¡Hola! Me llamo Cristina, y tú, ¿cómo te llamas?
Nice! You just understood a full sentence in Spanish. ¡Felicidades! (Congratulations!)
But wait! Don’t start doing the Macarena just yet! If you’ve ever found yourself retreating from the flurry of questions and comments in the middle of a Spanish conversation, you will have realized that Spanish-speaking people are very chatty. You can be sure that they’ll ask your name immediately, followed by dozens of other questions in rapid-fire succession.
Want to make a good first impression? Let me guide you through the best ways to start and end a conversation with someone in Spanish, armed with just a few essential words.
Hola is the equivalent to “hello,” and I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before already. The more formal way to greet someone would be buenos días (literally, “good days”) in the morning, buenas tardes (literally, “good afternoons”) in the afternoon and buenas noches (literally, “good nights”) in the evening or later.
Spanish speakers are generally quite relaxed when it comes to time, so don’t be surprised if you hear “buenos días” until 3 pm or so. Equally, “buenas tardes” can be used without arousing suspicion up until about 8pm. What’s more, in Spain ¡la noche es joven! (the night is young) even when it’s actually rather old, so you can start using “buenas noches” from 9pm on. Although you wouldn’t wish someone good night in English unless they were about to go to bed, it’s perfectly normal to do so in Spanish!
Continue learning Spanish here.
What’s your name?
After saying hello, you need to tell people what your name is!
- Yo me llamo _______. (I’m called _______.)
Let’s not let the conversation get one-sided, now… Here’s how to ask what someone else’s name is:
- ¿Cómo te llamas?
It might be a little difficult to believe, but your name might even sound exotic or unusual to your new Spanish native friends, so you can bet that they will be interested in you and want to find out more about you!
Where are you from?
- ¿De dónde eres?
To which you can reply:
- Yo soy de _______ (I am from ______).
(Learn the country names in Spanish and put them into this sentence to switch up your nationality!)
To close a conversation, you can simply say ¡Adiós! — or use the more informal chao (yes, just like they say in Italian!). If you expect to see the person again soon, you can always combine hasta (literally “until”) with luego (later), pronto (soon) or mañana (tomorrow).
Shall we review that quickly? It’s very simple:
- ¡Hasta luego! (See you later!)
- ¡Hasta pronto! (See you soon!)
- ¡Hasta mañana! (See you tomorrow!)
Now it’s your turn
Remember what you’ve just learned and think about how you would say:
“Good evening! My name is Cristina and I come from Argentina. See you tomorrow!”