How to Say Hello and Goodbye in Spanish

by Madison Garcia
If you're greeting a close friend, you can ask her "que tal?," which means, "what's up?"

If you're greeting a close friend, you can ask her "que tal?," which means, "what's up?"

In Spanish, just as in English, it's polite to greet each person you meet and acknowledge his departure when he leaves. The basic phrases for "hello" and "goodbye" in Spanish are _hola_ and _adios_. You can use a variety of other phrases, depending on the time of day, how formal you want to be, and when you expect to see the person again.

Saying Hello

The most common way to say "hello" in Spanish is _hola_. It's very similar to how we would use "hello" in English; it's appropriate for both formal and informal conversations and can be used at anytime of day or night. If you're greeting someone in the morning, you can say _buenos dias_. Pronounced "bwen-nos dee-ahs," this phrase translates to "good morning" in English. _Buenos tardes_ can be used to greet someone in the afternoon, and you can use _buenos noches_ in the evening or nighttime.

How Are You?

After greeting you with an "hola" or "buenos dias," someone will typically ask you how you're doing. _Como estas_? (coh-moe es-tahs) means, "how are you?" If you're in a formal situation or talking to someone much older than you, you can ask _como esta usted_? Other variations on "how are you?" include _como te va_? and _que pasa_? These translate to "how's it going?" and "what's happening?" respectively.

Saying Goodbye

_Adios_ is the most common way to say "goodbye" in Spanish and is pronounced "ah-dee-ohs." Although it literally translates as _to god_, it can be used in almost any situation. _Hasta_ (ah-stah) means "until" and is used in a variety of phrases that indicate departure. _Hasta luego_ means "see you later," and _hasta la vista_ means "until we see each other again." Another fun, more colloquial way to say goodbye is to exclaim, _chao_, pronounced, "chow," as you leave.

Well Wishes

When you say goodbye to someone in Spanish, you may also want to wish them well. If they're off to accomplish a task, you can say _buena suerte_ or just _suerte_ to wish them good luck. If she's not feeling well, you can say _que te mejores pronto_, which means, "I hope you get well soon." If you're saying goodbye after visiting with someone you haven't seen in a while, you may want to say, _me alegro de verte_, which means, "it was great to see you."

About the Author

Based in San Diego, Calif., Madison Garcia is a writer specializing in business topics. Garcia received her Master of Science in accountancy from San Diego State University.

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