How to Say How Are You in Spanish

Four Methods:Printable Cheat SheetBasic QuestionOther Ways of AskingResponding to the Question

The standard, most basic way of asking “How are you?” in Spanish is “¿Cómo estás?” There are several other ways to ask the question, however, as well as multiple ways to respond. Here are some of the most common translations you should know.

Printable Cheat Sheet

Sample Ways to Say How Are You in Spanish

Method 1
Basic Question

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    Politely ask "¿Cómo está usted?" This question translates literally into “How are you?”
    • Cómo means “how.”
    • Está is the third person singular conjugation of the verb “estar,” meaning “to be” in a temporary sense. Note that you would not use the “to be” verb “ser,” since “ser” implies a permanent condition.
    • Usted is a third person singular noun meaning “you.” It is considered a formal way of addressing someone, so you should use it with anyone you do not know well. You could also drop usted from this question and the statement will still mean the same thing.
    • Pronounce this question as koh-moh ehs-tah oos-tehd.
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    Ask a friend "¿Cómo estás?" This question also translates directly into “How are you?”
    • Estás is the second person singular conjugation of estar, and it is used with the “you” pronoun “tú.” This conjugation should only be used for someone that you are on familiar terms with, like a relative or friend.
    • The pronunciation of this question would be koh-moh ehs-tahs.

Method 2
Other Ways of Asking

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    Say "¿Cómo te va?" Translated literally, this question asks, "How are you going?"
    • The question can be interpreted as either "How are you doing?" or "How's it going?"
    • Te is a direct object pronoun meaning "you" in the informal singular sense.[1]
    • Va is a conjugated form of the verb "ir," meaning "to go."
    • A general pronunciation of this question is koh-moh tay vah.
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    Ask how someone feels with "¿Cómo se siente?"[2] This question literally means "How do you feel?" or "How are you feeling?"
    • Se is a direct object pronoun. It can be used for the third person "him" or "her," or it can be used for the polite form of "you."
    • Siente is the third person singular conjugation of the verb "sentir," meaning "to feel."
    • Pronounce this question as koh-moh say see-en-tay.
    • For someone you are familiar with, you could use "¿Cómo te sientes?" instead.
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    Use "¿Cómo van las cosas?" Translated literally, this question asks, “How are things going?”
    • Cómo means "how" and "van" is a conjugated form of the verb "ir," meaning "to go."
    • "Las cosas" means "the things." When translating the question into English, though, you would drop the word "the."
    • Pronounce this question as koh-moh bahn lahs koh-sahs.
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    Ask "¿Cómo andas?" While a little less common, this is another question that loosely translates into “How are you doing?”
    • Translated literally, this phrase actually asks “How are you walking?”
    • Andas is a second person singular conjugation of the verb “andar,” meaning “to walk.” Since this verb is conjugated in the informal “you” tense, you would only ask this question to someone you are familiar with.
    • The pronunciation of this phrase is koh-moh ahn-dahs.
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    Try asking "¿Qué pasa?" This is an informal way of asking someone how they are and is equivalent to the English, "What's up?"
    • Translated more literally, it means "What is passing?" or "What is going on?"
    • Qué means "what."
    • Pasa is the third person singular conjugated form of the verb "pasar," meaning "to pass" or "to go."
    • Note that the third person conjugation refers to an inanimate "it" rather than the polite "you" form, "usted." As such, this phrase is still considered informal.
    • A general pronunciation of this phrase would be kay pah-sah.
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    Switch to "¿Qué tal?" This is another question that could be interpreted as "What's up" or "How are things?"
    • The literal translation of this question is somewhat clumsy to a native English speaker. Qué means "what" and tal means "such," so a literal translation would be "what such?"
    • Pronounce this question as kay tahl.

Method 3
Responding to the Question

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    Answer positively with "bien.” This adjective translates into “well.”
    • Pronounce the word bee-en.
    • You could also say “Estoy bien,” meaning, “I am well.” Estoy—pronounced ehs-toy—is the first person singular or “I” conjugation of the “to be” verb “estar.”
    • To be polite, follow your response with the word "gracias," pronounced grah-see-us. This interjection means “thanks,” and suggests to the other individual that you are happy or grateful that he or she asked how you were.
    • If you feel really great, say "muy bien.” Muy, pronounced moo-ee, is an adverb meaning “very.”
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    Answer negatively with "mal." This word translates into “bad” or “poorly.”
    • Pronounce the word as mahl.
    • As with bien, you can also answer “Estoy mal” to mean “I am doing poorly” or “Muy mal” to mean “Very bad.” You would not generally follow the statement with “gracias,” however.
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    Use "más o menos" if your mood is in between. This phrase is generally regarded to mean “so-so” or “okay.”
    • Translated more directly, the phrase actually means “more or less.” Más means “more,” o means “or,” and menos means “less.”
    • The pronunciation for this phrase is mahs oh meh-nohs.
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    Explain how you feel with "Me siento..." This phrase translates literally into, “I feel...” and must be followed with an adjective describing how you feel, like “bien” or “mal.”
    • This phrase would generally be used in response to the question "¿Cómo se siente?"
    • Pronounce the phrase as may see-en-toh.
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    Answer "un poco cansado" or "un poco cansada" if you feel tired. This translates literally into “a little tired.”
    • Poco means “little.”
    • Cansado means “tired” or “sleepy.”
    • The -o or -a ending depends on your gender. If you are male, say “un poco cansado.” If you are female, say “un poco cansada.
    • Pronounce “un poco cansado” as oon po-ko kahn-sah-doh.
    • Pronounce “un poco cansada” as oon po-ko kahn-sah-dah.
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    Reply with "estoy enfermo" or "estoy enferma" if you feel ill. This phrase literally means, “I am sick” or “I am ill.”
    • Estoy is the “I” conjugation of the verb “estoy,” meaning “to be.”
    • Enfermo is an adjective meaning “sick” or “ill.” The ending will change from -o to -a depending on your gender. If you are male, use “enfermo.” If you are female, use “enferma.”
    • Pronounce “estoy enfermo” as ehs-toy en-fer-moh. Say en-fer-mah for “enferma.”
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    Follow up with "¿Y tú?" This question literally translates into, “and you?”
    • Use this question after someone has asked you how you are and you have given your response. By doing so, you are returning the question and asking the other person how he or she is.
    • Y means “and.”
    • is the familiar way of saying “you.” Note that if you are speaking with someone you are not familiar with, you should use the formal “you” translation, “usted.”
    • The right pronunciation of “¿y tú?” is ee too. For “¿y usted?,” the pronunciation would be ee oos-tehd.

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