually new people, new conversations, new connections.

However, Spanish greetings are particularly crucial, due to the importance given to personal relationships in this culture. If you’ve ever seen two Argentinians greet each other and compare that to how two Germans greet each other, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

The effusivity of the Latin greeting tells a lot about the importance given to it in the Spanish and Latin American cultures.

Just remember that in Spanish there are formal and informal “you” conjugations. Depending on the situation, you may have to use one or another. With this in mind, I specify which type of “you” is required in any given situation.

Initial Greetings

These are the greetings that open up conversations and shrink the distance between two people. As their name implies, these are the greetings that start a conversation.

Hola – Hello, hi

Hola is the most common Spanish greeting.

Although it’s considered informal by some, in reality you can say it to your best friend or to a complete stranger. It’s one of the best conversation starters in Spanish and it’s usually followed by one of the questioning greetings included below.

Hola, ¿cómo estás?
Hello, how are you?

¿Cómo estás? - Everyday Spanish Greetings You Can Use (2)

Buenos días – Good morning

Say buenos días from the early morning and all the way to noon. This basic phrase is more formal than a simple hola, but still can be used in informal contexts.

¡Buenos días vecino; disfrute su domingo!
Good morning neighbor; enjoy your Sunday!

¿Cómo estás? - Everyday Spanish Greetings You Can Use (3)

Buenas tardes – Good afternoon

Use buenas tardes from noon to sunset, although between 6 pm and 8 pm different people would either say buenas tardes or buenas noches (good night) depending on the amount of daylight and country of origin.

Sadly, Spanish doesn’t have the equivalent of “good evening” that would solve this issue.

Buenas tardes, ¿me puede decir a qué hora llega el siguiente tren?
Good afternoon, can you tell me at what time the next train arrives?

Buenas noches – Good night

Use this phrase after sunset to greet someone. It also serves as a farewell. Like buenos días, it works in both formal and informal situations.

Buenas noches, me voy a dormir.
Good night, I’m going to sleep,

¿Cómo estás? - Everyday Spanish Greetings You Can Use (4)

Secondary Greetings

Also known as “checking-in greetings,” these are the questions you use in Spanish to “check” how the other person is. It’s a common way to express your interest in the other person in a polite way.

¿Cómo estás? – How are you?

Arguably the most common questioning greeting in Spanish. ¿Cómo estás? usually comes after one of the initial greetings.

Although you’re asking about the other person’s mood and condition, an answer isn’t always expected. It’s an informal greeting, but if you change it just a little bit to ¿cómo está? it becomes a formal greeting.

Hola, ¿cómo estás?
Hi, how are you?

¿Qué tal? – How are you?

¿Qué tal? means pretty much the same thing as ¿cómo estás?, although you can add “how’s it going?” or “how are things?” as possible translations.

If anything, it’s more common to hear ¿qué tal? In Spain than in Latin America. Read this post about the differences between ¿qué tal? and ¿cómo estás?

Hola, ¿qué tal?
Hello, how’s it going?

¿Cómo te va? – How are you doing?

Here’s a list of questions that basically express the same idea as ¿cómo estás?.

¿Cómo te va? is one of the most popular ones.

¿qué haces?what are you up to?
¿cómo va tu día?how is your day going?
¿qué hay?what’s up?
¿qué hay de nuevo?what’s new?
¿qué pasa?what’s up?
¿cómo va todo?how’s everything going?
¿qué onda? (slang)what’s up?
¿quiubo? (slang)what’s up?
¿Cómo estás? - Everyday Spanish Greetings You Can Use (5)


When talking about Spanish greetings, it’s essential to consider goodbyes. They’re part of the same type of vocabulary you need to learn to master your conversations in Spanish.

Let’s take a look now at some of the most common farewells in Spanish.

nos vemos al ratosee you later
nos estamos viendosee you around
hasta luegosee you later
hasta mañanasee you tomorrow
hasta prontosee you soon
hasta la vistasee you soon
chao (slang)bye
que descansesrest up
cuídatetake care
que tenga un buen díahave a good day
¿Cómo estás? - Everyday Spanish Greetings You Can Use (6)

Letter and Email Greetings

When writing a formal letter or a business email, you need to use a formal vocabulary and specific Spanish greetings. Here are some of the most common ones:

Estimado Señor/Señora/Señorita _____Dear Mr./Mrs/ Miss _____
A quien correspondaTo whom it may concern
Reciba un cordial saludoI give you a warm greeting
Un cordial saludoCordial greetings
Le saludo atentamenteYours faithfully
Un saludo afectuosoWarm wishes

Phone Greetings

What do you say when you answer the phone in Spanish? If you aren’t sure, you’ll find the next table helpful.

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Practice These Spanish Greetings and Improve Your Spanish

Learning these useful Spanish greetings will take your conversations to the next level and get you one step closer to achieving Spanish fluency. If you have kids or young students, show them this fun video about Spanish greetings for kids. Once you watch it, practice the greetings with them using strategies such as flashcards or singing a Spanish greetings song.

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¿Cómo estás? - Everyday Spanish Greetings You Can Use (10)

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¿Cómo estás? - Everyday Spanish Greetings You Can Use (2024)


¿Cómo estás? - Everyday Spanish Greetings You Can Use? ›

Hola - Hello/hi (the most common greeting) Buenas tardes - Good afternoon/evening. Hey - Hi (variant) Buenas noches - Good night. Saludos - Greetings.

Which greeting can you use at any time of day Spanish? ›

Initial Greetings
SpanishEnglish equivalentContext
Buenas nochesGood night/Good eveningAfter the sun goes down / after dinnertime; could be used as a farewell
Muy buenas/buenasShort version of all the aboveAny time, as an informal “hello” (like shortening to “Morning” or “Afternoon”)
3 more rows

What is a common Spanish greeting? ›

Hola - Hello/hi (the most common greeting) Buenas tardes - Good afternoon/evening. Hey - Hi (variant) Buenas noches - Good night. Saludos - Greetings.

What are 3 formal greetings in Spanish? ›

Greetings for Groups or Individuals
Buenas tardesboo-EH-nas TAHR-dehs)Good afternoon.
Buenas nochesboo-EH-nas NOH-chesGood evening/good night.
Hasta luegoAHS-tah loo-EH-gohSo long.
Mucho gustoMOO-choh GOOS-tohPleased to meet you.
5 more rows

How do Spanish speakers often greet each other? ›

In Spain, people greet each other and say goodbye with a kiss on each cheek. Don't be mistaken - these aren't wet, sloppy kisses! In fact, these aren't really proper kisses at all. People usually touch their right cheeks together and make a kissing sound, then repeat the process on the left side.

Can you use Buenos días all day? ›

“Buenos días” is typically used from sunrise until noon. Unlike English, where “Good morning” is often used casually, “Buenos días” holds a tone of formality. It's commonly used in professional settings and when addressing people who you don't know well.

Can Hola be used at any time of day? ›

“Hola” can be used at any time of the day or night when we meet somebody. You can never go wrong with saying Hola. Just remember that the h is silent in Spanish, so the correct pronunciation of Hola is without the h (ola).

Is Como estas formal or informal? ›

If you'd like to say “Hello, how are you?” in Spanish, you can use “*Hola, ¿cómo estás?” (informal/singular). If you are greeting someone in a more formal setting, you'll want to use “Hola, ¿cómo está?” (formal/singular).

What to respond to como estas? ›

When someone asks you ¿Cómo estás? If you feel alright, you say estoy bien; you could also say, estoy muy bien, to give more emphasis, which means “very good” or “very well.” You can also add one extra word, gracias, meaning “thanks”, and estoy bien, gracias; it means “I'm fine, thank you.” 2.

What are the four forms of greeting? ›

"Good morning", "good afternoon", "good evening" — More formal verbal greetings used at the appropriate time of day. The similar "good night" and "good day" are more commonly used as phrases of parting rather than greeting, although in Australian English "G'day" is a very common greeting.

How do Hispanic people usually greet each other? ›

When greeting someone in Mexico, it is customary to make physical contact, rather than simply saying “hello.” A handshake is the most common form of greeting between strangers, though friends will usually greet each other with a single kiss on the cheek. The same physical gestures are repeated when you say goodbye.

How do Spanish people greet strangers? ›

Both in Latin America and in Spain greetings are generally handshaking and on informal occasions kissing on the cheek, even among strangers. In Colombia the usual greeting among men is a handshake. Women, however, prefer a verbal greeting or kiss on the cheek.

What is Como estás? ›

¿Cómo estás? (How are you?) It`s a question that they certainly ask you frequently when you come to Spain. Do you know what you have to answer? In this Spanish lesson, we will show you several expressions for being able to answer this question. For sure you will impress your Spanish friends.

How do you greet someone at 7pm in Spanish? ›

Hola means "Hello," and again, you can use it throughout the day. Let's move on to the next one, which is... Buenas noches significa, it means "Good evening." You can say "Good evening" from 7pm until midnight.

How do you greet someone in Spanish at 10pm? ›

Buenos días / buenas noches

This greeting is usually used after 8pm. Besides, you can also say “buenas noches” to with somebody good night before going to sleep.

Can we use greetings for the day at night? ›

“Greeting for the day” would never be used. “Greetings for the day” is grammatically correct but is centuries out of date; it would be understood but considered an odd thing to say. Depending on the time of day, one would say “good morning”, “good afternoon” or “good evening” as a greeting.

Can Buenos días be used in the afternoon? ›

Buenos Días

Typically, in a Spanish-speaking country, you could use this phrase from early in the morning until around 3 p.m. This is because, in many countries, lunch is a little later than it is in English-speaking countries. And until lunchtime, many languages still consider it to be the morning.

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