"Hola, amigos. Buenos dias." If you understood this greeting, you already have a good start for today's lesson. Today, we're going to talk about greetings and goodbyes in Spanish. As you just saw, it's very common to greet someone by saying "Hola" just about any time of the day, usually in situations that are a little more informal. Remember that it’s said “Hola,” without pronouncing the "h." We don't say “Hhhola.” The “h” is always silent in Spanish.
If you want to greet somebody like your boss, or maybe somebody a little bit older, or politely greet a stranger, we have different options depending on the time of day. In the morning we can say "Buenos dias", which translates to roughly "Good day" or "Good morning." We can say "Buenas tardes" in the afternoon, which, of course, means, "Good afternoon," And finally, "Buenas noches" when it's already dark outside, which would translate into English as "Good evening."
After this initial greeting, you can ask a polite question of courtesy to see how the other person is, meaning how they feel in that moment, or if they have any significant news that they would like to share. If you're talking with a friend you can say simply “¿Cómo estás?” And if it's a little more formal, you would say “¿Cómo está Ud.?” These mean simply "How are you?"
To ask "How’s it going” you can say "¿Cómo te va?” if the situation is informal and "¿Cómo le va?” if the situation is formal. This means, "How are things? How is life going for you?" in that moment.
“¿Qué pasa?” means something like “What’s up?” or “What’s going on?” and “Qué hay de nuevo?” means something like "What's new?" Just like in English, if somebody asks you one of these questions in Spanish, you don’t really have to answer with a literal answer. You can politely respond with something simple like "Nada," which means "nothing." Or you can give a little more detail if you want to share some more information about what's going on at that moment.
Return the question by saying “¿y tú?” if it's a friend or “¿y Ud.?" if it's somebody more formal. This would equate to something like "And you?" in English to ask that person the same question.
And now that we're finishing up today's lesson, it's a good time to practice the goodbyes, or "las despedidas" in Spanish. A common way to say "Goodbye," which you probably already know is, of course, "Adiós," which is maybe a little more formal. It's very common to hear the alternative of simply "Chao." Or, of course, you can use one of the many phrases with "hasta." You can say "Hasta mañana," "Hasta luego," "Hasta pronto," or "Hasta la vista, baby! "
See you in the next lesson!
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