How to Say "What's up" in Spanish

Spanish, or Castilian, is the official language of Spain.
Spanish, or Castilian, is the official language of Spain. (Image: spanish flag image by Stanisa Martinovic from

Spanish is considered a romance language, which means it is part of a set of European languages which developed from Latin. Spanish is one of the most widely used languages in the world. There are more than 325 million people worldwide for whom Spanish is a first language. It is the official language of 20 countries.

In Spanish how you address another person varies depending on the formality of the situation and your relationship to him. The way you say something in Spanish also varies if the object of the phrase is plural or singular.


"¿Qué tal?" translates literally to "What's up?" or "How is such?" This is an informal greeting and tends to be used only in very casual circumstance or between close friends.

"¿Qué tal?" is pronounced KEH tahl.

If you are speaking to someone who you have a good deal of respect for or someone who is in position of superiority to you then it is appropriate to use the formal form.

The phrase "¿Cómo está usted?" literally translates to "How is sir?" This is used in situations when you are addressing your teacher or your boss.

"¿Cómo está usted?" is pronounced as KOH-moh ehs-TAH oos-TEHD.

"¿Cómo estás tu?" translates to "How are you?" This form is more appropriate when addressing a close friend or family member.

"¿Cómo estás tu?" is pronounced KOH-moh ehs-TAHS TOO.

"¿Qué pasa?" is an common phrase in Spanish and it translates literally to "What's happening?" This phrase is also only used in informal situations.

The pronunciation for "¿Qué pasa?" is KEH PAH-sah.

If you are speaking to a group of people then the way you address all of them in Spanish is different than how you would address them individually.

"¿Cómo estan ustedes?" translates literally to "How are you?" when referring to more than one person.

"¿Cómo estan ustedes?" is pronounced KOH-moh ehs-TAHN oos-TEHD-ehs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Spanish is a language that is actually called Castilian. This is the official language of Spain and most of South America. However, there are several other less widely used languages that could also be considered Spanish.
  • If in doubt, use the formal way of speaking. This is the safest way to minimize offense.

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