Illustrations by Chaim Garcia.
In the course of learning Spanish, someone will likely ask you ¿Cómo estás? and you’d probably like to answer them by telling them how you really feel. (And bien and mal sound a little monosyllabic, don’t they?) There are many ways to answer the question ¿Qué tal? — so we’ll show you a few ways to turn a little small talk into a real conversation about emotions in Spanish.
Expressing Happiness In Spanish
Along with the classic Estoy bien or Estoy muy bien (I’m well/I’m very well) you can express happiness, well-being and euphoria in Spanish in different ways.
If you’ve just become an aunt or an uncle and you wipe away a few tears of joy, you’d say Estoy feliz because you’re happy. Feliz is a very intense state and lasts a little longer than regular happiness. Estoy feliz is also only used for special moments. To make the expression a bit funnier and light-hearted, you can say that you’re as happy as a partridge: ¡Estoy feliz como una perdiz! Partridges may not be happier than other animals, but perdiz and feliz rhyme so beautifully!
Estoy emocionado/a (I am touched) could also be used in this situation. Estoy alegre (I’m delighted) is a temporary state and you would use this expression if you were to visit a friend that you rarely see.
If your soccer team manages to not get relegated this year, then you would say Estoy genial (I’m great). And if you won the lottery on the same day, you would say: Estoy de perlas, which literally means “I’m on pearls.” This expression is used in Spain and, of course, refers to the precious pearls used in jewelry making — which is why you feel so exceptionally good. In some Latin American countries, you would say ¡Estoy de maravilla! instead.
What About When You’re Not So Good?
If you answer with Estoy mal or Me siento mal (I feel bad), it may frighten the person you are talking to. Unfortunately, there are still many situations where you’d be feeling bad, and you need responses for those days, too. Why not be more specific and explain why you’re feeling bad?
If you’ve read a very sad book, it’s normal to say Estoy triste (I’m sad). You didn’t get the job you wanted? Then you are decepcionado/a (disappointed). What if you’re down the dumps? In this case, you are deprimido/a (depressed). A more colloquial way of saying the same thing is Estoy de bajón. In Latin America, you often use Estoy hecho/a pedazos, which literally means “I am cut up.” In Spain, on the other hand, you sometimes hear Estoy hecho/a polvo (I became dust) when someone has hit rock bottom or is extremely tired.
If you haven’t found an affordable apartment in your city after months of searching, you are of course frustrado/a (frustrated)! If the bus driver closes the bus door in front of you, you are enfadado/a (angry) or, in the Latin American way, enojado/a. If a colleague in the office won’t let you finish talking, you are hasta la coronilla (to the crown of your head) or hasta el moño (to be fed up to the back teeth), as you would say in Spain. In both cases, you’re sick of it! Finally, the formal Estoy de mal humor (I’m in a bad mood) means the same as Estoy de mala uva (literally: “I feel like a bad grape”). This phrase refers to the bad mood or bad behavior that you might experience after drinking a lot of wine.
And If You’re Only OK?
You can also answer the Colombian ¿Qué hubo? (or more colloquial ¿Quiubo?) and the Ecuadorian ¿Qué fue? by using the formal phrase Estoy regular (I’m feeling fine). Other frequently used expressions are Estoy más o menos (I feel more or less [fine]) or Ni fu ni fa (neither good nor bad). The origin of this funny expression, which almost sounds more French than Spanish, is unknown. Ahí vamos (Here we go) or tirando (dragging) are also perfectly valid colloquial answers.
When Love Is In The Air
If you’ve found your better half and you want to tell the world about it: ¡Estoy enamorado/a! (I am in love!) or ¡Estoy loco/a de amor! (I am madly in love!) are your best choices. In Mexico, you would say, Estoy clavado/a (literally: “I’m stuck”), and in Colombia, Estoy tragado/a (I’m swallowed). In Argentina, you’d say that you’re up to your hands with someone: Estoy hasta las manos. In Spain, you use Estoy pillado/a (I got caught) or Estoy colgado/a (I am hanging).
Now you’re ready to have fun laughing, crying, cursing and loving — in Spanish!