In the Spanish language there are two ways to ask the question “how are you?” yet they don’t warrant same response. You may be a little confused at a speaker's response if you don’t know the difference between the two. Luckily, we put together a little “cheat sheet” for you so that you will know how to respond appropriately. Let’s take a look:
As I mentioned above there are two ways to ask someone how they are, but with very different meanings. It is important to learn the difference so that you can effectively communicate.
¿Cómo eres? - How are you? / What are you like?
¿Cómo estás? - How are you? / How are you feeling?
As you can see from above, these two question have some subtle differences. Let’s break each question down a little more.
When asking this question to someone, you are asking them to describe themselves either physically or by their personality. These traits are permanent conditions that have been present since birth. They follow the rules of the verb SER (see previous article - insert link for SER vs. ESTAR here)
For example, a person could respond with:
- Yo soy alto (I am tall)
- Yo soy rubio (I am blonde)
- Yo soy terco (I am stubborn)
If a female is responding, she may respond with:
- Yo soy alta* (I am tall)
- Yo soy rubia (I am blonde)
- Yo soy terca (I am stubborn)
When asking someone, “¿Cómo estás?” you are inquiring how they are currently feeling. This is the more common question between the two and is frequently used when greeting someone.
Some responses could be:
- Estoy bien - I am good
- Estoy enfermo (enferma for a female) - I am sick
- Estoy triste - I am sad
- Estoy feliz - I am happy
- Estoy cansado (cansada for a femalel) - I am tired
Do you need help remembering the difference? Just listen to this song a few times and you shouldn't have a problem, but don't complain if you can't get the jingle out of your head!
If you plan to travel to a Spanish speaking country or have conversations with native speakers, it is important that you understand the difference between the two question. As long as you follow the rules of SER vs ESTAR you should have no problem asking the proper question for the response you are looking for.
Have any questions? We can help! Please type your question in the comment box below and we will be happy to answer. Remember to keep up the good work and practice, practice, practice. You got this!