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Say Hello in Spanish!

To say "hello" in Spanish, you say ¡Hola!

hello in Spanish

That's not very difficult, is it?

But in this page I want you to learn other types of greetings in Spanish, and also how to introduce yourself in Spanish.

Let's start with the greetings, shall we?

Greetings, like many other forms of communication in Spanish are subject to protocols of degrees of familiarity.

Unfortunately, many English speaking folks seem to ignore this when talking to people in Spanish speaking countries, and this sometimes comes across as disrespectful or arrogant.

The protocols are simple, and it would be a good idea if you make an effort to understand them.

Beyond Hello in Spanish: Greeting and Speaking Protocols in the Spanish Language

Generally, when talking to a person you don't know, you use greetings in the 3rd person. You'll see in the table below which Spanish greetings are in 3rd person. That is the formal, polite or respectful way.

You use the informal way of greeting with kids, or people you already know and have befriended.

But when speaking to females, you should greet them and talk to them in the formal manner, unless they drop the formality.

This may be regarded as "old fashined", but it's the safest way to talk to Spanish speaking people in their countries.

If you don't make an effort to use the above protocols, you can be regarded as just another arrogant "Gringo" or "gabacho" who comes to give orders around. Be polite, people like you better when you're polite.

Read the following expresions, then click the play button next to each phrase to hear the pronunciation, and then read the same phrase again imitating the pronunciation you hear.

Remember: Some browsers require you to click on the buttons twice before they start working (yes, I know, technology works in mysterious ways sometimes!).

Here we go:

Spanish Greeting English Meaning Explanation
Hola
Hi This is both a formal and informal way to say hello in Spanish. Nevertheless, it is more polite to say good morning, good afternoon, or good evening (as the case may be), but hola is still acceptable.
¿Cómo está?
How are you? This is the formal format of the phrase "how are you". Note the absence of the letter S at the end of the verb Estar. The verb is conjugated in the 3rd person when being polite.
¿Cómo está usted?
How are you? This is also a formal or polite greeting in Spanish. The difference in this case is the addition of the pronoun Usted which, by the way, is an abreviation of the old Spanish expression "Vuestra Merced", i.e. "Your Grace". It is also abreviated as Ud or Vd.
¿Cómo estás?
How are you? Informal, familiar, used with relatives, friends and acquaitances. Notice the S sound at the end of the verb estar. The verb is congugated in the 2nd person, i.e. the familiar or informal format.
Buenos dias
Good morning Sometimes you can also say buen dia, but this form is seldom used.
Buenas tardes
Good afternoon There is no exact rule, but usually you can use this greeting in the after-noon (get it?) till about 6 or 7 pm, or a bit later if the sun sets later where you are. After that, you use buenas noches
Buenas noches
Good evening and good night Yes, you use the same greeting to say both good evening and good night in Spanish.


That's it for now. As you can see, there is more to it than just saying hello in Spanish. You've got to know the subtleties on how to address people, and you have taken your first steps in learning that!

Practice how to say hello in Spanish drill by clicking on the relevant link below. <

Stay tuned!

Links to Other Spanish Phrases








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