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How to say “How are you” in Spanish

How to say “How are you?” in Spanish

Before you can become a fluent speaker of any language, you have to learn the basics. In Spanish, a simple “Hola(“Hello”) or Buenos días (“Good morning”) is an acceptable way to greet anyone, but it helps to know a few common expressions to follow up with. Fortunately, you’re about to learn how to ask people how they’re doing in many different contexts and regions, and you’re going to find out how to respond with confidence when someone asks you the same.

Learning how to say “How are you?” in Spanish is crucial, so read ahead and take a look at the many ways to do so.

Why greetings are important in the Spanish culture

The way you greet people in Spanish can vary based on a few factors, like the age of the person you’re talking to and how close you are with them. Spanish speakers switch between informal and formal language in everyday life, and it’s critical to understand the differences. It’s good to know a few formal and informal greetings (and when to use each), as well as how to conjugate them when conversing with individuals and groups.

Formal ways to ask "How are you?" in Spanish

Like many others, the Spanish language takes different forms depending on formality. When having a conversation with someone older or in a position of power (like a grandparent or boss), Spanish speakers use the “usted” form.

¿Cómo está usted? How are you? (formal)

The simplest way to say “How are you?” in a more formal setting, “¿Cómo está usted?” is a safe bet when talking to an elder, a superior at work, or someone you don’t know very well. If you’re addressing a group of people, add an -n to está and an -es to usted to make “¿Cómo están ustedes?”

¿Cómo está usted? How are you? (singular)

¿Cómo están ustedes? How are you? (plural)

¿Cómo se encuentra usted? How do you find yourself? (formal)

“¿Cómo se encuentra usted?” is another way to greet people of authority, and it literally translates to “How do you find yourself?” Again, just add the -n and -es to make it plural: “¿Cómo se encuentran ustedes?”

¿Cómo se encuentra usted? How do you find yourself? (singular)

¿Cómo se encuentran ustedes? How do you find yourselves? (plural)

Informal ways to ask "How are you?" in Spanish

If you’re conversing with a friend, family member, or someone younger than you, then you’ll use the “tú” form instead of usted. Here are a few examples of how to ask “How are you?” in an informal setting.

¿Cómo estás? How are you? (informal)

Perhaps the most basic and direct way to say “How are you?” in Spanish is “¿Cómo estás?” If you’re talking to a group of people, you can simply swap the -s in estás for an -n to make están and add the word ustedes. It’s not exactly formal when using the form, but it’s far from slang.

¿Cómo estás? How are you?

¿Cómo están ustedes? How are you? (plural)

¿Qué tal? What's up? (informal)

“¿Qué tal?” serves the same purpose as “¿Cómo estás?” but is considered slightly more formal. However, it’s also significantly more versatile because you can use “¿Qué tal?” with anyone, regardless of age or familiarity.

¿Qué pasa? What’s up?

Even non-native Spanish speakers may be familiar with “Qué pasa,” as it has made its way into English slang. It’s understood to mean “What’s up?” in Spain, but in some areas, people might think you’re literally asking, “What’s happening?”

¿Cómo andas? How’s it going? (informal)

The literal translation of the word andas is “you walk,” but the Spanish phrase “¿Cómo andas?” is meant to ask someone how it’s going. This informal expression is especially popular in Spain and Argentina.

¿Cómo va todo? How’s everything going? (informal)

The phrase “¿Cómo va todo?” can be interpreted  more broadly, thanks to todo, which means “everything.” Someone might say this to ask about how you’re doing as a whole, although they may not expect an elaborate response.

Regional variations in asking "How are you?" in Spanish

Spanish is a historic language spoken by hundreds of millions of people around the globe, from Latin America to Europe and more than a dozen countries in between. As such, native Spanish-speakers from different areas have developed different dialects. The above greetings are all acceptable ways to say “How are you?” in Spanish, but it helps to know a few simple phrases from specific locales.


People in Spain tend to use the “vosotros” form rather than the “ustedes” form when addressing groups of people, particularly in informal contexts. Using vosotros, you would say, “¿Cómo estáis?” to ask a group of friends how they’re doing.

¿Cómo estáis? How are you?

¿Cómo andas? How are you?

¿Qué pasa? What’s happening?


It’s appropriate to use “¿Qué tal?” like in other Spanish-speaking countries, but note that the phrase tends to come off as more informal in Mexico than it would elsewhere. Although their direct translations don’t quite make sense in English, there are several other colloquial and slang options in Mexico.

¿Qué onda?

¿Qué tranza? What’s up?

¿Qué hubo?


Like the Spanish, Argentines (or Argentinians) tend to use vosotros when addressing multiple people. They use a mix of regional variations you might hear in Spain or Mexico. Sometimes, Argentines informally use the first-person plural (like “we” and “us”) when talking to a specific individual.

¿Qué onda? What’s up?

¿Qué contás? What’s up?

¿Qué hacés? What do you do?

¿Cómo andas? How are you?

¿Cómo andamos? How are we? (used as singular)

How to respond to "How are you?" in Spanish

When someone asks how you’re doing, you should respond using the right level of formality. It’s polite to reciprocate the question to the person who asked, but you wouldn’t necessarily repeat the same words back. Let’s look at some appropriate responses in formal and informal situations.

Formal responses

During interactions with elders or higher-ups, you will probably be addressed using the form. However, it’s important to remember that you’re expected to respond using usted — it may not be a formal situation for the other person, but it is for you.

Bien, muchas gracias. ¿Y usted? Fine, thank you so much. And you?

Muy bien, gracias por preguntar. Y usted? Very well, thanks for asking. And you?

Bien, gracias, y a usted, ¿cómo le va? Good, thanks, and you, how are you?

Informal responses

When you’re among close friends, you’ll all use the form when addressing each other and can respond in the same manner. You can generally respond in the form when speaking to someone who addresses you in the usted form, like a student, employee, or younger relative.

Bien, gracias. ¿Y tú?* Fine, thanks. And you?

Al cien At 100 (percent)

Todo bien All good

Asi asi That’s how it is

*If you’re addressed in the vosotros form, you can respond with “¿Y vos?” instead of “¿Y tú?”

Intermediate and advanced ways to express "How are you?" in Spanish

If you’ve learned how to say “How are you?” in Spanish and want to dive a little deeper, there are plenty of different ways to ask how someone’s doing.

¿Cómo ha sido tu día? How was your day?

Common phrases like “¿Cómo estás?” are a common way to greet someone, but people don’t always answer the question literally. If you genuinely want to know how someone is doing and what happened during their day, you can say, “¿Cómo ha sido tu día?” to ask.

¿Te sientes mejor? Are you feeling better?

If you want to check in with someone who has been under the weather, you can ask “¿Te sientes mejor?” to ask if they’re feeling better. To make it formal, use the usted form: “¿Se siente mejor usted?”

Using iTranslate to help you learn “How are you?” and other Spanish greetings

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