18 Useful Spanish Greetings and Introductions
1. Hola — Hello
This is the most basic of the greetings, and can be combined with any of the other ones found below. Now you can say, “Hola, buenos días,” or “Hola, buenas tardes.” The h is silent!
2. Buenos días — Good morning
Literally meaning “good day,” it can also mean “good morning.” “Buenos días” is usually used until noon.
3. Buenas tardes — Good afternoon
If you want to say “good afternoon,” and it’s one o’clock or later in the day, you can say “buenas tardes.”
In Spain it may be used until later in the evening, while in most Latin American countries and the Caribbean, it may be used until the sun goes down.
4. Buenas noches — Good evening
This phrase also means “goodnight.” Always be mindful of the context since you could be saying goodbye.
5. ¿Cómo está? — How are you? (Formal)
This is a formal way of asking how someone is feeling. It’s usually reserved for older people of those of authority as a sign of respect. In some South American countries, always use this one to be on the safe side.
Are you conducting business? It is important that you inquire about a person’s well-being before beginning any type of business talk. It’s an indication that you care about your client.
6. ¿Cómo estás? — How are you? (Informal)
The s at the end indicates that you’re talking to someone your same age or younger. If you hear “tutéame,” you have permission to address the person in the informal way, regardless of age!
7. ¿Cómo están? — How are you? (Plural)
Greeting a group of people? The n at the end will indicate that you just said hello to everyone. If you know the group, make sure that you kiss everyone. But if you’re a guy, kiss the girls and shake the men’s hands.
Traveling to Spain? Say “¿Cómo estáis?“ (ko mo es tais).
8. ¿Qué tal? — How’s it going?
For some it may be informal, but in general this question can be used with anyone in a non-business setting.
9. ¿Qué pasa? — What’s happening? / What’s up?
Talking to your friends or someone younger than you? Use the phrase “¿Qué pasa?” You may also hear this one when someone wants to know if something is wrong.
10. ¿Qué hubo? — What happened?
It’s considered informal in some countries. Use it with your friends and family. Just remember the rule about the silent h.
11. Bienvenidos — Welcome
Want to welcome someone to your home? The Spanish phrase is pronounced “Bi en ße ni dos.”
Keep the final s if you are welcoming more than one person. Drop the final s and it becomes singular.
If you’re speaking to a female, you’ll say “bienvenida,” but for a gentleman, say “bienvenido.” Welcoming a group of females? Use the word “bienvenidas.” It may sound chauvinistic, but use the form“bienvenidos” if it is a mixed group.
12. Mi casa es su casa — My house is your house
If you want to make someone comfortable in your home, you can say, “Mi casa es su casa.” You’re not really giving your house away, but you are indicating that they can feel at home.
If you invited someone your same age, change the “su” to “tu.”
13. ¿De dónde eres? — Where are you from?
Use this phrase when you want to ask someone your age or younger where they’re from. The question will change to “¿De dónde es usted?” if you’re speaking to an adult or someone of authority.
14. ¿Cómo te llamas? — What’s your name?
Literally meaning “What do you call yourself?” this is what you say when you want to ask someone’s name. It does have a few variations depending on formality. If you want to ask someone older in Spanish you say, “¿Cómo se llama?”
15. ¿Aló? — Hello?
This is a common way of answering the phone in many Spanish-speaking countries. Depending on where you travel, you may hear “bueno,” “sí,”and “diga” instead to answer a phone call.
Regardless of the greeting, respond by saying who you are and make sure to inquire how they are. It’s impolite not to ask! Thank them very much. Then, state the purpose of your call.
16. ¿Adónde vas? — Where are you going?
Saying hello to someone who’s in a rush? To ask someone where they’re going in Spanish, say this phrase. Change it to “va” for formal conversations and if you’re asking a group of people where they’re going in Spain, change it to “vais.”
17. ¿Dónde has estado? — Where have you been?
Has it been a long time since you’ve seen someone? Say “hola” and find out where they have been. Be prepared to get the whole story!
18. ¡Hace tiempo que no te veo! — It’s been a while since I’ve seen you!
You’re saying hello, but it’s been ages since you’ve seen them.