Greetings in Spanish: Learn More Than Just “Hola”

Have you ever come across a native Spanish speaker and run out of words? Learning how to say hello and goodbye in Spanish is the first thing you need to know in order to communicate with anybody!

So, if you are a beginner in Spanish and want to take your first step towards fluent conversations in Spanish, or if you are looking for ways of congratulating someone in Spanish, this article was definitely made for you!

More Than Just "Hola"

1. Saludos - Greetings in Spanish

As you may already know, the most common of greetings in Spanish is “hola” (“hello”, in English). This word is used in informal contexts and can actually be used at any time of the day. But, if you are in a formal situation and need to speak in Spanish, you should one of these greetings according to the time of the day:

  • Buenos días

            Good morning. (From 1:00 am to 12:00 pm).

  • Buenas tardes.

              Good afternoon. (From 12:00 pm  to 7:00 pm).

  • Buenas noches.

              Good evening. (From 7:00 pm to 12:00 am).

Some less frequent but very useful greetings in Spanish are:

  • Que tengas un buen día.

              Have a good day (informal).

  • Que tenga usted buenos días.

              Have a good day (formal).

  • Qué gusto verte.

              Nice to see you (informal).

  • Qué gusto verlo/a.

              Nice to see you (formal).

  • ¡Tanto tiempo sin verte!

              Long time no see! (informal).

2. Preguntar cómo está - Asking Someone How They’re Doing in Spanish

We have quite a few options to ask this question in Spanish:

  • ¿Cómo estás?

            How are you?

  • ¿Qué tal?

              What’s up?

  • ¿Cómo has estado?

              How have you been?

  • ¿Cómo te ha ido?

              How’s it going?

  • ¿Cómo te va?

              How are you doing?

  • ¿Qué has hecho?

              What have you done lately?

  • ¿Qué hay de nuevo?

              What’s new?

If you want to ask “how are you?” in a formal way, you can use any of these formal Spanish phrases:

  • ¿Cómo está usted?

              How are you?

  • ¿Cómo le va?

              How are you doing?

  • ¿Cómo le ha ido?

              How’s it going?

  • ¿Qué tal su día?

              How’s your day been?

3. Respuestas - Answering in Spanish​

So, if someone asks you any of those questions above, you don’t want to freeze, right? And we’ve got your back! You can answer with any of these useful phrases in Spanish:

  • Estoy bien, ¡gracias! ¿Y tú?

              I’m fine, thanks! And you?

  • Todo bien.

              Everything’s fine.

  • No me siento muy bien.

              I don’t feel so good.

  • Las cosas van mal.

              Life isn’t going well.

  • No hay nada nuevo.

              There is nothing new.

4. Preguntar por alguien más - Asking About Someone Else

Now that you’ve started a conversation in Spanish, you can keep it going by asking about other people, such as the family members of the person you’re talking to. Here is how to do it in Spanish: 

  • ¿Cómo está tu … (person)?

              How is your…?

These are people you could ask about: mamá (mother), papá (father), hermana (sister), hermano (brother), novio (boyfriend), novia (girlfriend), or vecino (neighbor).

5. Cuando algo bueno pasa - When Something Good Happens

If you ask your friend “how are you?” in Spanish and they say something good, you can congratulate them or express your happiness with these phrases in Spanish:

  • ¡Felicitaciones!


  • Me alegro mucho por ti.

              I’m very happy for you.

  • ¡Qué bien!

              That’s good!

Being a good friend knows no language barriers!

6. Cuando algo malo pasa - When Something Bad is Happening

Now, when the person you’re talking to tells you something bad or sad, you can say something nice and warm in Spanish. These sample sentences in Spanish will help you with that situation:

  • Lo siento mucho.

              I’m so sorry.

  • Espero que todo mejore.

              I hope everything gets better.

7. Despedidas - Goodbyes

They say that “saying goodbye is always difficult” but, believe us, it’ll no longer be difficult with these simple phrases in Spanish!

  • ¡Chao!

              Bye (informal).

  • Adiós.

             Goodbye (formal).

  • Hasta luego.

              See you later (formal).

  • Hasta pronto.

              See you soon (formal).

  • Hasta mañana.

              See you tomorrow (formal).

  • Cuídate.

              Take care (informal).

  • Nos vemos pronto.

              See you soon (informal).

8. Cumpleaños - Birthdays

Do you have Latine or Spanish friends and want to congratulate them on their birthday in Spanish? No problem! Check these sample sentences out: 

  • ¡Feliz cumpleaños!

              Happy birthday!

  • ¡Muchas felicidades en tu cumpleaños!

              Congratulations on your birthday!

  • ¡Te deseo lo mejor en este día!

              I wish you the best on this day!

9. Ocasiones especiales - Special Occasions

Are you traveling to Latin America for Christmas and New Year’s? Great! Now you can practice any of these greetings in Spanish with the friends you’re going to make:

  • ¡Feliz navidad!

              Merry Christmas!

  • ¡Te deseo una feliz navidad!

              I wish you a Merry Christmas!

  • ¡Feliz año nuevo!

              Happy new year!

  • Próspero año nuevo.

              Prosperous new year.

  • Te deseo felices fiestas.

              I wish you happy holidays.

10. Felicitaciones - Congratulations

What if one of those new friends tells you they’re going to a job interview? Or what if they’re going to take an important exam? You sure are going to wish them luck, right? Well, you can do it with these expressions in Spanish:

  • ¡Buena suerte!

              Good luck!

  • ¡Que te vaya bien!

              I hope you do well!

  • ¡Te deseo lo mejor!

               I wish you the best!

Time to Practice!

That was a lot of information and we know you’d like to see those Spanish greetings and phrases in action! So we created a couple of examples so everything’s clear:

Example 1
  • Hola, Adriana. ¿Cómo estás?
  • ¡Hola, Sofía! Muy bien, ¿y tú? ¿Cómo estás?
  • Bien. ¿Qué hay de nuevo?
  • No hay nada nuevo, estoy en el trabajo. ¿Y tú qué tal?

                Nothing new, I’m at work. What about you?

  • Muy bien, gracias. ¿Cómo está tu mamá?
  • No está muy bien, está enferma.

                She’s not doing well. She’s sick.

  • ¡Lo siento! ¡Espero que todo mejore!
  • Muchas gracias, ¡hasta pronto!
  • ¡Chao!
Example 2
  • Buenas tardes, Sra. Marta.
  • Buenas tardes. ¿Cómo está usted?
  • Bien, gracias.
Example 3
  • ¡Hola, Sandra! ¡Feliz cumpleaños!
  • Muchas gracias, Andrea.
  • ¡Te deseo lo mejor!

After reading these sample conversations, you should be able to make small talk in Spanish by greeting your new friends. You can also call or message an old friend and congratulate them on their birthday or any other special occasion. Get creative and use your new Spanish knowledge with others!

If you learned a lot of new phrases with this Spanish article, make sure to check out one of our other useful articles, you’ll always learn something new!

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