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Greetings and Formality


There are different greetings in Spanish depending on the time of day.

morning buenos días
afternoon buenas tardes
evening buenas noches
any time of day hola

There are also different ways of saying good-bye, though these don’t depend on time of day:

good-bye adiós
see you later hasta luego

Finally, you learned how to ask how a person is feeling:

How’s it going? ¿Qué tal?
How are you? (informal) ¿Cómo estás tú?
How are you? (formal) ¿Cómo está (usted)?

and usted

As you’ve just seen, in Spanish there is a formal and an informal way of referring to the person that you’re talking to. is used to refer to a person in an informal way. Use when talking to your friends, members of your family, or people who are younger than you. Use the more respectful usted when talking to someone who is older or who you don’t know very well.

¿Cómo estás (tú)? is the question you would ask when speaking to a friend or someone who’s younger than you. Use the expression ¿Cómo está (usted)? when talking to an adult or someone you don’t know very well.


Informal Formal
(you) usted (you)
¿Cómo estás (tú)? (How are you?) ¿Cómo está (usted)? (How are you?)