15 Ways to Say How Are You in Spanish: Formal and Informal Ways & Slang

The basic question of asking someone how are you in Spanish is probably more than just a simple question in the Spanish-speaking culture and regions. This very familiar question takes various forms, all from respectful and traditional to everyday casual interactions, and even a vibrant, most up-to-date Spanish slang on the streets.

It doesn’t really matter if you’re in a professional setting, having a conversation with close friends or you’re just casually exploring the local pubs, having the right phrases up your sleeve about how are you in Spanish is always a good thing. Spring Spanish, a project I co-founded, made a great lesson on the alternatives to the most common way of asking how are you in Spanish:

In this blog post, we will explore 15 different ways to ask how are you in Spanish, grouping them into formal, informal, and slang categories. It’s all for you to have the verbal skills to comfortably adapt to a wide range of scenarios.

Formal ways to ask how are you in Spanish

Having the formal methods of asking about someone’s well-being in Spanish is important. Particularly, if you’re in a professional or academic scenario. Or, for that matter, any scenario where a specific degree of respect and politeness is needed.

First, let’s list all of these formal ways to ask how are you in Spanish, then explore them in-depth. Click on any of them to learn more!

SpanishEnglish
¿Cómo está usted?How are You?
¿Cómo se encuentra?How are You feeling?
¿Qué tal está?How are things?
¿Cómo se siente hoy?How do You feel today?
¿Cómo ha estado?How have You been?

1. ¿Cómo está usted? (How are You)

Effortless Answers

This phrase is perhaps THE formal way to ask about someone’s wellbeing. Perfect for use in a professional setting or when speaking with someone you don’t know well, its use of the formal pronoun “usted” reflects respect and politeness.

Imagine you’re meeting a new colleague at an academic conference. A good way to break the ice and start a conversation might be to extend a hand and ask, ¿Cómo está usted? (How are you?).

2. ¿Cómo se encuentra? (How are You feeling?)

Another phrase that shows a sense of formality and concern, ¿Cómo se encuentra? is often used when you want to show that you care about the person’s current state, especially if you know they’ve been through a stressful period.

During a formal event, upon meeting a colleague who recently had to deal with a challenging project, you might show your concern by asking, ¿Cómo se encuentra? (How are you feeling?).

3. ¿Qué tal está? (How are things?)

While ¿Qué tal está? can be slightly less formal, it is still appropriate in a formal setting when you wish to ask someone how they are in a general sense, touching on their personal or professional life without being too intrusive.

In an office setting where you’re engaging with a superior about whom you care, a subtle ¿Qué tal está? (How are things?) could serve as a polite conversation starter.

4. ¿Cómo se siente hoy? (How do You feel today?)

This question is particularly suited for situations where you know someone has been unwell or is going through a tough time. It’s a way to show empathy and concern in a respectful manner.

After hearing that your boss was unwell the previous week, upon their return, a considerate ¿Cómo se siente hoy? (How do you feel today?) can convey your genuine concern for their health.

5. ¿Cómo ha estado? (How have You been?)

This question is a bit more general and can ask about person’s state over a period of time. It’s formal yet shows a level of interest in the person’s life, making it suitable for conversations with colleagues or acquaintances you don’t see regularly.

Meeting an academic mentor after several months, a respectful inquiry about their well-being through ¿Cómo ha estado? (How have you been?) is both formal and warmly personal.

Informal ways to ask how are you in Spanish

When you’re chatting with pals, your family, or work buddies you’re tight with, the vibe of your questions can chill out a bit. Here are some laid-back phrases you can use to check in on how someone’s doing in Spanish.

Click on any of the chunks in this table to learn more about them!

SpanishEnglish
¿Cómo estás?How are you?
¿Qué tal?How’s it going?
¿Cómo te va?How’s it going for you?
¿Cómo andas?How are you doing?
¿Qué onda?What’s up?

Oh, and I just mentioned chunks! But what are they? Well, chunks are common words, phrases and sentences that native speakers use in everyday conversations without even noticing it. These natural building blocks of the language help you learn any language, even Spanish, without the hassle of memorizing words separately or learning boring grammar rules and definitions. Interested? Sign up now to get our free Spanish Conversation Based Chunking Starter pack with essential chunking list and my favourite resources to learn Spanish.

6. ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)

Effortless Answers

The informal counterpart to ¿Cómo está usted?, ¿Cómo estás? uses the informal “tú” form and is probably the most common way to ask how someone is doing in a casual setting.

Seeing a friend after a long day, a heartfelt ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?) can immediately bring a sense of closeness and concern for their well-being.

7. ¿Qué tal? (How’s it going?)

Extremely versatile and casual, ¿Qué tal? is a staple in everyday conversations among Spanish speakers. It can serve as a greeting or a genuine question about someone’s life.

Running into a neighbor while walking your dog, a cheerful ¿Qué tal? (How’s it going?) can make for a friendly and engaging neighborhood interaction.

8. ¿Cómo te va? (How’s it going for you?)

Similar to ¿Qué tal?, but with a slight personal touch by adding “te,” ¿Cómo te va? is another informal and common way to ask about someone’s well-being or their life in general.

Chatting with a close colleague about a project, you might start with a ¿Cómo te va? (How’s it going for you?) to gauge their stress level or overall mood.

9. ¿Cómo andas? (How are you doing?)

This phrase is similar to asking “How are you holding up?” in English. It’s informal and suggests a degree of familiarity and concern.

Meeting a friend who is juggling work and studies, a supportive ¿Cómo andas? (How are you doing?) can show that you care about their situation.

10. ¿Qué onda? (What’s up?)

Very colloquial and more commonly used among younger Spanish speakers, ¿Qué onda? is equivalent to “What’s up?” in English. It’s a very casual way to greet someone and ask how they are doing simultaneously.

Seeing a group of friends at a cafe, you might greet them with a lively ¿Qué onda? (What’s up?), instantly creating a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

how are you in spanish in a cafe

Spanish slang to ask how are you in Spanish

Slang’s the secret sauce in the big ol’ linguistics, isn’t it? It’s adding flavors of culture and slices of day-to-day living to the language. Below are the casual, slang-packed Spanish queries equivalent to how are you in Spanish.

Click on any of these to learn more about them!

SpanishEnglish
¿Qué más?What else?
¿Cómo vas?How’s it going?
¿Qué cuentas?What are you telling?/What’s new?
¿Qué talco?What’s up?
¿Qué pedo?What’s the fart?/What’s up?

11. ¿Qué más? (What else?)

Popular in countries like Colombia, ¿Qué más? is a usual way to ask someone what’s new with them or how they’re doing. It’s a casual greeting that implies you’re interested in any news they might have to share.

Encountering a friend from Colombia in a social setting, a friendly ¿Qué más? (What else?) shows your eagerness to catch up on their life.

12. ¿Cómo vas? (How’s it going?)

This phrase is a more informal version of ¿Cómo te va?, used among friends and peers. It’s another way to ask someone about their current state in a very informal context.

Working on a group project with classmates, a casual ¿Cómo vas? (How’s it going?) can help to ease the atmosphere and show solidarity.

13. ¿Qué cuentas? (What are you telling?/What’s new?)

¿Qué cuentas? invites the person to share any news or significant happenings in their life. It’s an informal and friendly way to show interest in someone’s experiences or stories.

Reuniting with a friend who recently returned from a trip, an excited ¿Qué cuentas? (What’s new?) is a great way to express your curiosity about their adventures.

how are you in spanish on a chalkboard

14. ¿Qué talco? (What’s up?)

Although less common, ¿Qué talco? is a playful and creative slang expression used to ask “What’s up?” Its usage can vary by region but captures the inventiveness of slang.

At a gathering with close friends, throwing in a ¿Qué talco? (What’s up?) can add a humorous twist to the usual ways of asking how someone is.

15. ¿Qué pedo? (What’s the fart?/What’s up?)

Predominantly used in Mexico, ¿Qué pedo? may raise eyebrows among those unfamiliar with its usage due to its literal translation. In the right context among friends, it’s a very casual way to ask “What’s up?”

In a casual meet-up with friends in Mexico, a jovial ¿Qué pedo? (What’s up?) immediately sets a laid-back, informal tone for the conversation.

Practice Worksheet – How are you in Spanish in real-life situations

Fill in the blanks with the appropriate Spanish phrase from the list provided.

This is just the first part of the exercise – click the button below to practice more!

Conversation Based Chunking will help you learn more Spanish words and phrases to say how are you

As we finish our investigation into the different methods of asking how are you in Spanish, it’s important to highlight the importance of the Conversation Based Chunking method. What is it?

Well, I already mentioned chunks in the blog post, and it’s really useful in the process of learning a new language.

This method emphasizes the comprehension and application of language in chunks or phrases as they naturally occur in everyday conversations. With Conversation Based Chunking, you achieve more than just a broadened lexicon; you learn about the cultural and situational subtleties of the Spanish language.

This strategy allows you to participate in conversations that feel more spontaneous and smooth. And trust me, this will advance you past the basic level of textbook Spanish to a more genuine and engaging mode of communication.

Even if at first, it’s just about formally asking a co-worker “¿Cómo está usted?” or informally catching up with friends using “¿Qué tal?“.

After mastering these varied expressions through Conversation Based Chunking, you will have more impactful exchanges in Spanish-speaking contexts.

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