The question ‘where are you from?’ arises in many different contexts. Suppose you’re learning a foreign language, such as Spanish. In that case, chances are that you’re going to meet many people from different places, and as a result, you need to know how to ask where you are from?
The most common ways to ask ‘where are you from?’ in Spanish include:
- ¿De dónde eres? – Where are you from?
- ¿Cuál es tu nacionalidad? – What’s your nationality?
- ¿En dónde vives? – Where do you live?
- ¿De dónde vienes? – Where are you coming from?
- ¿De qué país eres? – What country are you from?
Adding these questions to your vocabulary will help you to socialize and know how to approach people in different contexts. I’ll provide you with explanations and examples, so you can learn different ways to ask people where are they from in Spanish
1. ¿De dónde eres? – Where are you from?
The most direct way to ask someone’s origin is with the question ¿de dónde eres? This is, as you can imagine, the direct translation of ‘where are you from?’ Since it’s not a very specific question, you can answer it by saying the name of a city, state, country, or neighborhood, depending on the conversation.
¿De dónde + [‘ser’ conjugated]? + complement)
¿De dónde eres? Tienes vibra latina.
Where are you from? You have a Latin vibe.
Tienes acento sureño, ¿de dónde eres?
You have a southern accent; where are you from?
No sabía que eran extranjeros, ¿de dónde son?
I didn’t know you guys were foreigners. Where are you guys from?
Take Note: ‘¿De dónde eres?’ is not the same as ‘¿dónde estás?’. ¿Dónde estás? means ‘where are you?’ and is used to ask for someone or something’s location at a specific moment.
¿Dónde estás? No te veo.
Where are you? I don’t see you.
Estoy en donde me dijiste que nos reuniéramos, ¿dónde estás?
I’m where you told me to meet, where are you?
2. ¿Cuál es tu nacionalidad? – What’s your nationality?
A formal option to ask what country someone is from is ¿cuál es tu nacionalidad? which means ‘what’s your nationality?’. As you can imagine, this is a very specific question that we use when we’re curious about other people’s nationality.
As a result, you’re more likely to hear this phrase coming from a customs officer or in certain contexts surrounding paperwork and legality.
¿Cuál es + [possessive adjective] + nacionalidad? + [complement]
Disculpe, señor, ¿cuál es su nacionalidad?
Excuse me, sir, what’s your nationality?
¿Cuál es tu nacionalidad? Sólo los mexicanos pueden pedir esta beca.
What is your nationality? Only Mexicans can apply for this scholarship.
Ulises me dijo que vives en Canadá, pero, ¿cuál es tu nacionalidad?
Ulises told me that you live in Canada, but what is your nationality?
Take Note: To respond to this question, you need to use Spanish adjectives of nationality accompanied by the verb ‘ser’.
3. ¿En dónde vives? – Where do you live?
An informal expression you could use to ask ‘where are you from’ in Spanish is ¿en dónde vives?. Since this question means ‘where do you live?’, you can also use it to ask someone where they currently live.
You would normally ask this if you already have some relationship with the other person. Additionally, since this question isn’t very broad, it usually works when asking for cities, states and other specific regions.
¿En dónde + [‘vivir’ conjugated]?
¿En dónde vives? Tienes un acento muy peculiar.
Where do you live? You have a very peculiar accent.
Yo también soy de Inglaterra, ¿en dónde vives?
I’m from England too, where do you live?
Siempre he querido visitar Japón, ¿en dónde vives?
I’ve always wanted to visit Japan, where do you live?
Take Note: In other contexts, ‘¿en dónde vives?’ can be used to get a rough idea of where a person’s home is located.
|Tú: ¿En dónde vive Claudia?||You: Where does Claudia live?|
|Tu amigo: Vive cerca del centro.||Your friend: She lives close to downtown.|
4. ¿De dónde vienes? – Where are you coming from?
Something you’ll hear very frequently in places like museums and other tourist attractions is ¿de dónde vienes? or ‘where are you coming from?’ in English. This is a phrase that many people who work at those places normally use when welcoming visitors. It’s like saying ‘where are you visiting us from?’.
¿De dónde + [‘venir’ conjugated?] + [complement]
Buenas tardes, señora, ¿de dónde viene?
Good afternoon, ma’am. Where are you coming from?
¿De dónde vienes? ¿Es tu primera vez en Nueva York?
Where are you coming from? Is this your first time in New York?
Bienvenidos al museo de Bellas Artes, ¿de dónde vienen?
Welcome to the Museum of Fine Arts; where are you guys coming from?
Take Note: ‘¿De dónde vienes?’ can also be used to ask people where they were right before, instead of their geographical background.
¿De dónde vienes? Pensé que estabas en la escuela.
Where are you coming from? I thought you were at school.
5. ¿De qué país eres? – What country are you from?
Last but not least, to ask specifically ‘what country are you from?’ you can use the direct translation ¿de qué país eres? You want to remember this question since it’s one of the standard ways of asking people where they are from in Spanish.
¿De qué país + [‘ser’ conjugated?] + [complement]
¿De qué país eres? Yo soy de México.
What country are you from? I’m from Mexico.
Me encanta el sureste de Asia, ¿de qué país eres?
I love southeast Asia. What country are you from?
¡Yo también soy estudiante de intercambio! ¿De qué país eres?
I’m also an exchange student! What country are you from?
All of the questions that you’ve learned in this list can be used to ask ‘where are you from?’ in formal and informal Spanish. You just need to make sure to adapt them with the corresponding possessive adjectives.
Now that you’ve added these phrases to your vocabulary, you’re ready to ask people where they are from in Spanish. So, don’t be shy and next time you meet an interesting foreigner, ask them ¿de dónde eres?