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Greetings in Spanish

Greetings in Spanish

Greetings in Spanish are pretty much alike many other languages, including English. Usually people will always say they’re fine if you are not well acquainted, even if they’re not ok. It is almost a cliché to start a conversation with anyone.

When using greetings in Spanish it is important to pay attention to forms (formal/ informal) and gender for some expressions (masculine/ feminine). Formal phrases are used with strangers, in places or situations that are naturally formal (at government bodies, speaking with clients, etc) and with older people. If you’re not sure when to use a formal or informal expression, just use the formal one. Sometimes people will tell you that you don’t have to be formal. For this purpose, in Spanish language there is the verb “tutear“, that has no translation in English. “Tutear” means to use the informal way when speaking with the other person, with the pronouns in the second person: “tú” (singular) and “vosotros” (plural). They might say “Puedes tutearme”, meaning “You can treat me informally”. If you feel that it is appropriate, you also can ask the other person “¿Le puedo tutear?”. Rarely they’ll say no, and probably you’ll hear “Por supuesto” (“of course”), or “¡claro!” (sure!).

Spain is a country that receives millions of tourists a year, so we’ve also included a few phrases just in case they ask you where you’re from (very usual), but it will be covered in deep in another lesson.

English Spanish – Informal Spanish – Formal
Welcome Bienvenido / a /
Hi, hello Hola
Good morning Buenos días
Good afternoon/ Good evening Buenas tardes
Good evening/ good night Buenas noches
How are you? ¿Cómo estás? ¿Cómo está usted?
What’s up? ¿Qué tal?
What’s up? ¿Qué pasa … ?
Fine (thanks), and you? Bien (gracias), ¿y tú? Bien (gracias), ¿y usted?
Very well Muy bien
I’m glad for you Me alegro
As usual Como siempre
As usual Voy tirando
So, so Regular / así, así /
So, so Más o menos
Not very well No muy bien
I’m sorry. May I help you? Lo siento. ¿Te puedo ayudar en algo? Lo siento. ¿Le puedo ayudar en algo?
Don’t worry No te preocupes No se preocupe
What’s your name? ¿Cómo te llamas? ¿Cómo se llama (usted)?
My name is (Maria) And you? Me llamo (María) ¿y tú? Me llamo (María ¿y usted?
I’m (Maria) Soy (María) ¿y tú? Soy (María) ¿y usted?
Nice to meet you Encantado/ a de conocerte Encantado/ a de conocerle
Nice to greet you Encantado/ a de saludarte Encantado/ a de saludarle
Pleased (to meet you) Es un placer (conocerte) Es un placer (conocerle)
It was a pleasure (to meet you) Ha sido un placer (conocerte) Ha sido un placer (conocerle)
Likewise Igualmente
Likewise Lo mismo digo
Where are you from? ¿De dónde eres? ¿De dónde es usted?
I’m from… (country) Soy de (Inglaterra)
I’m.. (nationality) Soy (inglesa)
Well, I have to go Bueno, me tengo que ir
I have to leave Tengo que marcharme
ok De acuerdo / Vale /
See you! Nos vemos
Bye Hasta luego
See you soon Hasta pronto
Goodbye ¡Adiós!

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Lesson Example: greetings

A dialogue with typical greetings:

  • Hola, ¿qué tal?
  • Bien, ¿y tú?
  • Muy bien
  • Me alegro
  • (…)
  • Bueno, me tengo que ir
  • De acuerdo. Nos vemos.
  • ¡Hasta luego!
  • ¡ Adiós !

Video: Greetings in Spanish

Hasta luego, hasta pronto, hasta la vista, adiós

“Hasta pronto” means literally “see you soon”. You say it when you expect to see the other person in a short period of time, usually defined (for example, if you’ll meet again later in the day).

“Hasta la vista” means “so long”, and it’s used when you don’t know when you will meet the other person again.

The difference between “hasta luego” and “adiós” is less clear. Both refer to a short lack of time until the next meeting, but some people think that “hasta luego” is more polite. However, in Spain is very common to alternate both when leaving: if you say “hasta luego” the other will say “adiós” and vice-versa. It’s just a habit.

As you’ll see in future lessons, being polite in Spanish it’s many times not a matter of the words you say, but HOW you say them. A kind a sweet “adiós” will always sound more polite than a rude “hasta luego”.

¡Hasta pronto!

Exercise: Greetings in Spanish

Exercise: Greetings in Spanish


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