Asking Somebody How They Are in Spanish
Hola a todos! By the end of this short article, you will be able to to say ‘how are you?’ in Spanish. In doing so, you will be able to ask Spanish speakers from all over the world this question.
Let’s have a look at the variety of ways to ask somebody how they are in Spanish.
1. ¿Cómo estás?
2. ¿Cómo está?
3. ¿Qué tal?
4. ¿Cómo vas?
5. ¿Cómo va?
6. ¿Cómo andas?
The most common way to say ‘how are you‘ in Spanish is ‘¿cómo estás?‘
‘Cómo estás?‘ is used in almost every Spanish speaking country. So, you can be sure that this question is suitable wherever you travel, and to whoever you ask.
You do not need to worry about the masculine or feminine aspects of Spanish grammar here. Whether you are male, or female, the phrase will remain the same.
So, let’s go through the other ways to ask somebody how they are in Spanish.
Another of the most common ways to ask somebody how they are in Spanish is ‘¿cómo está?‘
Again, ‘cómo está?‘ is used regularly in every Spanish-speaking country. The difference here is register. If you are addressing somebody of authority, such as a teacher or a boss, then you would say ‘cómo está? All you are doing is dropping the ‘s’ at the end. This is the formal version, whereas the former option is more informal.
In Spanish, the formal and informal form of the verb is different. In English, we would likely say the same thing to a friend and to our friend’s grandmother. In Spanish, this is not the case.
You can find further information on formal and informal rules in our Spanish for Beginners Course.
“¿Qué tal?” is a more friendly and informal way to say how are you in Spanish.
The translation is the same, but it is used more commonly between friends and close acquaintances, even colleagues. In Spain, qué tal is used far more frequently than in Latin America.
In some countries, it can even mean something entirely different. In parts of Mexico, for example, qué tal? is translated more literally as what’s wrong?
“¿Cómo vas?” in Spanish is translated literally as ‘How are you going?’
Again, this is an informal way to ask somebody how they are in Spanish. That said, it is very common, particularly in South America, where qué tal is used far less frequently.
“¿Cómo va?” means ‘How is it going?‘
Similarly to the Cómo vas, this Spanish expression is another relatively informal way to ask somebody how they are in Spanish. Rather than saying ‘how are you?’ the translation is more ‘how’s it going?‘
Whilst this still makes perfect sense and is used frequently, it is less common than the other translations preceding it.
“¿Cómo andas?” translates literally to ‘how are you walking?’
As you progress your level of fluency in Spanish, you will come to realise more and more that expressions and questions vary greatly depending on country and region.
This way to say ask somebody how they are in Spanish is particularly common in Argentina and Uruguay. People would certainly understand the question in other Spanish speaking countries, but it is definitely a lesson common way to ask somebody how they are.
Be sure to use cómo andas when asking somebody how they are in Spanish when you visit Argentina or Uruguay.
How to Say How Are You in Spanish - A Recap
(commonly used) – ¿Cómo estás?
(formal) – ¿Cómo está?
(informal) – ¿Qué tal?
(informal) – ¿Cómo vas?
(informal) – ¿Cómo va?
(Colloquial) – ¿Cómo andas?
Some Rules to Remember
You will have seen from this short text that there are various ways to say how are you in Spanish. Remember, the way you address somebody in Spanish depends on your relationship with them. If you want to play it safe and use the same expression with everybody then it’s best to use ¿cómo está?
Another Rule to Remember
Whilst you are learning these expressions, take a moment to use the verbs Estar and Ir, from which they derive.
You can find out more about these verbs and how to use them in our online Spanish course – Spanish for Beginners.