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1. Hola: Hello This is the most basic of the greetings, and can be combined with any of the other ones found below. Now you can say, “Hola, buenos días,” or “Hola, buenas tardes.” The h is silent!

2. Buenos días: Good Morning Literally meaning “good day,” it can also mean “good morning.” “Buenos días” is usually used until noon.

3. Buenas tardes: Good Afternoon If you want to say “good afternoon,” and it’s one o’clock or later in the day, you can say “buenas tardes.” In Spain it may be used until later in the evening, while in most Latin American countries and the Caribbean, it may be used until the sun goes down.

4. Buenas noches: Good Evening This phrase also means “goodnight.” Always be mindful of the context since you could be saying goodbye.

5. ¿Cómo está?: How are you? (formal) This is a formal way of asking how someone is feeling. It’s usually reserved for older people of those of authority as a sign of respect. In some South American countries, always use this one to be on the safe side. Are you conducting business? It is important that you inquire about a person’s well-being before beginning any type of business talk. It’s an indication that you care about your client.

6. ¿Cómo estás?: How are you? (informal) The “s” at the end indicates that you’re talking to someone your same age or younger. If you hear “tutéame,” you have permission to address the person in the informal way, regardless of age!

7. ¿Cómo están?: How are you? (plural) Greeting a group of people? The “n” at the end will indicate that you just said hello to everyone. If you know the group, make sure that you kiss everyone. But if you’re a guy, kiss the girls and shake the men’s hands. Traveling to Spain? Say “¿Cómo estáis?” (ko mo es tais).

8. ¿Qué tal?: How’s it going? For some it may be informal, but in general this question can be used with anyone in a non-business setting.

9. ¿Cómo te llamas?: What’s your name? Literally meaning “What do you call yourself?”, this is what you say when you want to ask someone’s name. It does have a few variations depending on formality. If you want to ask someone older in Spanish you say, “¿Cómo se llama?”

10. ¿Aló?: Hello? This is a common way of answering the phone in many Spanish-speaking countries. Depending on where you travel, you may hear “bueno,” “sí,” and “diga” instead to answer a phone call. Regardless of the greeting, respond by saying who you are and make sure to inquire how they are. It’s impolite not to ask! Thank them very much. Then, state the purpose of your call.

11. Bienvenidos: Welcome Want to welcome someone to your home? The Spanish phrase is pronounced “Bi en ße ni dos”. Keep the final “s” if you are welcoming more than one person. Drop the final “s” and it becomes singular. If you are speaking to a female, you will say “bienvenida,” but for a gentleman, say “bienvenido.” Welcoming a group of females? Use the word “bienvenidas.” It may sound chauvinistic, but use the form “bienvenidos” if it is a mixed group.

These were borrowed from FluentU Follow the link to learn more Spanish.

Check out the resources pages for even more tips and links.

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