Common Spanish Greetings

Common Spanish Greetings from Spain - Beyond Hola

Don’t know how to start a conversation in Spanish? Want to learn the common Spanish greetings beyond hola? Just got to Spain and you do not understand the greeting slang? Greetings are an important part when starting a conversation. The type of greetings you use are going to set up the kind of conversation you want to have. Here, you will find useful information that will easily answer your questions.

Aspects to take into account

Just like goodbyes, there are three major factors you need to take into account when it comes to greet: Formal or informal ways, slang and cultural aspects.

FORMAL OR INFORMAL

There are mainly two ways to greet: informal or formal. The type you choose is going to depend on the situation and the person you meet. When you want to talk in a formal way in Spanish, you use the 3rd person pronoun, either singular (usted) or plural (ustedes). In Spain, unlike Latin America, usted is not as widely used. People only use it for certain instances, like: when meeting a big boss, an old person, a king or a queen, or just when you want to sound intellectual. On the other hand, you can tutear when you address a person in an informal way, by using the 2nd person pronoun (). Also, in Spain we use the 2nd plural person vosotros/as to address two or more people in a familiar way (i.e. you all). Therefore, think about what situation you are in before greeting.

SLANG

Slang is in all the languages of the world and in every situation, including greetings. Make sure you also learn this part, since you will use it a lot, especially when you meet your friends or family.

CULTURAL ASPECTS

Additionally, cultural aspects are very important to take into account when meeting someone. In Spain, people tend to be very close and friendly when greeting a person. For example, when two woman, or a man and a woman meet, they give each other a kiss on each cheek. However, most of the times, it is more like a symbolic kiss (the lips do not really touch the cheeks). On the other hand, when two men meet, they usually shake hands.

Think about these three aspects before meeting someone and you will be all set  😀

List of the Common Spanish Greetings Used in Spain

Although the possibilities are endless, I put together the most common Spanish greetings from Spain. Here is the list with their translations in English and a quick explanation.

Abreviations

Spanish (SPAN.), English (ENG.), Preterite (pret.), somebody (sb.), something (sth.), usted (Ud.) and ustedes (Uds.).

INFORMAL WAYS

Here is where you will find the most slang.

SPAN.ENG.NOTE
Buen día
Hello, hi or good dayAt any time of the day
Buenas
Hello or hiAt any time of the day
Buenas noches
Good night or eveningLate evening till early morning
Buenas tardes
Good afternoon or eveningUntil late evening (around 8pm)
Buenos días
Good morning"Good days"
Until noon
¿Cómo andas?
How are you? or how are you doing?
"How are you walking?"
¿Cómo estás?
How are you?
¿Cómo has estado?
How have you been?Pret. perfect is widely used in Spain
¿Cómo (te) ha ido?
How have you been?
Pret. perfect is widely used in Spain
¿Cómo ha ido (todo)?
How has everything been?Pret. perfect is widely used in Spain
¿Cómo (te) va?
How are you?
How are you doing?
¿Cómo va?
How is it going?
¿Cómo (te) va todo?
How is everything going?
¡Cuánto tiempo (sin verte)!
It's been a long time without seeing you!
¡Qué gusto verte!
It is nice to see you
¿Qué haces?
What are you doing?
¿Qué hay?
What’s up?"What is there?"
¿Qué hay de nuevo?
What’s new? or what's new with you?
¿Qué (me o te) cuentas?
What's up? or what's new?"What can you tell me?"
¿Qué pasa?
What's up?, what's happening? or what's going on?Also for when sb. wants to know if sth. is wrong
¿Qué tal (estás)?
How are you?Widely known
Ei
HeyClear and concise
Hola
HelloWidely known

FORMAL WAYS

Most of the following greetings fall into the rule of using the 3rd person pronoun. However, others can be used as informal greetings too (*).

SPAN.ENG.NOTE.
Bienvenido/a/s


WelcomeEx.: Welcoming sb. to your house
Buenas noches*
Good night or good eveningFrom late evening till early morning
Buenas tardes*
Good afternoon or good eveningFrom noon till late evening (around 8pm)
Buenos días*
Good morning"Good day"
Until noon
¿Cómo está/n (Ud/s.)?
How are you?
¿Cómo ha/n estado?
How have you been?Pret. perfect is widely used in Spain
¿Cómo le/s ha ido?
How have you been?Pret. perfect is widely used in Spain
¿Cómo le/s va?
How are you? or how are you doing?
(Con) mucho gusto
My pleasure
Encantado/a (de conocerle/lo/la/s)
(I'm) pleased to meet you or (it's a) pleasure to meet youConocerle/s is used in leístas zones
Es un placer (verle/lo/la/s)
It's a pleasure to see youVerle/s is used in leístas zones
Hola*
HelloWidely known
Mucho gusto
Pleased to meet you or nice to meet you
Qué gusto verle/lo/la/s
I'm glad to see youVerle/s is used in leístas zones leístas zones
¿Qué tal?*
How are you?
¿Qué tal se encuentra/n (Ud/s.)?
How are you?
¿Qué tal está/n (Ud/s.)?
How are you?

Final Thougths

The same as goodbyes, there are a lot of ways to greet each other in Spanish. Choose the most convenient one according to your context and situation. However, when in doubt, hola will take you anywhere.

 

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