10 Ways to Say Hi in Spanish | Newsdle

10 Ways to Say Hi in Spanish


Are there any other greetings apart from Hola and Buenos días? And how do you say goodbye in Spanish? Is Adiós too formal?

Greetings are an essential part of human interaction, and Spanish culture places a high value on polite and respectful greetings.

In fact, the way you greet someone can significantly impact the tone and outcome of your interaction, and there are many different ways to greet people in Spanish to suit different situations and levels of formality.

This guide to 10 ways to say hi in Spanish, along with some additional advice for effective greetings and farewells, might actually be quite useful for your next Spanish trip, lesson, meeting, or—why not—date! 🙂

Greetings for Different Times of Day

Spanish has particular greetings at different times of day, much like many other languages. Sometimes, having access to such a broad range of options might sound a little confusing, but knowing the most important differences among greetings and farewells in Spanish actually makes it easier to have a polite, suitable tone and conversation, particularly when speaking with strangers or with people you may not know well.

Let's break it down:

  • Morning: Buenos días
    • Pronounced "bwen-nohs dee-ahs"
    • Greetings with Buenos días are typically used from sunrise to about 12 pm. It's a versatile greeting that you can use with friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers.
  • Afternoon: Buenas tardes
    • Pronounced "bwen-nahs tahr-dehs"
    • From about 12 pm to sunset, Buenas tardes is the appropriate greeting. It's also a common way to say hello in informal settings, such as with friends and family.
  • Evening: Buenas noches
    • Pronounced "bwen-nahs noh-chehs"
    • After sunset, use Buenas noches to greet people. It's a more formal greeting than Buenas tardes and is typically used until bedtime.
  • Anytime: Hola
    • Pronounced "oh-lah"
    • Hola is a versatile greeting that can be used at any time of day. It's the most common Spanish greeting for informal settings and is suitable for friends, family, and acquaintances.

Check out the table below for a quick reference on these time-appropriate Spanish greetings:

Time of Day

Spanish Greeting


Buenos días


Buenas tardes


Buenas noches



Formal and Informal Greetings

Spanish greetings can be categorised into two types: formal and informal.

The greeting you use depends on your relationship with the person you are meeting as well as the circumstances of the interaction.

Formal greetings are used when approaching strangers or those with whom you want to maintain a distance that is respectful to them. They are also employed in professional situations.

Informal greetings are used with friends, relatives, and other close connections and in more informal contexts.

Here are some examples of formal greetings:

  • Hola, señor/señora.
    • Pronounced "oh-lah, sen-yor/sen-yo-rah"
  • Buenos días, doctor/doctora.
    • Pronounced "bwen-nohs dee-ahs, dok-tor/dok-to-rah"
  • ¿Cómo está usted?
    • Pronounced "koh-mo eh-stah us-tehd"

Here are some examples of informal greetings:

  • Hola, ¿qué tal?
    • Pronounced "oh-lah, keh tahl"
  • ¡Qué onda, amigo/amiga!
    • Pronounced "keh oh-ndah, ah-mee-go/ah-mee-gah"
  • ¿Qué hay de nuevo?
    • Pronounced "keh ay deh noo-veh"

When do you use formal greetings?

  • When meeting someone for the first time
  • When addressing someone you don't know well
  • In a professional setting
  • When speaking to someone older

When do you use informal greetings?

  • With friends, family, and other close acquaintances
  • In a casual setting
  • When speaking to someone you know well


When you greet someone in Spanish, it is vital that you use the right level of formality. Using a formal ¿Cómo está usted? when the situation calls for an informal greeting can be perceived as rude or disrespectful.

Slang Spanish Greetings

Beyond formal and casual greetings, Spanish has a large number of slang greetings that are used in informal contexts and among friends and family. These bring a sense of ease and bonding to talks, making them an enjoyable way to interact with others.

Here are some common slang greetings in Spanish:

  • ¿Qué tranza?
    • Pronounced "keh trah-nsah"
    • This greeting is a versatile way to say "What's up?" or "How's it going?" It's commonly used in Mexico and other Central American countries.
  • ¿Qué hubo?
    • Pronounced "keh oo-boh"
    • Another informal way to say hi, similar to "What's up?" or "How are you?". This greeting is more commonly used in Argentina and other South American countries.
  • ¿Cómo andas?
    • Pronounced "koh-mo ahn-dahs"
    • This is a straightforward question that means "How are you doing?" It's a versatile greeting that can be used in both formal and informal settings.
  • ¡Ey, qué pasa!
    • Pronounced "eh-ee, keh pah-sah"
    • This greeting is a more emphatic way to say "What's up?" or "What's going on?" It's commonly used in Spain and other European Spanish-speaking countries.
  • ¿Qué onda, güey?
    • Pronounced "keh oh-ndah, gweh-ee"
    • This is a very informal greeting that is typically used among friends and close acquaintances. It translates to "What's up, bro?" or "You alright, mate?"

When to use slang greetings:

  • With close friends and family
  • In casual settings
  • When speaking to someone you know well


Please remember that slang greetings differ according to the place and situation. For example, certain slang greetings may be insulting in particular situations, therefore it's always better to be mindful of local norms and use your discretion.

Combining Greetings with Questions

Greetings are an excellent way to begin a conversation, but they may be considerably more engaging if you ask a question. Asking a question indicates that you care about the other person's life and it can also help you get to know them better and build a connection that lasts.

Here are a few examples of how to combine greetings with questions:

  • Hola, ¿qué tal va tu día?
    • Pronounced "oh-lah, keh tahl bah too dee-ah"
    • This is a simple and friendly way to ask someone how their day is going. It's appropriate for informal settings.
  • Buenos días, ¿cómo ha estado?
    • Pronounced "bwen-nohs dee-ahs, koh-mo ah-beh-stah"
    • This is a more formal way to ask someone how they're doing. It's appropriate for professional settings or when speaking to someone you don't know well.
  • Hola, ¿Tienes algún plan para el fin de semana?
    • Pronounced "teh-nehs ahl-goon plahn pah-rah el feen deh seh-mah-nah"
    • This is a friendly way to ask about the weekend. It’s appropriate both for informal and formal context, just remember to use Usted instead of tú.
  • ¡Qué onda, amigo! ¿Qué planes tienes para hoy?
    • Pronounced "keh oh-ndah, ah-mee-go, keh plah-nehs te-neh-s pah-rah oy"
    • This is a casual way to ask someone what they're up to. It's appropriate for informal settings or with friends and family.
  • ¿Cómo te va en la escuela?
    • Pronounced "koh-mo teh bah en lah eh-skoh-lah"

The possibilities are endless! The most important thing is to be sincere and interested in the other person.

How do you say “Goodbye” in Spanish

Just as greetings are an essential part of starting a conversation, farewells are crucial for concluding any talk. They serve as a polite way to end a conversation or a meeting and express wishes for the other person's well-being.

Formal and Informal Goodbyes

Spanish farewells can vary in formality depending on the context and the relationship with the person you're addressing. Here's a breakdown of common farewells and their corresponding levels of formality:

Informal Goodbyes

  • Chao

This is a versatile farewell that can be used in both informal and semi-formal settings. It's a quick and casual way to say goodbye, similar to "see ya later" or "bye" in English.

  • Adiós

This is the most common Spanish farewell for informal settings. It directly translates to "goodbye," and it's a polite way to end a conversation with friends, family, or acquaintances.

  • Nos vemos

This phrase literally means "we see each other," and it's a common way to say goodbye in informal settings. It implies the expectation of seeing the person again in the near future.

Neutral Goodbyes

  • Hasta luego

This farewell is slightly more formal than chao or adiós. It translates to "until later," and it's a polite way to end a conversation or a meeting in casual settings.

  • Hasta pronto

This farewell is even more formal than hasta luego. It translates to "until soon," and it's a way to express the hope of seeing the person again within a relatively short time frame.

Formal Goodbyes

  • Adiós

While adiós can be used in both formal and informal settings, it's considered the most formal farewell in Spanish. It's a polite way to end a conversation or a meeting with someone you don't know well or in a professional setting.

  • Que tenga un buen día/noche

This phrase literally means "have a good day/night," and it's a formal way to say goodby while expressing wishes to the person for a pleasant day or evening. It's often used in professional settings or when addressing someone you don't know well.

Here's a table summarising the different farewells and their levels of formality:


Level of Formality




Friends, close acquaintances


Informal, neutral

Friends, acquaintances, casual settings

Nos vemos

Informal, neutral

Friends, acquaintances, casual settings

Hasta luego


Friends, colleagues, casual settings

Hasta pronto

Slightly more formal than "Hasta luego"

Friends, colleagues, acquaintances

Que tenga un buen día/noche


Formal settings, addressing someone you don't know well


Additional Greetings and Farewells

In addition to the greetings and farewells mentioned earlier, there are a few other phrases that you may find useful.


  • ¡Saludos!
    • Pronounced "ee-sah-loo-dohs"
    • This is a casual way to say "hello" or "greetings." It can be used in any setting.
  • ¡Hola, cómo estás?
    • Pronounced "oh-lah, keh tahl eh-stahs"
    • This is a common way to ask someone how they're doing. It can be used in both formal and informal settings.
  • Muy buenas!
    • Pronounced "mooy bweh-nahs”
    • This is a more enthusiastic way to say "hello." It can be used in both formal and informal settings.
  • ¡Buenos días, señor/señora!
    • Pronounced "bwen-nohs dee-ahs, sen-yor/sen-yo-rah"
    • This is a formal way to say hi.
  • ¿Qué tal?
    • Pronounced "keh tahl"
    • This is a casual way to ask someone how they're doing.


  • Hasta mañana
    • Pronounced "ahs-tah mah-nyah-nah"
    • This means "see you tomorrow." It's a common farewell that can be used in both formal and informal settings.
  • ¡Cuídate!
    • Pronounced "ee-koh-dee-tah"
    • This means "take care." It's a polite way to wish someone well. It can be used in both formal and informal settings.
  • ¡Que te vaya bien!
    • Pronounced "keh teh bah-yah beh-ehn”
    • This means "may you go well." It's a similar phrase to "Cuídate," but it's slightly more formal.
  • ¡Hasta luego, amigo/amiga!
    • Pronounced "ahs-tah loo-eh-go, ah-mee-go/ah-mee-gah"
    • This is a casual way to say goodbye to a friend.
  • ¡Buenas noches!
    • Pronounced "bwen-nahs noh-chehs"
    • This is a formal way to say goodbye.


The formality of a greeting or farewell varies according to the area and the occasion. For example, in certain nations, "Chao" is regarded as a more formal goodbye than "Adiós." If you're unsure about the right amount of formality, play it safe and offer a more formal welcome or farewell.

10 Ways to Say Hi in Spanish: THE List

So, there you have it!

Here’s a list recapping the most common greetings in Spanish. The ranking is based on the level of formality and the appropriateness of each greeting in different situations within the Spanish-speaking culture.

  1. Hola
  2. Buenos días
  3. Buenas tardes
  4. Buenas noches
  5. ¿Qué tal?
  6. ¿Cómo estás?
  7. ¿Cómo te va?
  8. ¿Qué onda?
  9. ¡Ey, qué pasa!
  10. ¡Qué onda, güey!

Final Tips for Effective Greetings and Farewells in Spanish

Congratulations! Now you know more than just 10 ways to say hi in Spanish!

As you continue your exploring the Spanish language and culture, remember that the most important aspect of greeting someone in Spanish is to use the appropriate level of formality, make eye contact, and shake hands (if appropriate).

Also, be mindful of cultural differences when greeting people in different Spanish-speaking regions. As Greetings and customs can vary, it's always helpful to learn about local etiquette when travelling.



Fabia Parodi

Fabia Parodi  

Fascinated by foreign languages and cultures, Fabia Parodi was determined to be a polyglot since she was a child. Fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish and competent in Mandarin Chinese, Fabia is an experienced language teacher, translator and multicultural marketing specialist. 

When in class, she always make sure to include graded and authentic materials in her lessons to expose students to foreign cultures and to introduce a more natural use of the language they are learning. The two things she loves more than languages are travelling and exchanging stories with people from all over the world. 

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