When learning Spanish, one of the first things you’ll learn is how to provide and ask for personal information such as a name, age, and nationality. Since this basic information can be required in different contexts, many new learners want to know how to ask people their age in Spanish.
How to Ask ‘how old are you’ in Spanish?
There are different expressions that can be used to ask people’s age in Spanish. The most common ones include:
- ¿Cuántos años tienes? – How old are you?
- ¿Qué edad tienes? – What’s your age?
- ¿Cuál es tu edad? – What’s your age?
Learning different ways to ask people’s age in Spanish will help you have a more robust vocabulary and have more fluent conversations with other people. For that reason, I’ll show you 3 different and common ways to ask ‘how old are you’ in Spanish.
In addition to this, I’ll include some variations that you can add to your vocabulary as well as phrase structures that you can use to customize your questions. You’ll also be provided with some examples so you can have a better understanding of how to use these expressions.
By the end of this, you’ll know how to ask ‘how old are you’ in Spanish like a native speaker!
1. ¿Cuántos años tienes? – How old are you?
As you may have already learned, ¿cuántos años tienes? means ‘how old are you’ in Spanish. Therefore, this is one of the most popular questions that you can use to ask people’s age. This question can be used in both formal and informal context as long as you conjugate the verb properly.
Here is a basic phrase structure that you can follow. Notice that the conjugation of the verb tener depends on the person whose age you want to know:
¿Cuántos años + [tener conjugated in present] + (person)?
Yo tengo 18, ¿tú cuántos años tienes?
I’m 18 years old, how old are you?
Mamá, ¿cuántos años tiene mi papá?
Mom, how old is dad?
Sr. Ávila, necesito su edad para el papeleo, ¿cuántos años tiene?
Mr. Ávila I need your age for the paperwork, how old are you?
Take Note: In the last example, we address Mr. Ávila formally instead of using his first name. Because of the formality, we use tiene (third-person), rather than tienes (second person). However, we do not need to add usted to the question since it’s implied in the context.
Remembering all people’s age can be tricky (at least for me). So if someone told you their age recently and you forgot (or you just didn’t hear), you can use this structure to ask them again:
¿Cuántos años + [indirect object pronoun] + [decir preterite] que + [tener present]?
Martha, ¿cuántos años me dijiste que tienes?
Matha, how old did you tell me you are?
Oigan, ¿cuántos años me dijeron que tenía Laura?
Hey, how old did you guys tell me Laura is?
Additionally, ¿cuántos años tienes? can be used to ask a person’s past age. In this context, we usually provide a past event or action as a time reference. Here is how you do it:
¿Cuántos años + [tener conjugated imperfect] + cuando + [activity in past tense]?
Linda, ¿cuántos años tenías cuando fuiste a Chile?
Linda, how old were you when you went to Chile?
Chicos, ¿cuántos años tenían cuando aprendieron español?
Guys, how old were you when you learned Spanish?
2. ¿Qué edad tienes? – What is your age?
Another super popular way to ask someone’s age in Spanish is by using ¿qué edad tienes? This question is the direct translation of the question ‘what is your age?’. This expression can be used in both formal and informal situations.
A shorter version of this expression is ¿edad? which literally means ‘age?’. However, this variation tends to be more popular in formal situations or when you’re filling out forms or stuff like that.
Just like in the previous section, if you want to customize this expression, you just need to conjugate the verb tener properly.
¿Qué edad + [tener conjugated in present] +(person)?
Señorita, ¿qué edad tiene?
Miss, what is your age?
Lucy, no me acuerdo, ¿qué edad tienes?
Lucy, I don’t remember, what is your age?
Camilla, ¿qué edad tienen tus padres?
Camilla, what is your parent’s age?
If you want to ask a person’s age when a past action took place, you can also use ¿qué edad tienes? In this context, this expression can be translated either as ‘what was your age?’ or ‘how old were you?’.
Here is how you do it:
¿Qué edad + [tener conjugated in imperfect] + cuando + [activity in preterite]?
Señorita, ¿qué edad tenía cuando hizo su trámite?
Miss, what was your age when you did your process?
Luke, ¿qué edad tenía Rosario cuando se mudó a Argentina?
Luke, what was Rosario’s age when she moved to Argentina?
Take Note: When it comes to asking someone’s past age in Spanish, you need to use the imperfect tense. This is because age is just providing background information about the circumstances that surrounded an action.
3. ¿Cuál es tu edad? – What is your age?
¿Cuál es tu edad? can also be used to ask people’s age in Spanish. Although it can be used in both formal and casual contexts, this question is more common in formal situations or when you are not very familiar with the person whose age you want to know.
It’s also the direct translation of what is your age. Even though, ¿cuál es tu edad? is very similar to ‘¿qué edad tienes?’, this expression has its own phrase structures. Check the examples below.
Use the following structure when asking the speaker’s age (only for ‘tú’ and ‘usted’):
¿Cuál es + [possessive adjective] + edad?
Mark, ¿cuál es tu edad?
Mark, what is your age?
Nelly, Jon, ¿cuál es su edad?
Nelly, Jon, what is your age, guys?
If instead, you want to ask someone about another person’s age, you can use the next structure:
¿Cuál es + la edad + de + [person]?
Mandy, ¿cuál es la edad de Gemma?
Mandy, what is Gemma’s age?
Benjamín, ¿cuál es la edad de tus padres?
Benjamin, what are your parents’ ages?
Take Note: ¿Edad? (age?) is also a popular variation for ¿cuál es tu edad? Remember that even if it’s a shorter version, ¿edad? tends to be used in more formal situations.
Asking someone’s age in Spanish is a basic question that you might ask more than once. Even though you may already know one way to ask for this information, there are other popular structures that you can use for the same purpose.
For that reason, in this article, we’ve learned 3 different ways to ask people’s age in Spanish. We discussed that ¿cuántos años tienes? is the most common way to pose this question and it’s a suitable expression for both formal and informal context.
Another way to ask this question is by using ¿qué edad tienes? or ¿cuál es tu edad? Remember that each one of these expressions follows its own phrase structure and customization rules.
Hopefully, now you know how to ask ‘how old are you’ in Spanish.