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How To Greet Someone In Spanish | 5+ Ways

"¡Hola, amigos y amigas! Ever wondered how to strike up a conversation in Spanish that goes beyond just the usual 'Hola, ¿cómo estás?' (Hello, how are you?)?

Well, get ready to dive into the vibrant world of Spanish greetings, where '¡Hola!' is just the tip of the iceberg. Let's learn the best ways to greet someone in Spanish.

From the bustling streets of Mexico City to the charming plazas of Madrid, greetings vary like the spices in a global spice rack.


In this article, we're going to unravel the basics of Spanish salutations and take you on a tour of some seriously cool regional greetings that’ll have you saying advanced expressions in no time.

So, buckle up, porque aquí vamos a descubrir muchas formas emocionantes de saludar en español!"


two people meeting and greeting eachother with a title that says "How To Greet In Spanish"


Hola & Holi - Hello & Heeey 👋

I know, most likely you know Hola, but you probably haven’t seen Holi. Holi is used between couples and very close friends. Imagine your friend calls you and says “What’s up” and you respond “Heeey” - that’s what holi is used for.


Example:

Hola Sarah

Holiii Carolina


¿Qué tal? - What’s up? ✌️

This is a super common phrase to say “What’s up” and can be understood by anyone regardless of their country of origin.


Example:

¿Qué tal bro? (What’s up bro?)

Todo bien, nada que contar (All is good, nothing much to tell)



¿Cómo estás? - How are you? 🙋‍♂️

Cómo estás is probably the most generic phrase in Spanish, that’s not to say that people don’t use it, they do, but it does lack the spice of a lot of the other greetings on this list.

To say Cómo estás to an older person, or to show respect - say ¿Cómo está usted?

Example:

¿Cómo estás Sara? (How are you Sarah)

Estoy, bien gracias (I am well, thanks)



Buenos días - Good morning 🌄

Buenos días means Good morning and although it sounds basic, during my time in Spanish-speaking areas, I found that this simple phrase always brought a smile to my face and the face of the person I was saying it to.

A classy alternative that also works as a way of saying goodbye is Buen día (Good day)


Example:

Buenos días señor, cómo le va (Good morning sir, how are you doing?)

Buenos días, todo bien, gracias (Good morning, all is well, thanks)


Buenas (Tardes) - Good afternoon/evening 🌇

After a long day, a “good evening” can make a difference! Say it with a smile and you might make a good friend one day. The most common way of saying this phrase is “Buenas” although you can say the full phrase (Buenas tardes) if you want.


Example:

Buenas, ¿cómo te va? (Good evening, how are you?)

Buenas, todo va bien (Good evening, all is going well.)



¿Cómo te va? - How’s it going?

This phrase literally means - How * you * it is going * and is often used to start a tiny conversation when used with strangers. In my experience, this leads to a little small talk.


If you want to say this in the Ust Form (Respectful form) just say: ¿Cómo le va?


Example:

¿Cómo te va hermano? (How are you doing brother?)

Todo bien, no me quejo, ¿y tú? (All is good, I can’t complain, and you?)


¿Qué hay de nuevo? - What’s new? 🙌

This phrase literally means What * there is * of new * and is often used casually between acquaintances. It’s also possible to just hear - ¿Qué hay?

Example:

¿Qué hay de nuevo hermano? (What’s new brother?)

Nada nuevo, aún trabajo en el restaurante (Nothing new, I still work at the restaurant.)


¿Cómo has estado? - How have you been? 🙀

This phrase means (literally) How * have you * been. You can use this phrase to ask somebody what's new in their life since the last time that you saw them.


To say this phrase in the Usted Form (Respectful) say “Cómo ha estado”


Example:

Ey, Sara, cómo has estado? (Hey Sarah, how have you been?)

He estado bien, gracias, ¿y tú? (I have been well, thanks, and you?)


Qué gusto verte - I’m so happy to see you 😊

This phrase would translate to something like “I’m so happy to see you,” however, it means literally What * pleasure * to see you.

To say this phrase in the Usted Form (Respectful) say “Qué gusto verlo/la”


Example:

Ey, María, qué gusto verte (Hey, María, I’m so happy to see you)

Qué dulce eres, ¿cómo estás? (You’re so sweet, how are you?)



Regional Greetings In Spanish

Depending on where you find yourself, even the most simple Spanish greetings can change. Every country has its own slang, expressions, and even pronunciation differences!


In this section, we’ll look at some of the most common greetings for a few countries. Ps, if you use one of them it could really light up someone's day!


picture of the mexican, spanish, colombian, and puerto rican flag with a title that says "regional variations"

¿Qué es la que hay? (Puerto Rico) 😎

I personally have never heard anyone that isn’t from Puerto Rico saying this phrase. Qué es la que hay translates literally to “What is the thing that there is?” - It’s basically like saying “What’s up” in Puerto Rico.

Example:

Ey bro ¿qué es la que hay? (Hey bro what’s up?)

Nada, bregando con las mismas cosas (Nothing, dealing with the same things)


¿Qué lo que pana (Dominican Republic) 🙋‍♂️

Although I say this is a historically Dominican phrase, over the last 30 years it has spread like wildfire to other countries. I have heard Colombians, Panamanians, and Venezuelans using this phrase.


Pro tip - don’t use it with anyone that you would call Señor, it’s super informal and means the same thing as the English saying “What it is?” (what’s up).


Example:

Ay, papi! ¿Qué lo que mi pana? (Hey bro! What’s up buddy?)

Todo bien mi pana, ¿cómo has estado tú? (All is good my man, how have you been?)



¿Qué onda? (Mexico) 🏄‍♂️

This phrase is super Mexican and just means “What wave?” We can use this phrase to say What’s up to our friends and family, but not anyone we would call Señor.


Example:

¿Qué onda María? (What’s up María?)

Acabo de cumplir 24 años (I just turned 24)


¿Cómo andas wey? (Mexico) 🚶‍♂️

This is another Mexican phrase to use between friends and family. This literally means “How are you walking bro?” If you make any Mexican buddies this will make you both smile every time you see them!

Example:

Pensé que te ví, ¿cómo andas wey? (I thought I saw you, how are you, bro?)

No me quejo wey, gracias por preguntar. (I can’t complain, bro, thanks for asking.)


Qué más parce, ¿cómo estás? (Colombia) 🧐

Qué más means (literally) “What more?” and is used between good friends to ask “What's new”. Parce is also the Colombian word for “Bro” btw.

Example:

¿Qué más parce, no nos vemos desde hace rato? (What’s up bro, I haven’t seen you in a while)

Sí demasiado tiempo, estoy bien, ¿y tú? (Yeah too long, I’m well, and you?)


cartoon man with his thumbs up saying "Great job! Now you know basic greetings, and you have some phrases to use with speakers of specific dialects!  You're 1 step closer to fluency!!"


Conclusion: How To Greet Someone In Spanish

So, whether you're exploring the colorful streets of Mexico City, savoring the flavors of Spanish cuisine in Madrid, or catching some Caribbean vibes in Puerto Rico, you now have an array of greetings up your sleeve to make your conversations pop.


From the familiar basics like "Hola" and "¿Cómo estás?" to the intriguing regional gems like "Qué es la que hay?" and "Qué más parce," these greetings reflect the diverse tapestry of Spanish-speaking cultures.


So go ahead, sprinkle a little regional flair into your conversations, and watch as those friendly interactions turn into memorable exchanges.


If you know people from a Spanish speaking country, check out the Spanish dialect breakdown series where you'll learn words and phrases to make native speakers smile!


¡Nos vemos luego! (See you later)

Chiao (Bye)


- Ben


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