How to Say "Good Night" in Spanish

by Laurie Brenner

"Que duermas como una princesa" -- I hope you sleep like a princess -- a mother's goodnight.

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With so many Spanish-speaking people around the world and at least 10 dialects of Spanish, you may be surprised to learn that saying “good night” in Spanish is the same almost everywhere -- buenas noches. In Spain, the primary dialects are Castilian and Andalusian Spanish, but other dialects are also spoken in different parts of the country. Latin American Spanish is the dialect spoken in the majority of Central and South American countries along with Bolivia, Columbia, Mexico and Peru, where buenas noches is also said for “good night.”

Gender Identification

Spanish words include gender identification, with the ending letters in the noun signifying a feminine or masculine designation. For example, nouns that end in -a, -ad, -ie, -cion, -sion, -ud and -umbre generally refer to a feminine noun, while words that end in -o indicate a masculine noun. The masculine or feminine designation determines which version of an article to use, such as la for feminine nouns and el for masculine nouns. Buenas noches is generally a genderless phrase. Specific nouns that belong to a theme may also be designated as masculine or feminine, such as days of the week, points on a compass, numbers, tree names, river names and more -- all with a masculine gender.

Say Good Night to Children

Other ways to say good night to children for example, refer to their sleep: que suenes con los angelitos -- may you dream with angels or que duermas bien, hija -- sleep tight, my child – said to a female child. When speaking to a male child, you would say, que duermas bien, hijo. To tell a child or an adult to “have a good night’s rest,” tell her que descanses. Since noches is a feminine noun, the word good in Spanish, and bueno is male, but the “o” is dropped and replaced with the feminine as to buenas to agree with the feminine noches when saying “good night.”

No Verb in Good Night

In Spanish dialects, there is no verb in the buenas noches, which makes its use appropriate for anyone you speak to, children, men, women, adults or elders. It can also represent your greeting or wishes for an individual, a couple or an entire group of people. The use of the term doesn’t change no matter how large a group you address. In Spanish, you can also say, que pases buenas noches, which translates loosely to “have a good night.”

Alternate Forms of Good Night

For other forms of good night, you could say buenas noches, que duerme bien, which means “good night and sleep well.” To tell someone to have sweet dreams, say: que tengas dulce suenos. In Spanish, you need to alter the verb form based on the person to whom you speak. For example, the phrase que pases buenas noches includes the verb pases, which “means to have or to spend.” Its form changes when using the polite form of the single “you,” or usted instead of the familiar tu to que pase buenas noches. It changes to paseis for the multiple vosotros form of the multiple “you” and pasen for the ustedes or polite form of the multiple “you.”

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About the Author

As a native Californian, artist, businessperson, contractor, journalist and published author, Laurie Reeves began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. In 2003, she and her husband moved into the home she designed, they built and decorated. Reeves graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.