In this lesson, you’ll learn four basic greetings in Spanish! Don’t rush it, but also don’t feel like you need to have everything perfect right away – we will be doing a lot of review through this course!
I hope you enjoy these beginner-friendly descriptions to improve your understanding of when these phrases are used and how to pronounce them correctly. Study the pictures along with playing the audio file to practice your pronunciation. Once you’ve studied this document, progress on to the quiz to work on memorizing the phrases.
A greeting for any time of day — Hola is a basic greeting, like “Hi” or “Hello” Say it anytime, anywhere!
The h is silent — In Spanish, the “h” is always silent. It’s not pronounced even a little. For “hola” it’s like you were just saying oh-la. Go easy on that “h”!
A greeting for the morning —“Buenos días” is used for the English expression “Good morning.” Literally, it means “Good day.” A general rule is to say “Buenos días” before noon, but sometimes if it is after twelve o’clock noon and a person hasn’t had lunch yet, they may say “Buenos días.”
Sounds like Bway-nohs dee-ahs.
When to use this phrase — To say “Good afternoon” in Spanish, you’d say, “Buenas tardes.” As a general rule, use this phrase after noon and until the last sunlight. It’s more common to say “buenas tardes” later in the day than it is to hear “Good afternoon” said later in the day. In English, we’d tend to say “Good evening” instead around dinnertime even if it’s still light out, but Spanish-speakers would tend to say “Buenas tardes” then.
Pronouncing “buenas tardes” — Notice the last two letters in “Buenas” are -as instead of -os. Sounds like Bway-nahs tahr-days.
Two meanings — This expression has two meanings in Spanish. It can be used as a greeting, “Good evening,” or as a way to say goodbye, “Good night.” As a greeting, use “Buenas noches” after the sun goes down.
Pronounce this greeting — Notice that this phrase also using the -as ending for the word “buenas,” as does the expression “buenas tardes.” Sounds like bway-nahs noh-chays.
Putting these phrases together
It’s very common in Spanish to use “Hola” with any of the other three expressions that we learned. For example,
- Hola, buenos días. Hello, good morning.
- Hola, ¡buenas noches! Hello, good evening!
Try it! Say “Hola,” and then the greeting that you would use at this time of day.
The Quiz and Homework
The next step in this course is to take the Quiz on Greetings. I call this a “Vocabulary Check” as it will give you LOTS of repetition of the phrases to help cement them into your long term memory.
To continue, select “Vocabulary Check – Greetings” from the Quizzes grid below! Once you take the quiz and mark this lessoncomplete, continue on to learn Goodbyes in Spanish!