¡Hola y bienvenidos a Spring Spanish! (This is one way to greet people in Spanish, but there are many more ways to do so!)
As you probably know, there are maaany countries in the world that speak español, especially in Latinoamérica and Spain (Spanish… Spain… España, Español… HMMM, THAT MAKES SENSE!) So there are several ways to greet people in Spanish, but fear not, mis buenos amigos! In this article you will learn five phrases that will work no matter what country you are in!
Useful phrases to greet people
The first one is… ¡Hola! (Well, that was easy…)
Hola means “hello” or “hi”. It’s a very convenient greeting, as it may be used at any moment of the day and pretty much in any context. You may even combine it with the following sentences!
The second phrase is ¡Buenos días!, which means “Good day” in Spanish.
This is used both as “Good morning” and “Good day” and Spanish-speakers use it from sunrise to the start of noon.
Even though Buenos Días is used in most Spanish-speaking countries, it’s also perfectly fine to use the not-so-common singular version: Buen Día. In Venezuela, people usually say Buenos Días, but Buen Día is much more popular in Argentina.
So there you go! Two options to greet people in the morning: Buenos Días and Buen Día.
What happens in the afternoon?
We say: Buenas Tardes. This means “Good afternoon” and it’s used from 12:00 pm until the last hour of light. Since Spanish is a language spoken from La Patagonia to Madrid, you may want to check outside ⏰ to see if there’s still sunlight before saying Buenas Tardes.
So what happens when the night comes?
In Spanish, we say ¡Buenas Noches!
The great thing about Buenas Noches is that it means “Good evening”, but also “good night”, so you can use it as a greeting or farewell in the night hours.
Now, you’ll notice that in Spanish, greetings always start with Buenos or Buenas. This means “Good” in English, but in Epanish, words may be feminine or masculine, singular or plural.
For example: Tardes is feminine and plural, so we say buenas tardes. For Días —which is also plural but masculine— we use Buenos: buenos días. ¿Ves la diferencia? (See the difference?) 🧐
You’ll also see that our greetings are mostly in plural, like saying “good days” or “good nights” instead of “good day”. There are many theories about why we use the plural version, but one of the most popular is, we Hispanic people tend to be very intense – it’s a cultural thing!
So we’re not happy with wishing you ONLY ONE good day or afternoon… We want to give you the whole package! So we wish you ALL the good days you can get! It’s actually a great deal if you ask me!
So, there you go! Now you know five phrases in Spanish to greet people at any time of day.
Remember you may combine Hola with the rest depending on the time. So, if you ever walk into a church in Barcelona at 5 pm you may say: Hola, Buenas Tardes. If you have a craving for Medialunas for Breakfast and you run into a Bakery Store in Santiago at 9 am, you may use Buenos Días or Buen Día and both are perfect!
If in the middle of the night you have to stop for directions at a gas station in Ciudad de México, you’ll want to greet the clerk with ¡Hola, buenas Noches!
Muy bien (alright!), now you know exactly how to greet people in Spanish!