Language Guide
Vocabulary
Greetings in Spanish

Greetings in Spanish

Quick Answer

The type of greeting that you can use in Spanish depends greatly on the formality of the situation that you find yourself in. Here are three ways to greet someone in Spanish:

Formal GreetingInformal GreetingVery Informal Greeting

Hola, ¿cómo está usted?

 

¿Cómo te va?

 

¿Qué onda?

 

The Importance of a Greeting

A greeting is a basic form of courtesy in human society. It’s a simple way to show someone unfamiliar that you are friendly and/or respectful. It’s important to understand how to be able to greet someone in all types of social situations, whether they be very formal or very informal. In this article, we’ll show you different ways to greet someone in Spanish so that the next time you encounter a Spanish-speaker, you’ll be able to show off your manners.

Formal Greetings

You can use the greetings in the following list in basically any situation. Remember that in Spanish,  , vos , usted , ustedes , and vosotros  are all ways to say you. To make the list simpler, we’ll just show the Spanish greetings that use usted and ustedes (in the masculine form).

List of Formal Greetings

SpanishEnglish
Hola.
 
Hello.
¿Cómo está?  (formal singular)How are you?
¿Cómo están?  (formal plural)How are you?
Hola, ¿cómo está?  (formal singular)Hello. How are you?
Hola, ¿cómo están?  (formal plural)How are you?
Mucho gusto.
 
It’s nice to meet you.
Gusto en verlo.  (formal singular)It’s nice to see you.
Gusto en verlos.  (formal plural)It’s nice to see you.
Buenos días.
 
Good morning.
Buenas tardes.
 
Good afternoon.
Buenas noches.
 
Good evening.

Remember that Spanish has formal and informal forms of you:

  • is used when talking to people you know, like your friends, or people the same age as you or younger.
  • Usted is used when talking to someone you don’t know, someone older, or someone to whom you wish to show respect and formality.

Want to learn more about the differences between and usted? Check out our article on the Spanish you.

Now let’s take a look at a snippet of dialogue between two doctors that don’t know each other very well.

Dr. Jones:
Hola. ¿Cómo está? 
Hello. How are you?
Dr. Smith:
Estoy bien, gracias. ¿Cómo está? 
I’m doing well, thank you. How are you?
Dr. Jones:
Muy bien. Gracias por preguntar. 
Very well. Thank you for asking.

Informal Greetings

The greetings in this list are a little more informal. They can also be used in many social situations, from an encounter between friends to interactions with coworkers.

List of Informal Commands

SpanishEnglish
Hola.
 
Hi. / Hey.
¿Cómo estás?  (informal singular)How’re you? / How are you doing?
¿Cómo están?  (informal plural)How’re you? / How are you doing?
Hola, ¿cómo estás?  (informal singular)Hi. How’re you?
Hola, ¿cómo están?  (informal plural)Hi. How’re you?
¿Qué hay de nuevo?
 
What’s new?
Cómo te va?  (informal singular)How’s it going?
Cómo les va?  (informal plural)How’s it going?
¿Qué onda?
 
What’s up?
¿Qué pasa?
 
What’s up?
¿Cómo van las cosas?
 
How are things?

Let’s take a look at a conversation between two coworkers that know each other well.

Katie:
Hola. ¿Qué onda? 
Hi. What's up?
Andrea:
No mucho. ¿Qué hay de nuevo? 
Nothing much. What's new with you?
Katie:
Bueno, no mucho. 
Oh, not much.

Very Informal Greetings

The greetings in the following list are very informal. Some, depending on how well you get along with the person that you’re speaking with, could result in some awkward tension if you’ve miscalculated your social standing with them.

List of Very Informal Greetings

EnglishSpanish
Oye.  (When getting someone’s attention)Hey.
¿Qué pasa?
 
What’s up?
¿Qué fue?
 
What’s up?
¿Qué onda?
 
What’s up?
¿Quiubo?
 
What’s up?
¿Qué es la que hay?
 
What’s going on?
¿Cómo vas?
 
How's it going?
¿En qué andas?
 
What're you up to?
¿Qué más?
 
What’s new?
¿Cómo van las cosas?
 
What’s shaking?
¿Qué hay de nuevo?
 
What’s new?
¿Cómo estamos?
 
How are we doing?
¿Qué pasa, calabaza?
 
What’s up, buttercup?

Lastly, let's take a look at a sample conversation between two friends who know each other very well.

Paulina:
Oye. 
Hey.
Lisa:
Hola, ¿Qué onda? 
Yo. ‘Sup?
Paulina:
Nada. 
Nothing.

Now that you know how to greet someone in Spanish, it's time to learn how to say goodbye.

Did this page answer your question?