11 Ways to Ask How Are You in Spanish


If you’re learning Spanish, you may have already noticed that Spanish speakers use different expressions and variations for the same phrase. This is common when you want to say ‘how are you’ in Spanish. So even though most learners know ‘¿cómo estás?’, the truth is that this is just one way to ask this question. 

Since ‘how are you’ is a phrase that you will use in your daily conversations, it’s convenient that you know other popular ways to ask this question. For that reason, we prepared a list of 9 most common and popular phrases that you can use to say how are you in Spanish. In order to have a better understanding of these expressions, make sure you read their accompanying descriptions. 

By the end, you will be able to expand your vocabulary and you will no longer be confused if someday a Spanish speaker uses one of these phrases with you. 

1. ¿Cómo estás? – How are you?

As mentioned before, ¿cómo estás? is the direct translation of ‘how are you’. For that reason, this may be the most common and standard way to ask people how they or someone else is. This expression can be used both in daily formal and informal situations. 

Buenos días, ¿cómo está, señor López?
Good morning, how are you, Mr. López?

¡Qué gusto verte, Paulina! ¿Cómo estás?
It’s so nice to see you, Paulina! How are you?

Hola, chicos, ¿cómo están? ¿Pasaron un buen fin de semana?
Hi, guys, how are you? Did you have a good weekend? 

You can address this question to anyone you want by changing the conjugation of the verb ‘estar’. 

Oye, mamá, ¿cómo está el abuelo?
Hey, mom, how is grandpa?

Take Note: ‘¿Cómo estás?’ is conjugated in the second singular person (tú), as a result, this question is used with people you have some familiarity with or that are the same age as you. ¿Cómo está? is a formal and respectful way to pose the same question.

2. ¿Qué tal? – How is it going? 

¿Qué tal? is an informal Spanish question that people use to say ‘how are you?’. Since it’s more casual, this phrase can only be used in informal situations. Although it’s widely popular in Spain, Latin American countries also use this phrase. Depending on the context, ‘¿qué tal?’ could be translated as:

  • How is it going?
  • How are you?
  • What’s up?
  • How are you doing?

Hola, ¿qué tal?
Hi, how is it going?

¿Qué tal, hermosa?
What’s up, gorgeous?

¡Adam! ¿Qué tal? ¿Cómo estuvo tu viaje a México?
Adam! How are you doing? How was your trip to Mexico?

Take Note: ‘¿Qué tal?’ can also be used to ask people about how another person is doing or about a subject, such as how a book, experience or movie is or was. 

3. ¿Cómo andas? – How’s it going? / How are you?

Another casual way to ask ‘how are you?’ in Spanish is by using the expression ‘¿cómo andas?’. Even though ‘andas’ means ‘to walk’, in this context, ‘¿cómo andas?’ is used as a greeting. As a result, it could be translated as ‘how’s it going?’ or ‘how are you?’. 

¿Cómo + [andar conjugated]?

Oye, ¿sabes cómo anda Sandra?
Hey, do you know how Sandra is?

¡Qué onda, Brenda! ¿Cómo andas?
What’s up, Brenda! How’s it going?

¡Paco! ¡Qué gusto verte! ¿Cómo andas?
Paco! It’s so nice to see you! How’s it going?

Take Note: Many Spanish learners don’t know how to respond to ‘¿cómo andas?’. In this context, you will use the same answer that you would use for ‘¿cómo estás?’: ‘bien’, ‘mal’, etc. ¿Cómo andas? is very popular in Latin American countries. 

4. ¿Cómo te va? – How are you doing? / How is it going?

Even though you can use it on a daily basis, ¿cómo te va? is especially useful when it’s been a while since you saw or heard from someone. In this case, this Spanish expression implies that you’re interested in knowing how things have been going for this person since you last saw her/him. 

‘¿Cómo te va?’ can be translated either as ‘how are you doing?’ or ‘how is it going?’ and this is the phrase structure that you need to keep in mind:

¿Cómo + [indirect pronoun] + va?

¿Qué pasa, Juan? ¿Cómo te va?
What’s up, Juan? How are you doing?

Chicas, buenos días, ¿cómo les va?
Good morning, girls, how is it going?

Hola, Nick, ¿cómo te va? Hace mucho que no sé de ti
Hi, Nick, how are you doing? I haven’t heard from you in a while

As mentioned above, ‘¿cómo te va’ can be used both on a daily basis and when you haven’t seen a person for a while. 

This expression has one variation that will only be used if you want to catch up with people because you haven’t heard or seen them for a long time:

  • ¿Cómo te ha ido? – How have things been? / How have you been?

¡Qué milagro! ¿Cómo te ha ido? ¿Sigues trabajando en el mismo lugar?
Long time no see! How have things been? Are you still working at the same place?

5. ¿Cómo te trata la vida? – How is life treating you?

¿Cómo te trata la vida? is a very casual Spanish expression that people use to ask their friends or family how things are going. This phrase is usually applied when we haven’t heard from this person in a while: it’s a way to open the door for a conversation and catch up. ‘¿Cómo te trata la vida?’ literally means ‘how is life treating you?’, but it can also be translated as ‘how are things going?’. 

Amiga, ¿cómo te trata la vida? ¿Todo bien?
How is life treating you, girl? Is everything okay?

¡Qué onda, Rodrigo! ¿Cómo te trata la vida?
What’s up, Rodrigo! How is life treating you?

¡No te veía desde la secundaria! ¡Qué bonita sorpresa! ¿Cómo te trata la vida?
I haven’t seen you since high school! What a nice surprise! How are things going?

Take Note: ‘¿Cómo te trata la vida?’ is a polite but very informal expression. It’s only meant to be used with friends or family. You wouldn’t use it with a teacher or an acquaintance because it can sound too personal or invasive. 

6. ¿Qué hay de nuevo? – What’s new?

¿Qué hay de nuevo?’ is another casual expression that Spanish speakers use to say ‘how are you?’, but they use it when they want to catch up with a person. As a result, this expression is perfect for use among friends or relatives. ‘¿Qué hay de nuevo?’ means ‘what’s new?’.

Hola, chicos, ¿qué hay de nuevo?
Hi, guys, what’s new?

¿Qué hay de nuevo, Jennifer? ¿Cómo va todo?
What’s new, Jennifer? How is everything going?

Perdón por no llamarte antes, má, ¿qué hay de nuevo?
I’m sorry for not calling you before, mom, what’s new?

Take Note: Due to the nature of contexts this is used in (i.e. to catch up with someone you haven’t seen for a while), ‘¿qué hay de nuevo?’ demands a longer answer. But if you don’t feel like sharing details about your life with the person that asked you this question, you can simply say ‘no mucho’ (not much). Additionally, you can combine this phrase with other expressions in this list. 

7. ¿Qué más? – What’s up?

In Colombia, ¿qué más? is a very popular and casual phrase to ask people how they are doing. This expression is usually applied when you see someone in the street. Even though this phrase means ‘how are you?’ in Colombian Spanish, speakers are not necessarily waiting for an answer. In this context, ‘¿qué más’ can be translated as ‘what’s up’, ‘what’s new?, ‘how is it going?’.

Hola, Diana, ¿qué más?
Hey, Diana, what’s up?

¿Qué más, parce? ¡Cuídate!
How is it going, buddy? Take care!

Hola, ¿qué más, Jerry? ¡Cuánto tiempo sin verte!
Hey, what’s new, Jerry? Long time no see!

Take Note: This expression to say ‘how are you’ is only used in Colombia. So even though it’s a very cool expression, make sure you only use it in this country. Otherwise, Spanish speakers may not be able to understand you.  

8. ¿Cómo va todo? – How is everything going?

¿Cómo va todo? is another common and standard way to ask people how they are in Spanish. Although it’s not as informal as other expressions from this list, ‘¿cómo va todo?’ is slightly more casual than ‘¿cómo estás?’. Therefore, you wouldn’t use it in very formal situations. ‘¿Cómo va todo?’ means ‘how is everything going’ and you can include it to your daily vocabulary. 

Variations:

  • ¿Cómo va? – How’s it going?
  • ¿Cómo van las cosas? – How are things going? / How is everything going?

¡Qué gusto verte! ¿Cómo va todo?
It’s so nice to see you! How is everything going?

Hola, Eduardo, ¿cómo van las cosas contigo?
Hi, Eduardo, how are things going with you?

Corazón, ¿cómo va todo? ¿Cuándo regresas?
Honey, how is everything going? When are you coming back?

9. ¡Qué pasa! – What’s up! 

‘¡Qué pasa!’ is a very informal Spanish expression to say ‘how are you?’. Just like ‘¿qué más?’, when using this expression people are not necessarily waiting for an answer. Keep in mind that this phrase has other meanings. As a result, you may find it in other contexts that are not related to greetings. In this situation, ‘¡qué pasa!’ can be translated as ‘what’s up!’.

¡Qué pasa, Néstor! ¡Salúdame a los niños!
What’s up, Nestor! Say hi to the kids!

Hermano, ¡qué pasa! ¡Tanto tiempo sin verte!
What’s up, bro! Long time no see!

Hey, ¡qué pasa! ¿Cómo va todo?
Hey, what’s up! How is everything going?

Take Note: Since ‘¿qué pasa?’ doesn’t demand an answer and it can be used in different contexts, you can combine it with other informal expressions from this list, such as ‘¿cómo va todo?’, ‘¿cómo va?’ or ‘¿qué hay de nuevo?’.

10. ¿Qué has hecho? – What have you been up to?

Among the Spanish expressions that you can use to say ‘how are you’ with the intention to catch up with people, ‘¿qué has hecho?’ is one of the most popular ones. Since this phrase implies that you want to know more about this person’s life, you only use it with people that you’re close to and that you haven’t seen in a while. 

¿Qué + haber [conjugated] + hecho?

¡Qué gusto saber de ti! ¿Qué has hecho
It’s so nice to hear from you! What have you been up to?

¡Hola! ¡Qué gusto verte! ¿Qué has hecho?
Hey! It’s so good to see you! What have you been up to?

Hace mucho que no las veía, chicas, ¿qué han hecho?
I haven’t seen you in a while, girls, what have you been up to?

11. ¿Qué es de tu vida? – How is life? 

‘¿Qué es de tu vida?’ is another casual expression that you can use to ask people how they are doing. Like some of the other Spanish expressions, ‘¿qué es de tu vida?’ implies that you want to know more about this person’s life. As a result, it’s very handy when you want to catch up with a friend. ‘¿Qué es de tu vida?’ can be translated either as ‘how is life?’ or ‘what have you been up to?’

¡Adela! ¡Qué gusto! ¿Qué es de tu vida?
Adela! How nice to see you! How is life?

Matt, ¿qué es de tu vida, tío? ¿Cuándo nos vemos?
Matt, what have you been up to, man? When can we meet?

Me alegra verte, ¿qué es de tu vida? Hace mucho que no sé de ti
I’m very happy to see you. How is life? I haven’t heard from you in a while

Wrapping Up

In any language, knowing how to ask people how they are is considered a basic necessity. Since there are different ways you can do this in Spanish, in this list, we compiled the most popular expressions you can use to say ‘how are you?’ in Spanish. 

Although all of these expressions are quite common, don’t forget that not all of them will be appropriate in all contexts. So before using them, make sure you choose the best option for your situation. 

If you already know ¿cómo estás?, now you have 10 additional expressions that will make you sound cool and natural when asking ‘how are you’ in Spanish. 

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I’ve taught Spanish in Mexico to a wide array of foreigners. From students and tourists to doctors and soldiers who’ve moved and visited here over the years. During the day I’m a freelancer and marketer, while at night I’m here writing for students of the world wide web looking to learn Spanish. I hope you find what you’re looking here during your journey into Español 🙂 Read More About Me

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