How Do You Say How Are You in Spanish?

Spanish

IF you have learned how to say hello in Spanish, the next useful thing you might want to learn is how are you in Spanish.

Well, the answer depends on who you are asking.

If the person is a friend or family member or a child, then you would ask cómo estás? Cómo (pronounced koh-moh) means how. Estás (pronounced eh-stahss) is the second person present tense of the verb estar, the infinitive for to be. Estás translates into you are. If you needed to write the Spanish phrase down, note that you not only have a question mark at the end, but an upside down question mark at the beginning. (I love this – knowing ahead of time that a question is coming up!)Colorful Street, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

If the person you’re asking is a stranger, an authority figure, an elder or someone you should be showing a bit of extra respect to, say, la policia (no need to translate that one!) , then you would ask cómo está (pronounced koh-moh eh-stah) or cómo está usted? Usted (pronounced koh-moh eh-stah oo-stehd) stands for you, formal. Saying usted is optional.

If you are addressing a group of people all at once, maybe a classroom of Spanish students, you can ask cómo están? This plural form is both formal and informal and is then appropriate for both friends and strangers.

 

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How Do You Say Goodbye in Spanish?

Spanish

THERE are many ways of saying goodbye in Spanish. You probably already know a few. But we are going to make sure you have a full repertoire of foreign language farewells at your disposal.

The simplest, most common way to say goodbye in Spanish is adiós. Pronounced ah-dyos, the word breaks down into two words a, which means “to,” and dios, which means “God.” So it literally means “to God,” similar to the expression “go with God.” But there is no longer a religious undertone — it has become a secular word meaning goodbye. (If you did, however, want to say “go with God,” the phrase is Vaya con dios, bah-ya cohn dyos.)

Another way is hasta luego (pronounced ah-stah lweh-goh). Hasta is the Spanish word for until and luego means later. So this way to say goodbye in Spanish literally means “until later.” It’s used the same way you use “see you later” in English, which may or may not mean that you will actually see that person later.

If you will not be seeing the person you are parting from until the next day, you can say hasta mañana. Mañana (pronounced mah-nyah-nah) means “morning” and “tomorrow.” Hasta mañana translates into “until tomorrow” and means “see you tomorrow.”

Another phrase in Spanish meaning goodbye will be familiar to fans of the Terminator movies — hasta la vista. (Baby, is optional, and probably best avoided!) It is pronounced ah-stah lah bee-stah. Vista means “sight,” “eyesight,” even “eyes,” as well as “view.” The Spanish phrase translates roughly to “until the seeing,” equivalent to saying “see you.” Don’t know if Terminator is to blame, but this farewell is not commonly used. Choose a different one unless you’re being jokey with a pal.

Commercial Airliner, Taking OffYet another hasta phrase is hasta pronto. Pronto (pronounced prohn-toh) means soon. Hasta pronto — see you soon.

You can also express see you with the words nos vemos (pronounced nohs beh-mohs). It translates into “we will see each other.” Nos is the “each other” part. Vemos is the first person plural form of the verb ver,  meaning “to see.” This is a common and colloquial way of saying goodbye in Spanish.

Even more colloquial is the word chao, which is taken from the Italian word for goodbye, ciao.

Note: If you’re puzzled by the letter ‘b’ in the pronunciations listed above, it’s because the Spanish ‘v’ sounds more like an English ‘b’ than it does an English ‘v’. More like, but not exactly; it’s kind of between the two.

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How Do You Say Thank You in Spanish?

Spanish

LEARNING how to say thank you in Spanish is one of the most useful expressions you can add to your Spanish language skills. Who likes an ingrate, right? No one.

To say thank you in Spanish, you say Gracias. Gracias (pronounced grah-syas) is the plural of the word gracia, whose definitions range from grace to joke. Curious, isn’t it?

If you are very grateful, you can say muchas gracias. Muchas (pronounced moo-chahs) means a lot, many, much. So muchas gracias means thank you very much or many thanks. Even more grateful? You can say muchísimas gracias (pronounced moo-chee-see-mahss) or un millon de gracias (pronounced oon mee-yon deh grah-syas), which literally translates into a million thanks.

A Girl and Her Friends Smile During a March

Another way to say thank you in Spanish is a bit more of a tongue twister. Let’s say you are grateful for someone’s help – perhaps they saved you from hours of going in circles looking for that little out-of-the-way bar in Barcelona you heard so much about. You could say Le agradezco su ayuda I am grateful to you for your help. Le (leh) is you formal, which is proper to use when addressing a stranger. Agradezco (ah-grah-des-koh or, since we’re pretending to be in Spain, ah-grah-deth-koh, pronouncing the ‘z’ as if you have a lisp) is the first person conjugation of agradecer, the infinitive form and meaning to appreciate, to be grateful for. Su (soo) means your (formal). And ayuda (ah-yoo-dah) means help.

Don’t worry if you don’t dare to try that out when you need to say thank you in Spanish. A simple gracias – and a smile – will do!

 

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How Do You Say Hello in Spanish?

Spanish

THERE are several ways to say hello in Spanish. Well, that is not exactly true. There is one Spanish word that literally translates into hello. The other ways are greetings, and while they are substitutes for saying hello, they have their own meanings.

The word for hello in Spanish is hola. In Spanish the letter ‘h’ is always silent, so hola is pronounced oh-lah.

Should you encounter a Spaniard first thing in the morning, you might instead greet him with Buenos días.

Buenos (pronounced bweh-nos) is the plural of the Spanish word for good, bueno.

Días (pronounced dee-ahs) is the plural of the Spanish word for day, día.

Literally, this Spanish phrase translates into good days, but means good day or good morning. As in English, there is no need to say hello as well.

At some point in the day, it becomes appropriate to change your greeting to Buenas tardes. Pronounced bweh-nahs tahr-des, the expression is equivalent to saying Good afternoon. I say ‘at some point’ because Spanish cultures do not adhere to the strictness of the clock like English speakers do. This makes sense in a way since tardes comes from the verb, tardar, the infinitive form which means to take time. The phrase itself doesn’t make sense – tardes is literally the second person singular subjunctive form of to take time. Huh, right? But an English person is saying afternoon, that is, literally after the noon hour, so it’s tied to the clock. You could say buenos días into mid afternoon and still be correct.

Come evening, you would greet someone buenas noches (pronounced bweh-nahs noh-ches), which is literally good nights, plural, but stands for good night.

Another way of saying hello in Spanish is simply to say Buenas. The beauty of this one word is that it is appropriate for any time of day. And if you had reason to answer a telephone in Spanish – perhaps while vacationing in Ibiza? – you could say aló. Ah-loh.