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Greetings in Spanish

Whether you are learning Spanish for a business trip or an extended vacation, you will need to know how to properly greet people you meet. Whether it’s the concierge at your hotel, the waiter at your restaurant, or your business contact in a multi-million dollar deal, the right greeting sets the tone.

Whether or not your new friend speaks English, the proper greeting in his or her native tongue will help ease tensions, or just get the meal off on the right foot. Chances are, if you are staying in the “touristy” or business districts, most people you meet will have at least a rudimentary knowledge of English—at least enough to do their jobs. But, if you want to ensure business dealings start off on the right note, you get the right steak, or the taxi driver from the airport takes you to the correct hotel, starting the conversation with their language can make all the difference.

Most everyone in the Western world has, somewhere in the vocabulary lists in their brain, the Spanish words for “hello” and “goodbye” and “please” and “thank you.”:

Hello – Hola
Goodbye – Adiós
Please – Por favor
Thank you – Gracias

But when you are meeting someone for the first time, you will need more than that to carry on a conversation. Here are a few more words of introduction and greeting you will be able to use when hiring new household help, going out to dinner on your two-week Latin-American cruise, or when you are meeting a new business associate for the first time:

Good Morning – Buenas días
Good Afternoon – Buenas tardes
Good Evening – Buenas noches
What’s your name? – ¿Cómo se llama usted? or ¿Cuál es su nombre?
My name is … – Mi nobre es …
Where are you from? – ¿De dónde es usted?
I’m from (New York). – Soy de (Nueva York).
Do you speak English? – ¿Habla inglés?
I speak a little Spanish. – Hablo un poco de español.
It’s a (great) pleasure to meet you – Es (todo) un placer conocerlo.
The pleasure is mine – El placer es mío.

After greeting someone, you should continue your polite conversation by including the following words and phrases:

Don’t mention it. / You’re welcome – De nada -or- No hay de qué.
Pardon me. / Excuse me. – Perdone or Perdóneme
Of course – Claro que sí. or No faltaba más.
Why not? / Sure – ¿Porqué no?/ Seguro

 

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