¿Cómo estás? vs ¿Cómo está? (2022)

Quick answer – both ‘¿Cómo estás?’ and ‘¿Cómo está?’ mean ‘How are you?’ in Spanish. ‘¿Comó estás?’ is the informal (but more common) ‘’ form and ‘¿Comó está?’ the more formal ‘usted’ form (the use of which varies according to the country that you´re in). ‘¿Cómo está?’ can also refer to ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘it’ (like ‘How is he / she?’ in English).

So, which one to choose?

This basically depends on the situation and the country in which you are in.

In all Spanish speaking countries ‘¿Cómo estás?’ translates to ‘How are you?’ and ´¿Cómo está?´ to ‘How is he / she?’.

The more confusing part is the ‘usted’ form as it´s used (way!) more in some countries (looking at you Colombia) than others (eyes firmly fixed on Spain)!

Let´s get into the nitty gritty!

¿Cómo estás? vs. ¿Cómo está?

As you may have noticed, the first word (‘cómo’) in these phrases remains the same. This is true if you are addressing a group of people, your mother, or the President of Mexico!

The word that does vary according to the situation and who you are conversing with is the ‘estás’ (or ‘está’).

“But what exactly is this pesky ‘estás’”, I hear you cry, “and why on earth doesn´t it just stay the same?”!

Well, let´s think about the English equivalent for a sec …

The literal translation of ‘Cómo estás’ is ‘How are you?’ which obviously changes in English too, depending on the context. For example, if you want to ask how a group of people who are NOT present are in English, you´d obviously say, ‘How are they?’.

What´s the common denominator? Well, the verb ‘to be’, of course!

Yes, we can blame the humble verb ‘to be’ for all our woes (well, all our ¿comó estás / está? woes at least!)

Let´s conjugate ‘to be’ in the present tense to shed some light on the matter –

PresentEnglish translation
yoestoyI am
estásyou are
él / ella / ustedestáhe /she / it is (usted = you are)
nosotrosestamoswe are
vosotrosestáisyou (pl.) are
ellos / ellas / ustedesestánthey are


So, as you can see above, the verb ‘estar’ changes depending on who exactly you are referring to.

The expression ‘¿Cómo estás?’ follows the same rules as ‘estar’ in the sense that if you just want to launch a friendly ‘How are you?’ at the person you´re talking to, ‘estás’ should be your conjugation of choice (hence ‘¿Cómo estás?’).

(Video) Learn Spanish - Cómo estás vs Cómo está usted || How are you?

If, however, you are asking after a single person (or dog, cat, ferret, etc.) not present at the time, ‘está’ would be your go-to instead!

Cómo estás (informal) vs. Cómo está usted (formal)

As mentioned previously, both these phrases CAN mean the exact same thing (i.e., ‘How are you?’), but ‘¿Cómo está usted?’ is considered to be more formal because it is in the ‘usted’ form.

To truly understand these two expressions, we need to delve deeper into ‘’ vs. ‘usted’, and the contexts in which each of them are used.

First, let´s look at the general ‘guidelines’ (put in inverted commas as they vary greatly from place to place) as to when to use ‘usted’.

So, what exactly is ‘usted’?

Well, it´s basically a more formal way of saying ‘you’, formed by using the third person singular form of a verb (for example, ‘está’, ‘canta’ or ‘come’).

Let´s look at a few examples –

¡Usted canta muy bien!

¿Quiere algo más?

Would you like like anything else?

¿De dónde es usted?

Where are you from?

(Video) How are you? in Spanish || Responder ¿Cómo estás? en español.

And when is ‘usted’ used?

Well, this really depends on the country. In most Latin American countries, ‘usted’ is used when speaking to elderly people AND in formal situations, such as a work environment or when you´re talking to teachers, doctors, etc.

It´s basically used as a way of showing respect to the person you´re conversing with.

Tread carefully though! It´s more common (and the rules are more strictly adhered to) in certain countries than it is in others.

In Mexico (where I live), ‘usted’ is often used with elderly people and *sometimes* with people you don´t know, but neither of these rules are hard and fast as I hear people flouting them on a near daily basis. The strictness to which these rules are adhered also depends on the area of Mexico in which you are in (I´d generally say that people are more likely to use ‘usted’ in rural areas).

In Colombia, ‘usted’ is super common and ‘¿Cómo está?’ is actually the preferred way of saying ‘How are you?’ in most circumstances, whereas in Spain usted’ is used very little and you´re very unlikely to be asked ‘¿Cómo está?’ (let alone ‘¿Cómo está usted?’)!

As a rule, I´d use ‘¿Cómo está?’ when addressing elderly people in any Latin American country and in any situation that you consider to be remotely formal. You may miss the mark, but it´s better to play it safe!

Erika´s top tip – often the best thing to do is to listen carefully to how others around you are addressing the person in question and then go from there!

When to use ¿Cómo están?

¿Cómo están?´ is the Spanish equivalent of ‘How are they?’, or ‘How are you (plural)?´ when used in the formal ‘usted’ form.

Let´s look at a few examples –

Sandra – Mis hijas acaban de regresar de viaje.

Manuel – ¿Y cómo están? ¿Cómo la pasaron?


Sandra – My daughters have just got back from holiday.

Manuel – And how are they? Did they have a good time?

(Video) The Most Simple Video Tutorial of QUÉ TAL vs CÓMO ESTÁS

Boy passing by a group of elderly neighbors in Mexico City.

Buenos días, ¿cómo están el día de hoy?

Morning, how are you (plural) today?

Cómo está usted response

You can generally respond to ‘¿Cómo está usted?’ in the exact same way as you would to a simple ‘¿Cómo estás?’. Normally, the best (and easiest!) response is ‘Muy bien, ¿y tú?’ or ´Muy bien, ¿y usted?’ (depending on whether or not you´re actually feeling ‘muy bien’ or not, of course).

Feeling adventurous you say?

Well, let´s have a look at a few other options –

¡Muy bien, gracias!

This one literally translates to ‘Very well, thank you!’ and is the perfect response to a ‘¿Cómo está usted?’ if you´re feeling upbeat and jovial!

¡Todo bien, gracias!

¡Todo bien, gracias!’ is a tad more informal than ‘¡Muy bien, gracias!’, but it´s an easy to remember and native-sounding response! It’s a bit like the English ‘All good, thanks!

¿Cómo está usted?

¡Todo bien, gracias!


How are you?

All good, thanks!

Erika´s note – just remember that ‘¿Cómo está usted?’ is a more formal way of asking ‘How are you?´, so an equally formal response is required in some (but definitely not all!) situations.

(Video) 6 answers to ¿Cómo estás? for children learning Spanish

¡Pues, más o menos!

This is the one to plump for if you´re not having the best of days as it’s the Spanish equivalent of ‘I´m ok’.

¿Cómo está usted?

¡Pues, más o menos, no me puedo quejar!


How are you?

I´m ok, can´t complain!

Ahí andamos / Ahí ando

This one´s similar in meaning to ‘más o menos’. It´s a very Mexican expression and means something along the lines of ‘Well, I suppose things could be better, but I really can´t complain’. You´ll hear this one a lot on the streets of Mexico City!

Man conversing with a tamale* seller early one morning in Mexico City.

¿Cómo está usted?

Ahí andamos. ¡Y usted?


How are you?

I´m ok and you?

*Erika´s note – tamales’ are a tasty Mexican / Latin American treats made from corn dough.

Final thoughts

There we have it, I´m sure that once you´ve really got your teeth into the Spanish language, knowing whether to say ‘¿Cómo estás?’ and ‘¿Cómo está?’ will become second nature!

(Video) When to use ¿Cómo estás? VS ¿Cómo está usted?

With a bit of luck this article will have also given you a nudge in the right direction!

¡Hasta pronto!

FAQs

What is the correct response to cómo estás? ›

When someone asks you ¿Cómo estás? If you feel alright, you say estoy bien; you could also say, estoy muy bien, to give more emphasis, which means “very good” or “very well.” You can also add one extra word, gracias, meaning “thanks”, and estoy bien, gracias; it means “I'm fine, thank you.”

What is the difference between Cómo estás and Cómo eres? ›

Refers to how you are as a person — your physical or personality traits. ¿Cómo estás refers to how you are currently — the way you are feeling at the moment. This difference exists because of the two Spanish verbs for to be: ser and estar.

What is a more informal way of asking Cómo estás? ›

A more accurate translation of this expression could be “How is it going?” Also, keep in mind that ¿cómo te va? is more informal than ¿cómo estás? You can use this question to ask the person how they're doing, but you can also use it to ask about something more specific.

What is Cómo estás? ›

¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)

How do you respond to Como estas like a native? ›

11 Responses to “Cómo estás” that will make you sound like a native speaker
  1. Estoy bien. I'm fine.
  2. Estoy mal. I'm not well.
  3. Todo bien.
  4. No me puedo quejar.
  5. No puedo quejarme.
  6. Bien, aquí nomás.
  7. Estoy más o menos. I'm ok.
  8. Bien, en lo que cabe. Fine, all things considered.
13 Aug 2019

Is Como esta formal? ›

How to Say Hello How Are You in Spanish. If you'd like to say “Hello, how are you?” in Spanish, you can use “*Hola, ¿cómo estás?” (informal/singular). If you are greeting someone in a more formal setting, you'll want to use “Hola, ¿cómo está?” (formal/singular).

How do you respond to Hola como te va? ›

would be bien (fine) or even ¡muy bien! (great!). Other less positive replies could be vaya (so-so), regular (not bad), vamos tirando (getting by).

Is Como se llama formal? ›

To say “my name is…” in Spanish you say me llamo… In this episode of Coffee Break Spanish To Go, Marina asks the question, ¿Cómo te llamas? (informal) or ¿Cómo se llama usted? (formal). You can use the answers of our interviewees to help you learn to introduce yourself in Spanish.

Is Cómo está usted formal or informal? ›

It's an informal greeting, but if you change it just a little bit to ¿cómo está? it becomes a formal greeting.

How do you respond to greetings in Spanish? ›

When asked how you are, the most common response is: “Estoy muy bien, gracias” (I am very well, thank you). Just as in English, it is uncommon to reply with “Mal” (bad), even if you aren't 100%. You can use something like “No muy bien” or “Regular” to reply that things could be better.

Is Cómo han estado formal or informal? ›

– ¿Cómo ha estado? Another practical greeting that is pretty simple and direct – it can be used in both formal or informal scenarios, It's especially common when you haven't seen a person for a long time, and you want to catch up with them.

How do you respond to Que Pasa? ›

Estoy bien. Nothing. I'm fine.

What does muy bien mean? ›

The most common meaning of muy bien in Spanish is “very well”.

How do you answer que hora es? ›

Telling Time in Spanish ¿Qué hora es? ¿A qué hora...? - YouTube

How do you say como esta? ›

Hola, ¿cómo estás?
  1. oh. - lah. koh. - moh. ehs. - tahs.
  2. o. - la. ko. - mo. es. - tas.
  3. Ho. - la, ¿ có - mo. es. - tás?

Does Hola como estas mean? ›

¡Hola! Cómo estás? could be translated to 'Hello/Hi! How are you?'

What language is bueno? ›

interjection Spanish. good; all right.

How do you respond to que lindo? ›

People normaly used it to express admiration or to flert with a woman, or even to say that she's cute/dear/lovely/adorable/educated/polite. If a girl is polite when she speaks with her gramma, the old lady can reply by saying: “Que linda! – How sweet from you!

How do you respond to Hermosa? ›

Definitely! Or Hola Hermoso tambien es correcto. Either one is a sweet way to reply. Well, almost perfect.

How do you respond to very good in Spanish? ›

If you want to respond by saying that you're good, the correct answer would be: Estoy bien.
...
How to respond to cómo estás.
EspañolEnglish
Muy bienVery well
SuperbiénVery well
Todo bienEverything is good
Bien bienGood, good
5 more rows

Is Hasta luego formal? ›

Hasta luego

This is formal. You use it when you want to say goodbye to somebody you may see soon (or not), but you're not sure when.

How do you introduce yourself in Spanish? ›

Spanish Introductions

The most common way to introduce yourself in Spanish is to say "Me llamo" followed by your name. Alternatives include "Mi nombre es" or "Soy" followed by your name. "Hola" can be used for either "hi" or "hello."

How do Spanish speakers greet each other? ›

The common verbal greeting is “Buenos dias” (Good day), “Buenas tardes” (Good afternoon) or “Buenas noches” (Good evening/night) depending on the time of day. People may also say “¿Como está?” (How are you). A more casual greeting is “Hola” (Hello).

What does por nada mean? ›

por na·da Adverb. Translate "por nada" to English: almost, nearly, about, nigh.

What are the 2 meanings of Mucho Gusto? ›

Using gusto means whatever is being described is pleasing me. The literal translation of “mucho” is “a lot of.” Therefore, according to Spanish Dict, “mucho gusto” directly translates to “much pleasure.” As a greeting, it is used to mean that it is a pleasure to make one's acquaintance.

What is como se Llaman? ›

What does cómo te llamas mean? Cómo te llamas is a conversational way to ask someone “What's your name?” in Spanish.

Is Y Tu formal? ›

Y tu is informal and Y Usted id formal. In Spanish we change the way we speak when talking to someone we have respect for and are an adult rather than our friends. When talking to an adult we use formal language when talking to our friends we use informal language. They both still mean the same thing.

What's your name Spanish slang? ›

¿Cuál es tu nombre?

How do you formally greet someone in Spanish? ›

Learn Spanish - How to Greet People in Spanish - YouTube

How do you greet multiple people in Spanish? ›

When you are addressing a group of two or more people, use one of these two forms.
  1. ustedes, Uds. ( plural form of tú) → “you” plural (formal) ...
  2. vosotros/as (plural form of tú)→ “you” plural (informal) This is only used in Spain and is informal.

How do you informally greet someone in Spanish? ›

Casual and informal greetings in Spanish

¡Hola, hola! Hey! ¡Oye! What's up?

What are 3 greetings in Spanish? ›

1.1 Greetings in Spanish
  • Hola - Hello.
  • Buenos días - Good morning.
  • Buenas tardes - Good afternoon.
  • Buenas noches - Good evening.

Is Muy bien formal? ›

If you're not sure when to use a formal or informal expression, just use the formal one. Sometimes people will tell you that you don't have to be formal.
...
Greetings in Spanish.
EnglishSpanish – InformalSpanish – Formal
Fine (thanks), and you?Bien (gracias), ¿y tú?Bien (gracias), ¿y usted?
Very wellMuy bien
I'm glad for youMe alegro
34 more rows

What are five greetings in Spanish? ›

Here are the most common greetings in Spanish:
  • Hola – Hello.
  • Buenas – Hi (informal)
  • Buenos días – Good morning.
  • Buen día – Good morning (less common, used in Argentina)
  • Buenas tardes – Good afternoon.
  • Buenas noches – Good evening.
  • Bienvenido – Welcome.

Can you just say Buenas? ›

Regardless of the time of the day, ¡Buenas! is understood as an abbreviated greeting. Couldn't elaborate more on the exact meaning of why it is used like this, but we have become used to it as a very generic and informal way of greeting.

Do they say Mucho Gusto in Spain? ›

If you'd like to say “many” in Spanish you can use “muchos” (masculine) or “muchas” (feminine). You'll hear this adjective in many common phrases and greetings: Muchas gracias. / Thank you very much. Mucho gusto. / Very nice to meet you.

Is Nos vemos a greeting? ›

"Hasta luego" or "Nos vemos" are two prevalent ways to say goodbye to someone you're probably going to see again sometime in the future. They both mean pretty much the same thing and can be used formally or informally. They mean, "until later," or "see you later."

How do you respond to Que Pasa? ›

Estoy bien. Nothing. I'm fine.

What does muy bien mean? ›

The most common meaning of muy bien in Spanish is “very well”.

How do you respond to how are you when you are not well? ›

When a good friend asks how you are, and you're feeling sick, you can say things like: I've been better. Not that great, thanks.
...
  1. Fine, thanks.
  2. How are you? I'm good. How about you?
  3. I'm okay, thanks.

How do you answer que hora es? ›

Telling Time in Spanish ¿Qué hora es? ¿A qué hora...? - YouTube

What does De nada mean? ›

Definition of de nada

: of nothing : you're welcome.

What does kapasa mean in Spanish? ›

= What's up?, What's going on? or What's the matter?

What does Chula mean in Spain? ›

Chula is Spanish slang for “cute” or “a beautiful woman,” often seen in mami chula (“hottie”).

Should I use Bien or Bueno? ›

You use bien to answer when someone asks you how you are doing. Instead, you use the word bueno when someone asks you what you are like as far as personality goes. You are a good person and, thus, you use the word bueno, but only if you are a male. These are the two most basic uses of the two words.

Does Bueno mean OK? ›

Bueno can be used as an interjection meaning, "OK," "sure" or "fine," as in agreeing with someone or something.

Is it muy bueno or mucho bueno? ›

First thing: “muy” is an adverb and is referred to other adjectives and adverbs while “mucho” an adjective referred to a noun.

What can I say instead of are you okay? ›

Use simple questions like, “How are you going?” Or, “What's been happening? I've noticed you seem a bit flat lately.” Mention specific things that you've been concerned about, like, “You don't seem to be your bubbly self lately.” Use open-ended questions such as, “So tell me about …”

How do you respond to someone saying they are tired? ›

I would say something like: “Yes, it is a hard period for you and I really do hope it will finish soon. I wanted to know that I am here whenever you need it”. If it is evening/night, it might be that she is getting ready to sleep: “Yes, it long day for you and I hope pleasant and productive as well.

What is the difference between the questions qué hora es and a qué hora es? ›

Although 'a qué hora' is also used when asking about time, this Spanish question has a different purpose than 'qué hora'. 'A qué hora' is used to ask someone about the specific hour or time when an action is going to happen. 'A qué hora' means literally 'at what time'. However, it's mostly translated as 'what time?

What time is es el Mediodia? ›

Use mediodía to say "noon." Use medianoche to say "midnight": Es mediodía. It's noon. Es medianoche.

How do you express time in Spanish? ›

The simplest formula is es/son + las + hour + number of minutes. For example, if you want to say that it's 3:29, you'll say son las tres veintinueve. Thus, the same as in English, there will be two ways in which you can indicate some hours in Spanish.

Videos

1. Creative Answers to the Question "How Are You" in Spanish (Cómo estás)
(Learn Spanish with SpanishPod101.com)
2. ¿como estas?
(SpanishDict)
3. 8 ways to answer the question ¿CÓMO ESTÁS? in Spanish
(Coffee Break Languages)
4. STOP Saying "Cómo Estás", Say THIS Instead (8 Alternatives)
(Spring Spanish - Learn Spanish with Chunks)
5. Tú CoMo eSTáS - DoMiNGo QuiÑoNeS
(Alehi)
6. Y Tú Como Estás? (Você Como Vai?) (E Tu Como Stai?)
(Roberto Carlos)

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