How to Address People in Spanish

Learning to introduce yourself and address people in Spanish among the first tasks to accomplish when learning the language. Addressing someone a basic building block of communication and can lead to more advanced forms of interaction. Use these basic steps to figure out the phrases and syntax needed for proper introductions.


  1. Image titled Address People in Spanish Step 1
    Choose a formal or informal method for addressing people in Spanish. Spanish, like some other languages, has 2 distinct forms of speech, the formal and informal. Figure out how to use each one and how they may apply in different scenarios.
    • Look at the difference in structure between formal and informal speech. The basic difference is that the formal uses the pronoun "Usted," which basically translates to "sir" or "ma'am." By contrast, the informal simply uses the pronoun "tu," which translates to "you."
    • Figure out uses for the formal and informal Spanish address. Formal is used when addressing persons older than yourself or others where a distinct power relationship applies. Formal also applies to much written Spanish. The informal is typically used with individuals who you're close to, such as most relatives and your peers.
  2. Image titled Address People in Spanish Step 2
    Figure out the uses of the verbs "ser" and "estar" in Spanish. These verbs are forms of the word "be" in English and can be used in introductions or to address people in Spanish, but one is much more common than the other. The verb "ser" is used for permanent situations, where the verb "estar' is used for immediate situations. This means that "estar" is much more commonly used when addressing people in Spanish, for example, in the stock phrase "Como esta Usted?"
  3. Image titled Address People in Spanish Step 3
    Identify various colloquial salutations in Spanish. Various expressions of introduction will be different depending on the country or region where you will be or the type of Spanish that you are learning.But just to get around you could use this exchanges which are fully translatable into English:

    • -¿ Cómo está Usted ?

    • =Muy bien, ¿ y Usted ?

    • -Muy bien, gracias

    • =Me alegro de saludarle ( nice meeting you )

    • -Yo también ( me too), ( nice meeting you, too )

    • In a more informal way this could be rendered:

    • -Hola, ¿ Cómo estás ?

    • =Muy bien ¿ y tú ?

    • -Muy bien, gracias

    • =Me alegro de saludarte

    • -yo también

    • If the person you greeted does not know you very well and starts gushing in Spanish you can gently say : "Lo siento, hablo un poco Español".
  4. Image titled Address People in Spanish Step 4
    Learn to identify yourself. Simple Spanish phrases allow you to follow up a salutation with information about yourself, such as your name and other characteristics.
  5. Image titled Address People in Spanish Step 5
    Learn social customs. It's a good idea to figure out how most introductions are done through body language. This will help you to effectively greet people and introduce yourself.


  • Contrast uses of formal and informal addresses. For the above example, the formal "Como esta Usted?" changes to the informal "como estas?" This will help you to identify the structural differences between the 2 forms. However, the "estas" form is not used in Latin American countries. In Spain, it isn't used to people you don't know. They will get offended if you speak to a stranger that way.

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Categories: Spanish