Greet in Style: Learn How to Say ‘How Are You’ in Spanish


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After having visited a foreign land myself, I am of the opinion that one should know how to say ‘how are you’ in that particular country’s dialect. Like me, if you’re planning to visit a Spanish-speaking country or have a flair for languages, you’ll find the following translation quite interesting, even if it’s quite a simple phrase to utter.

Translation of ‘How Are You’ into Spanish

Unlike English, the Spanish language has a differentiation between formal and informal dialog. Let’s take a look at learning how to say a basic greeting in both variants of the Spanish language.

Informally

If you know someone on a first name basis or if you are talking to a child, you will use “¿Cómo estás”―you pronounce it as, “KOE-moe eh-STAHS“. The alphabets written in capital, should be pronounced with emphasis. You can even address family members with this form of saying, ‘How are you’.

Formally

On the other hand, if you are talking to an unknown person, or someone who holds an honorable position like such as a teacher, priest, judge, or similarly important kind of person, there is a minor difference in how you greet them. You will have to make a small change in the way you say, ‘How are you’. There will be a change to the verb ‘estar‘, thus changing to, “¿Cómo está”. The only difference is that the ‘s’ gets knocked out.

Responding to ‘How Are You’ In Spanish

I’m sure that you’re curious about the reply one would receive to the aforementioned greeting, ¿Cómo estás. Like in the English language, you will answer ‘I am fine’ and ask the same question in return to the person. Here’s what it will look like.

Person 1: “¡Hola ¿Cómo estás?”

You: “Estoy bien. ¿Y tú.”

Do not get confused with ¡Hola, which is included before ¿Cómo estás. Simply translated, it is means ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’. Since we know what ¡Hola sounds like, we should be able to pronounce it correctly as well. In Spanish the alphabet ‘h’ is silent. Hence, when you say ¡Hola, it will sound like “oh-la“.

If the same has to be answered in informal speech, let’s see how this will look:

Person 1: “¡Hola ¿Cómo está.”

You: “Estoy bien. ¿Y usted.”

The difference lies in the way the word ‘you’ is used. Both ‘‘ and ‘usted‘ mean you, but ‘usted‘ is the more formal way of saying ‘you’.

Along with asking, “how are you?”, you may also like to try some Spanish phrases for travelers, to get around better. Learn some of the phrases with their meanings before you take that much-coveted trip. If you get confused between the formal and informal forms of how to greet someone, there’s no need to get flustered. Since you are a foreigner, you will not be criticized for using the wrong line, but rather politely corrected. ¡Buen viaje (Bon voyage!)

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