How are you is a comonly used phrase to greet people, to start a conversation, to show interest for others. Let’s see how to ask how are you in Spanish.
QUÉ TAL is the most popular way to say how are you in Spanish.
It is an idiomatic phrase, so it is very difficult to translate literally. Qué means what, and tal is an adjective or pronoun that means similar or such. So you don’t need to analyse the meaning, just learn it and use it.
It can be used in formal and informal contexts.
We use it many many times every day, as a way to greet people and as a way to start a conversation. In this situations, an answer is not required or expected.
Some other times, we use it to show interest on how the other person is doing. In this case, the other person will answer: muy bien, bien, así así,… meaning very well, well, so and so,… You can also complete the sentence asking ¿y tú? meaning ¿and you?
-Hi, how are you?-Fine, and you?
-Hi, how are you? My name’s Ane. –How are you, Ane? My name’s Mikel
-Good morning, how are you? Let’s start the meeting.
CÓMO ESTÁS is another popular way of asking how are you in Spanish, although it’s not as popular as Qué tal.
In this case, the phrase is the literal translation of the English how are you. Cómo means how in Spanish, and estás means are you (from the verb estar – to be).
We use cómo estás and qué tal interchangeably, to greet someone or start a conversation, and also to truly ask how people are, waiting for a response.
Cómo estás is used in formal and informal situations.
As we are using a verb in this phrase, we must consider who we are addressing, in order to use the correct verb form. In Spanish, each person uses a different verb form.
-¿Cómo estás? (tú: the you person singular)
-¿Cómo estáis? (vosotros: the you person plural)
-¿Cómo está? (usted: the formal you person singular)
-¿Cómo están? (ustedes: the formal you person plural)
Extra tips on how are you in Spanish
¿Qué tal? is the most popular way to say how are you in Spanish. It’s very easy to use, always the same.
¿Cómo estás? is another way of asking how are you in Spanish, also very used. In this case, you must pay attention to the person you are talking to and use the correct verb form. -¿Cómo está, Sra. Hernández? -Muy bien, y tú, Raquel ¿cómo estás? -How are you, Mrs. Hernández? -Very well, and you, Raquel, how are you?
Sometimes, both phrases are used together: Hola, ¿qué tal? ¿cómo estás? as in English Hi, what’s up? how are you?
In Latin America, apart from these two phrases, they use other ways to say How are you? in a colloquial way: ¿Qué onda? ¿Qué hubo?
Finally, notice that when we write in Spanish, we use a question mark at the beginning and at the end of the interrogative sentence. ¿?