35 Useful Spanish Greetings and Goodbyes (+ Slang Greetings)

35 Useful Spanish Greetings and Goodbyes (+ Slang Greetings)

Everyone is familiar with the usual old Spanish greeting ‘Hola,’ or farewell ‘Adios.’ But, have you ever tried learning some other greeting or goodbye phrases besides this one?

Nonverbal greetings, such as handshake, head nodding, perhaps a kiss on the cheek is unique in every part of the world.

However, this is not enough to show your joy while greeting someone. You need to be able to express your welcoming attitude with words too.

 

In the following lines, you will learn some useful Spanish greetings and goodbyes.

Practice them out loud until you memorize them and feel confident enough to try with native speakers.

Even if you make a mistake in Spanish, don’t get discouraged, native speakers will help you by teaching you some basic Spanish words as well as work with you on your pronunciation. 

Spanish greetings

Greetings are the first touchpoint with other people, and that’s why it is essential and, more importantly, why it is polite to know as many phrases as possible. Start listening to YouTube Spanish channels or podcasts regularly to have that natural language flow.

One of the most fun ways to practice your vocabulary knowledge is with language apps like Babbel. They are very convenient ways to learn Spanish, wherever you are.

Hola - Hello

This is a Spanish absolute primary greeting phrase that you must know if you want to be a fluent speaker. It is pronounced with the silent ‘H’ letter, and it’s translated into English as ‘Hello.’

This phrase can be used alone, or together with other greeting phrases.

For example, you can say ‘Hola’ to someone meaning ‘Hello,’ but you can also use this greeting as ‘Hola, buenos dias,’ as ‘Hello, good morning.’

Buenos dias - Good morning

The morning in Spanish is ‘la mañana,’ but if you want to wish someone a good morning, you have to use the phrase ‘ Buenos dias.’

Even though this phrase is mainly translated as ‘Good morning,’ it also can mean ‘Good day.’

Spanish people use it until noon, although some say it before having lunch, followed by other greeting phrases after that.

However, no matter if you’ve had your lunch or not, it would be strange to say this phrase at 6 PM, so try avoiding that.

Buenas tardes - Good afternoon

‘Buenas tardes’ literally means ‘ good afternoon.’ It is a perfectly good time to use it, after one o’clock until sunset.

Unlike ‘Hola,’ this phrase is slightly formal, just like the previous one, ‘ Buenos dias.’

Buenas noches - Good evening/ Good night

The phrase ‘Buenas noches’ can mean ‘good evening,’ as well as farewell ‘good night.’

The Spanish language doesn’t have two separate words for ‘evening’ and ‘night,’  so that’s why they use this phrase in both cases.

You can use the phrase from sunset.

Cómo está (usted)? - How are you? (formal)

This phrase is used in a formal way of asking someone’s how they are feeling. As a sign of respect, it is commonly used with older people.

The word ‘usted’ can be used in this context, but not necessarily.

‘Usted’ means ‘You’ in a respectful, formal way. However, the verb ‘esta’ already indicates that formal and polite way, so it’s up to you if you wish to use this pronoun or not.

Cómo estás? - How are you? (informal)

It is the same phrase as the previous one, only informal. You can use it with someone of your age or younger.

 

Cómo están? - How are you? (plural)

If you are in a room with several other people, you can use this phrase to indicate that you are asking all of them how they are.

There is no marked difference between this phrase and the two previous ones, only that it’s used in a plural form.

Spanish like to kiss each other, so don’t forget to kiss everyone on the cheek.

Qué tal? - What’s up?

This greeting is nowadays often used informally. However, generally speaking, this question can be used with anyone.

To this question, you can reply ‘Bien’ to let them know you are okay.

‘Qué tal todo?’ is also commonly used, and it means ‘How is everything?’

Qué pasa? - What’s happening? What’s up?

It is not marked as an informal statement, but, interestingly enough, it is used informally with someone your age or younger. 

Qué hubo? - What happened?

In some Spanish speaking countries of Latin America, this question is used informally.

The letter ‘h’ in the word ‘hubo’ is silent, so you don’t pronounce it.

Bienvenidos - Welcome

If you want to welcome someone in your home, there is no more adequate phrase than this one.

This particular greeting phrase is used when there is more than one person, no matter if there are males, females, or both.

If you are speaking to a male, then you should use ‘ Bienvenido.’ For females, use ‘Bienvenida.’

Cómo te llamas? - What’s your name? (informal)

Informal way to ask someone of your age or younger about their name. It can be translated as ‘What are you calling yourself?’

Cómo se llamaa?- What’s your name? (formal)

Unlike the previous question, this one is used formally with older than you, someone of authority or with someone you don’t know well.

As you can see, the only difference between these two questions is in the form of the verb and the pronoun, because the verb is reflexive.

De donde eres? - Where are you from?

You should use this question in an informal way when speaking to someone your age or younger.

De donde es usted? - Where are you from? (formal)

It is the formal and respectful way of asking someone older or someone with authority where they are from.

Mi casa es su casa - My house is your house

Don’t worry; this phrase doesn’t literally mean that you are giving your house to someone.

It is meant to show your hospitality.

This particular phrase refers to people more formally. If, on another hand, you want to use it with someone your age, you should say’ Mi casa es tu casa.’

Adonde vas? - Where are you going?

As already explained, the translation of this phrase is literally ‘Where are you going?’.

You can also use the sentence if you are in a hurry, and you suddenly see or meet someone, or perhaps the person is in a hurry, so you quickly say ‘ Adonde vas?’

For a more formal way, use the verb ‘ Adonde va?’

Dónde has estado? - Where have you been?

You can use this question in a literal way if you really haven’t seen someone for a long time, so you can use it to find out where that person has been all that time.

Hace tiempo que no te veo! - It’s been a while since I’ve seen you

You can use this popular expression when you meet someone that you haven’t seen in a really long time. 

You can also use this phrase when it hasn’t been that long that you haven’t seen each other, but you use it to start the conversation.

Mucho gusto - It’s nice to meet you

When you meet someone for the first time, you should say ‘ Mucho gusto’ which means ‘ it’s nice to meet you.’

It means ‘much pleasure,’ if translated directly. It should show your joy of meeting the person for the first time.

It can be used for one person but it can also refer to several ones if needed.

Gusto en verlo - It’s nice to see you

This phrase can be followed by the previous one. When you’ve already met someone, so the next time you see the,  you can use the phrase ‘ Gusto en verlo’  to show the joy of seeing them again.

Oye - Hey

A very informal phrase to use, commonly with people your age or younger. It wouldn’t be appropriate to use it in a conversation with an older person.

You can also use it to get the attention if that someone doesn’t listen to you.

Spanish goodbyes

Unlike Spanish greetings, saying goodbye in Spanish is quite simple and straightforward. Let’s learn some of the most popular ones:

Adiós - Goodbye

It is a classic goodbye phrase.

You can use it formally or informally – there is no big difference.

Chau - Bye

‘Chau’ is used in a very casual way. It is the short version of ‘Adiós,’ mainly used between close friends. ‘Chau’ comes from Italian, and like in many languages, it is very common.

Buenas noches - Good night

We already explained this phrase in the greeting section. However, it is more appropriate to list it among goodbye phrases, isn’t it?

Hasta luego - See you later

A widespread phrase and a formal way to say goodbye to someone, whether you will see them soon or not.

Hasta mañana - See you tomorrow

If you are sure that you are going to see the person the next day, then you can use this phrase,  formal or informal way

Hasta pronto -  See you soon

As the translation itself indicates, you can use this goodbye phrase if you are going to see that person very soon. It is not entirely formal nor informal. Let’s place it somewhere in between.

Me voy - I’m going

‘Me voy’ phrase could be translated as ‘I’m going,’ and it should be used as a part of goodbye phrases informally. 

Te veo - See you

An informal phrase, literally translated, ‘I see you.’ However, it is closest to the English expression ‘see ya.’

Nos vemos - See you later

This phrase can be translated as we see each other. It is usually used to indicate some future plans, that is when you surely know you will see that person in the future.

If you add the word ‘allí,’ which means ‘there,’ you get the phrase ‘Nos vemos allí’, or ‘See you there.’

Hasta la próxima - Until next time

You can use this phrase in a situation, for example, when you are going to see the person or a group of people in a similar setting. Literally, it can be translated as ‘until the next one.’

Hasta ahora - See you in a minute

This phrase means ‘until now.’ You can use it in an informal way to say that you are going to see the person in a minute.

Cuídese/ Cuídate - Take care

The version ‘Cuidese’ is formal, while the ‘Cuidate’ is an informal way of telling someone to take care of themselves.

Que tenga un buen dia - Have a nice day

You can use this phrase both in more ways. The only difference between the formal version and casual one will be in  the word ‘tenga.’

‘Que tenga un buen día’ should be used in a formal, while ‘Que tengas un buen día’ in an informal way.

To make these phrases more enjoyable we’ve also collected some slang greetings and goodbyes from Spanish speaking countries for the phrase ‘What’s up?’. Enjoy!

 

Argentinian Slang

Cómo andás?

 

Bolivian Slang

Qué onda?

 

Chilean Slang

Ke talka

 

Cuban Slang

Qué bola?

 

Dominican Republican Slang

Que lo que?

 

Mexican Slang

Quiubole!

 

Panamanian Slang

Qué e lo que e?

 

Uruguayan Slang

Qué  haces guacho?

Greetings and goodbye phrases from this article are only the start of your Spanish learning journey.
If you're interested in improving your Spanish skills, you should try some of these cool options: Check out Babbel for fun, interactive lessons that fit into your day easily. If you want something more in-depth, there's a great Spanish course on Coursera that covers everything from the basics to more advanced topics. And if you prefer learning with a personal touch, Lingoda offers classes with native speakers that can really help you practice speaking.

Is it possible to use one vatiant of greeting all the time?

You may use Hola in most cases, but it is necessary to enrich your vocabulary and learn unfamiliar words.

Will a native speaker be angry with me if I greet him incorrectly?

Probably not, he will probably be pleased that you are trying to speak his language and help you get rid of some mistakes.

Is it possible to say the same word for greeting and for goodbye in Spanish like in French?

No, there are different words in these cases.

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