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Week 1 Day 1: Basic Greetings

What’s in store for you today: Basic Greetings

Vocabulary: Basic Greetings

Listen to Track 1.1.1


Woman: Hola. ¿Cómo estás? (Hello, how are you?)

Girl: Buenos días. Estoy bien. Y usted? (Good day. I’m fine, and you?)

Woman: Estoy bien, gracias. (I’m fine, thank you.)

Girl: ¿Cómo se llama? (What is your name?)

Woman: Me llamo Señora González. Y tú? ¿Cómo te llamas? (My name is Mrs. González. And you? What is your name?)

Girl: Me llamo Lucía. (My name is Lucía.)

Woman: Hasta luego, Lucía. (See you later, Lucía.)

Girl: Adiós, Señora González. (Goodbye, Mrs. González.)

Let’s start by looking at some basic greetings.

Standard/Formal Greetings

Listen to Track 1.1.2


As you probably already know, “hola” is a very common greeting in Spanish. It means “hello” and can be used any time you would use this everyday salutation. If you want to be more specific, though, and say something like “good day” or “good afternoon,” you have some options for that. And here they are:

  • When you see someone earlier in the day, you’ll say, “buenos días,” which is like saying “good day.”
  • When you see someone in the afternoon or evening, you’ll say, “buenas tardes,” which is like saying “good afternoon/good evening.”

When you want to say “goodbye,” you can, of course, use the traditional “adiós” that everyone knows so well. But if you want to switch it up a little, here are some options you can choose from.

  • Hasta Luego: This means, “until later” and is a very common farewell in Spain.
  • Hasta La Próxima: This is like saying “until next time.”
  • Chao (pronounced like the Italian “ciao”) is another common way of saying “goodbye” in Spain.
  • Hasta mañana: “Until tomorrow.”
  • Hasta pronto: “Until soon.” You would use this if you know you’ll see the person again within a short span of time.
  • Nos vemos: This is similar to saying “see ya.”

Something a little more informal

As you will soon learn, there is often a formal and an informal way of saying things in Spanish. Sometimes the difference is grammatical, while other times, it’s simply in your choice of words. The phrase “buenas,” for example, is one of those “choice of words” moments.

Buenas” is a quick, easy, informal way of saying “hello.” You can use it at any time of day, and it’s pretty easy to remember, too!

Listening and Practice

Listen to each of the following greetings being said, in order, by a native Spanish speaker. Really pay attention to how the words sound. Take note of any sounds that surprise you, or sound different than you had imagined the words being said.

It’s time to start training your ear! 

Listen to Track 1.1.3


  • Hola
  • Buenos días
  • Buenas tardes
  • Buenas
  • Adiós
  • Hasta mañana
  • Hasta luego
  • Hasta pronto
  • Hasta la próxima
  • Nos vemos

Listen to Track 1.1.4


Of course, after you say “hello” to someone, you’re probably going to want to continue the conversation. Why not ask them their name? Below, you’ll see how to do that in both the formal and informal contexts.

Note: Before we get too far along with all this “formal/informal” stuff, let’s discuss what we mean when we make this distinction. A good rule of thumb is this: if you’re around someone you don’t know, or someone you would address with a title (Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc.), you’ll probably use the formal option. Informal is usually reserved for friends and family.

In a formal situation, you’ll ask:

  • ¿Cómo se llama? (What is your name?)
  • Or ¿Cuál es su nombre? (What is your name?)

In an informal situation, you’ll ask:

  • ¿Cómo te llamas? (What is your name?)
  • Or ¿Cuál es tu nombre? (What is your name?)

And the answer will be either:

  • Me llamo… (My name is…)
  • Or Mi nombre es… (My name is…)

And, just because we’re being nice here, let’s talk about ways to say “it’s nice to meet you.” You have a few options here, so take your pick!

  • Es un placer conocerle (It’s a pleasure to meet you – formal.)
  • Es un placer conocerte (It’s a pleasure to meet you – informal.)
  • Encantada (Pleased to meet you.) IMPORTANT NOTE: You use this form if you are a woman.
  • Encantado (Pleased to meet you.) IMPORTANT NOTE: You use this form if you are a man.
  • Mucho gusto (Nice to meet you).

All of these options can be used interchangeably.

Listen to Track 1.1.5


In this little section, let’s focus on asking how someone is doing. Again, here you have options for whether you want to be formal or informal in your question-asking.

In a formal situation:

  • You’ll ask: ¿Cómo está usted?
  • A possible answer would be: Estoy bien, gracias. (I’m fine, thank you.)

In an informal situation:

  • You’ll ask: ¿Cómo estás tú?
  • A possible answer to your question would be: Así-así. (So-so.)

Pronunciation and Vocabulary Practice

Let’s take some time to practice your pronunciation and review the important vocabulary we’ve looked at so far.

For the following activities, listen to the tracks once. Then listen to them again, repeating what you hear. Focus not only on trying to mimic the pronunciation you hear in the recording but also on continuing to familiarize your ear with how Spanish sounds when spoken by a native speaker.

Listen to Track 1.1.6: Greetings and Farewells


Buenos días – Good morning./Good day.

Buenas tardes – Good afternoon./Good evening.

Adiós – Goodbye.

Hasta luego – Until later.

Listen to Track 1.1.7: In a Formal Situation


Buenos días. ¿Cómo está usted? – Good day. How are you?

Estoy bien, gracias. ¿Y usted? – I’m fine, thank you. And you?

Estoy muy bien. – I’m very well.

Adiós. – Goodbye.

Hasta luego. – Until later.

Listen to Track 1.1.8: In an Informal Situation


Hola, Sara. ¿Cómo estás? – Hello, Sara. How are you?

Bien. ¿Y tú? – Well, and you?

Estoy bien. – I’m fine.

Nos vemos. – See ya.

Hasta la próxima. – Until next time.

One last question:

  • ¿Cómo se llama? (Formal)
  • ¿Cómo te llamas? (Informal)

Additional Vocabulary

Sometimes, you’ll find an “Additional Vocabulary” section at the end of a lesson. This vocabulary is optional. It’s good to know, but not part of our daily goals. So feel free to either study and learn these words, or simply skim through them.

Here are a few more useful greetings you might want to make a note of:

Some casual greetings (to be used with friends):

  • ¿Qué hay? – What’s up?
  • ¿Qué pasa? – What’s happening?/What’s up?
  • ¿Qué tal? – How’s it going?
  • ¡Hace mucho que no te veo! –It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you!
  • ¿Cómo te va? – How’s it going?
  • ¿Qué haces? – What are you doing?

Some more answers to the question “¿Cómo estás?” (How are you?)

  • Un poco cansado – A little tired (for men).
  • Un poco cansada – A little tired (for women).
  • Estoy enfermo – I’m sick (for men).
  • Estoy enferma – I’m sick (for women).
  • Más o menos – More or less.

Random things that are good to know:

  • Nada – Nothing
  • Lo siento – Sorry
  • Chao – Goodbye
  • Por favor – Please
  • Gracias – Thank you
  • Muchas gracias – Thank you very much
  • De nada – You’re welcome
  • Yo no sé – I don’t know
  • Bienvenidos – Welcome

Today’s Recap

Today we talked about introducing ourselves, and general greetings.

  • We learned how to ask someone’s name. (¿Cómo te llamas? ¿Cómo se llama?) 
  • We looked at how to ask someone how they’re doing. (¿Cómo estás? ¿Cómo está?)
  • And we learned how to answer these questions.
  • We also had a little introduction to formal vs. informal speech in Spanish.