May 26, 2017
Spanish language Basics
Politely ask "¿Cómo está usted?" This question translates literally into “How are you?”
- Cómo means “how.”
- Está is the third person singular conjugation of the verb “estar, ” meaning “to be” in a temporary sense. Note that you would not use the “to be” verb “ser, ” since “ser” implies a permanent condition.
- Usted is a third person singular noun meaning “you.” It is considered a formal way of addressing someone, so you should use it with anyone you do not know well. You could also drop usted from this question and the statement will still mean the same thing.
- Pronounce this question as koh-moh ehs-tah oos-tehd.
- Estás is the second person singular conjugation of estar, and it is used with the “you” pronoun “tú.” This conjugation should only be used for someone that you are on familiar terms with, like a relative or friend.
- The pronunciation of this question would be koh-moh ehs-tahs.
Method 2Other Ways of Asking
- Say "¿Cómo te va?" Translated literally, this question asks, "How are you going?"
- The question can be interpreted as either "How are you doing?" or "How's it going?"
- Te is a direct object pronoun meaning "you" in the informal singular sense.
- Va is a conjugated form of the verb "ir, " meaning "to go."
- A general pronunciation of this question is koh-moh tay vah.
- Ask how someone feels with "¿Cómo se siente?" This question literally means "How do you feel?" or "How are you feeling?"
- Se is a direct object pronoun. It can be used for the third person "him" or "her, " or it can be used for the polite form of "you."
- Siente is the third person singular conjugation of the verb "sentir, " meaning "to feel."
- Pronounce this question as koh-moh say see-en-tay.
- For someone you are familiar with, you could use "¿Cómo te sientes?" instead.
- Use "¿Cómo van las cosas?" Translated literally, this question asks, “How are things going?”
- Cómo means "how" and "van" is a conjugated form of the verb "ir, " meaning "to go."
- "Las cosas" means "the things." When translating the question into English, though, you would drop the word "the."
- Pronounce this question as koh-moh bahn lahs koh-sahs.
- Ask "¿Cómo andas?" While a little less common, this is another question that loosely translates into “How are you doing?”
- Translated literally, this phrase actually asks “How are you walking?”
- Andas is a second person singular conjugation of the verb “andar, ” meaning “to walk.” Since this verb is conjugated in the informal “you” tense, you would only ask this question to someone you are familiar with.
- The pronunciation of this phrase is koh-moh ahn-dahs.
- Try asking "¿Qué pasa?" This is an informal way of asking someone how they are and is equivalent to the English, "What's up?"
- Translated more literally, it means "What is passing?" or "What is going on?"
- Qué means "what."
- Pasa is the third person singular conjugated form of the verb "pasar, " meaning "to pass" or "to go."
- Note that the third person conjugation refers to an inanimate "it" rather than the polite "you" form, "usted." As such, this phrase is still considered informal.
- A general pronunciation of this phrase would be kay pah-sah.
- Switch to "¿Qué tal?" This is another question that could be interpreted as "What's up" or "How are things?"
- The literal translation of this question is somewhat clumsy to a native English speaker. Qué means "what" and tal means "such, " so a literal translation would be "what such?"
- Pronounce this question as kay tahl.
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