"How Are You?" in Spanish: 8 Ways to Change Up This Greeting (2024)

"How Are You?" in Spanish: 8 Ways to Change Up This Greeting (1)

By hannahgreenwald Last updated:

“Hey, what’s up?”

“How’s it going?”

“How have you been?”

In our everyday encounters with other people, we use these phrases over and over.

In this post, you’ll learn eight other ways to say “How are you?” in Spanish that are a little more exciting.

I’ll even provide some appropriate responses.


  • The Basic Greeting: ¿Cómo Estás?
  • Why You Should Go Beyond the Basics with “How Are You?”
  • “How Are You?” in Spanish: 8 Ways to Change Up This Greeting
    • ¿Cómo andas (tú)?
    • ¿Qué me cuentas?
    • ¿Cómo te va?
    • ¿Cómo va todo?
    • ¿Cómo van las cosas?
    • ¿Qué tal?
    • ¿Qué hay?
    • ¿Qué pasa?

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

The Basic Greeting: ¿Cómo Estás?

You have to learn the basics before you can move past them, of course.

The most basic greeting that you would use to ask “How are you?” to one person, in an informal setting, is:

¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)

A slight variation on this greeting is ¿Cómo estás tú? This means exactly the same thing, but includes the optional pronoun (you).

In Spanish, the way you conjugate a verb changes depending on how many people you’re addressing, and on whether you’re in a formal or informal situation. In this case, the important verb is estar (to be).

(If you’re unclear on verb conjugation, check out this basic guide to conjugating the Spanish present tense.)

So, depending on who you’re speaking to, you may have to slightly adjust your conjugation. For each of the examples below, I’ll provide the appropriate pronoun in parentheses. Just like in the example above, these pronouns are optional and do not affect the meaning of the sentence.

¿Cómo está (usted)?

The pronoun usted refers to a singular “you” in a formal situation. Use this greeting when talking to a stranger, someone much older than you or someone in a position of superiority. For example, you might use ¿Cómo está? when greeting your friend’s grandfather, your boss, your professor, the queen of Spain and so on. Visit this post to learn more about when to use túvs.usted, including example sentences and tips.

¿Cómo están (ustedes)?

Ustedes refers to a plural “you.” Use it when greeting two or more people at the same time.

Across Latin America, ustedes can be used in formal or informal situations. In Spain, it’s used exclusively in formal situations (like usted).

¿Cómo estáis (vosotros)?

If you happen to be speaking Spanish in Spain, use vosotros when talking to a group of people in an informal situation, such as when you’re speaking to a group of friends.

There are many ways to respond to the greeting “How are you?”

In Spanish, a safe response is:

Bien, gracias. ¿Y tú? (Fine, thanks. And you?)

This is a polite and simple way to keep the conversation going.

Of course, if you’re in a formal situation or talking to more than one person, you’ll want to substitute for usted, ustedes or vosotros where appropriate.

Why You Should Go Beyond the Basics with “How Are You?”

Sure, the abovewill get you through basic Spanish conversations. But why stop there? There are tons of ways to greet and be greeted in Spanish—it’s a good idea to know more than one.

Learning alternate greetings can allow you to vary your tone to suit more formal or casual situations. You wouldn’t greet your best friend the same way you would greet a client, right? It’s the same in Spanish—different greetings sound more natural in different company.

Plus, varying your speech patterns helps you sound more like a native speaker. I’ll bet when you talk in English, you don’t constantly repeat the phrase “How are you?” You probably change it up with phrases like “How’s it going?” or “What’s going on?” Moving beyond “How are you?” means moving beyond classroom Spanish and learning real-world Spanish.

Not to mention, learning slangy alternatives to common phrases can be a lot of fun. If you’re ever unsure about a slang term, language learner forums like the ones at WordReference can be great resources. You can also check out the meaning of slang words with the contextual dictionary on FluentU. Once you find the meaning of a new word, you can create a flashcard of it and see how it’s used by native speakers in the authentic Spanish videos of the program’s library.

Finally, it’s good to expand your vocabulary because—duh!—native speakers will use these phrases when they talk to you! When they do, you’ll want to understand and be able to respond.

“How Are You?” in Spanish: 8 Ways to Change Up This Greeting

For each of these greetings, I’ll let you know how to politely respond. You can, of course, also respond to any of these greetings by letting your conversation partner know how you’re actually doing.

But when you’re talking with strangers or acquaintances, it’s good to know how to give a noncommittal response like “It’s all good” or “Oh, nothing much.”

Unclear on how to pronounce any of the words in this post? Forvo is a great resource with crowd-sourced pronunciations provided by native speakers.

¿Cómo andas (tú)?

The verb andar means “to walk” or “to go,” so this greeting is similar to the English “How’s it going?” It’s slightly more casual and slangy than the basic ¿Cómo estás?

Andar is a regular -ar verb, so its other conjugations are:

¿Cómo anda (usted)?

¿Cómo andan (ustedes)?

¿Cómo andáis (vosotros)?

You can respond to this in the same way you would respond to ¿Cómo estás?An answer like Bien (good), Bastante bien (pretty good) or Muy bien (very good) is appropriate.

¿Qué me cuentas?

This greeting is quite slangy. It literally translates to “What do you tell me?” Think of it as a Spanish equivalent to the English “What’s going on?”

It would be a little awkward to use this greeting in the usted form since it’s so informal—but here are all of the conjugations just in case.

Forusted:¿Qué me cuenta?

For ustedes: ¿Qué me cuentan?

For vosotros: ¿Qué me contáis?

Note here that contar is a stem-changing verb!

If someone asked you “What’s going on?” in English, you might respond with “Oh, not much.” It’s similar in Spanish. If someone asks you ¿Qué me cuentas? you might respond with something like:


Nada en especial.(Nothing special.)

Lo normal.(The usual.)

No mucho.(Not much.)

It would sound a little strange to respond with something like Bien, gracias. This might be tricky to keep track of, but if you practice enough, you’ll unconsciously start to realize what response sounds right and what sounds awkward.

¿Cómo te va?

This greeting translates to something like “How’s it going?” It can be used in formal or informal situations. In this case, to change the greeting you’ll have to change the indirect object pronoun from te to le, les or os.

For usted: ¿Cómo le va?

For ustedes: ¿Cómo les va?

For vosotros: ¿Cómo os va?

When responding to this, you can re-use the verb va (it goes), from the infinitiveir(to go).

Me va bien.(It’s going well.)

Me va mal.(It’s going badly.)

You can replace bien or mal with any other appropriate adjective you can think of. Some examples are espectacular (spectacular), genial (great), normal (normal), regular (just okay) or terrible (terrible).

¿Cómo va todo?

Very similar to the last one, this phrasetranslates to “How’s everything going?”

Luckily, in this case there are no verbs to conjugate and no indirect objects to change around—you can use this same greeting regardless of what situation you’re in.

To respond, you can say Va todo ___, filling in whatever adjective suits your mood. (See above for examples.)

¿Cómo van las cosas?

This greeting means “How are things?” Like the previous case, there is no need for conjugation here, since the verb van (they go) refers to the noun las cosas (the things).

If somebody asks you this,you can respond with a simple Bien (good) or Mal (bad), or you can make a full sentence such as:

Las cosas van bien.(Things are going well.)

¿Qué tal?

Thisis an informal greeting to be used among friends in a casual setting. It is similar to the English “What’s up?”

However, unlike the English “What’s up?” you should not respond to ¿Qué tal?with “Nothing much” or any variant thereof. Instead, respond with an adjective—bien, mal, regular, genial, terrible,etc.—like you would respond to¿Cómo estás?

¿Qué hay?

This super informal greeting literally translates to “What is there?” and should only be used in very casual, friendly situations. You can think of it as a shortening of ¿Qué hay de nuevo? (What’s new?). Again, no conjugations to worry about here.

A good, appropriately casual response to this greeting would be something like Todo bien (all good) or No me quejo (can’t complain).

¿Qué pasa?

This Spanish greeting has crossed over into English-language slang, so you may already be familiar with it! It’s another super colloquial way to ask “What’s up?” or “What’s going on?”

A normal response would be some variant ofNadaorLo normal.See the section on¿Qué me cuentas?for some examples of good responses.

The next time you have to greet someone in Spanish, move out of your comfort zone!

You wouldn’t just repeat “How are you?” over and over again in your native language, and there’s no reason to do so in Spanish.

Native speakers will pick up on your varied vocabulary, and it’ll make you sound much more natural.

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

"How Are You?" in Spanish: 8 Ways to Change Up This Greeting (2024)


"How Are You?" in Spanish: 8 Ways to Change Up This Greeting? ›

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).

How are you Spanish greetings? ›

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 are two ways to ask how are you in Spanish? ›

How to say “How are you?” in Spanish
Hi, how are you?Hola, ¿cómo estás?oh-la koh-mo ehs-tahs
Hi, how are you? (plural)Hola, ¿Cómo están?oh-la koh-mo ehs-tahn
How are you?¿Qué tal?keh tal
How's it going?¿Cómo te va?ko-mo teh va
8 more rows
Aug 7, 2022

How are greetings different in Spanish? ›

For verbal greeting, “¡Hola!” is used as a valid and neutral greeting almost any occasion yet on formal occasions, it will be more correct to use expressions like “¡Buenos días!”, “¡Buenas tardes!” and “¡Buenas noches!” which also can be used to say goodbye.

How are you in a formal way? ›

How's it going? This is a classic in naturally flowing English. Well this is considered a little bit more formal; you can use this greeting for almost anyone and any situation, except for maybe the most formal situations. It is more a question of hello and some new life updates that you're looking for.

How many different ways can you say hello in Spanish? ›

Casual and informal greetings in Spanish
EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
Hi, there!¡Hola, hola!ˈola ˈola
Hi, my loveHola, mi amorˈola mj aˈmoɾ
What's up?¿Qué onda?ˈke ˈõnda
8 more rows
Dec 13, 2021

What are the 4 different words for you in Spanish? ›

Tú, usted, ustedes, vos and vosotros all mean “you” in Spanish.

Are there different ways to say you in Spanish? ›

As mentioned with the stars, there are five ways to address people and ”you” in Spanish: tú, usted, ustedes, vos and vosotros. Each word has a different function, which depends on who you are talking to, how many people, and if the situation is formal or informal.

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.

How do you say warm greetings in Spanish? ›

May I offer them my warmest greetings. Reciban mis más cordiales saludos.

How do you end a greeting in Spanish? ›

Here are some examples, from least to most formal:
  1. Saludos (Regards)
  2. Un saludo cordial/Saludos cordiales (Best wishes/Kind regards)
  3. Atentamente (Sincerely)
  4. Muy atentamente/Muy cordialmente (Yours sincerely)
Mar 10, 2023

What are the different ways of greeting? ›

13 Ways to Greet Someone
  • Hello. This is the most basic greeting in English. ...
  • Hi. This is a shorter version of "hello". ...
  • Hey. Now, "hey" is definitely more casual than "hi" or "hello". ...
  • Good morning. / Good afternoon. / Good evening. ...
  • It's nice to meet you. ...
  • It's a pleasure to meet you. ...
  • It's good to see you again. ...
  • What's up?

How do you greet in 5 different languages? ›

A Close Look at Hello in 15 Languages
  1. Chinese (Mandarin) Formal: 您好 (nín hǎo) Informal: 你好 (nǐ hǎo) ...
  2. 2. Japanese. Formal: こんにちは (Konnichiwa) ...
  3. Korean. Formal: 안녕하세요 (Anyeonghaseyo) ...
  4. French. Formal: Bonjour. ...
  5. Spanish. Both Formal and Informal: Hola. ...
  6. German. Formal: Hallo. ...
  7. Italian. Formal: Salve. ...
  8. Hindi. Formal: नमस्ते (Namaste)
Jul 22, 2023

What is a typical greeting in Spanish? ›

hello Hola

What does muchos saludos mean? ›

The first common scenario you'll hear is when people use saludos to say, “Say hi to so and so for me”. For example: (Muchos) Saludos a tu familia. Literally: (Many) Greetings to your family.

Is Mucho Gusto a greeting? ›

Mucho Gusto

This phrase means “nice to meet you.” It is obviously used when you're meeting someone for the first time.

How do I 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.


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