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25 Slick Ways to Respond to “Cómo estás”

25 Slick Ways to Respond to “Cómo estás”

Inevitably you will hear the words ‘¿Cómo estás?’ in Spanish. It means “how are you?”

Sometimes you may want to tell someone you are “so-so” and other times say “I miss you”

So, if you want to broaden your vocabulary so you can express yourself better, keep reading. This post teaches you 25 interesting ways to reply to ‘¿Cómo estás?’

 

25 ways to respond to ‘¿Cómo estás?’

  1. Estoy Bien
  2. Bien Bueno
  3. Mas o menos
  4. Todo bien
  5. Bien y usted?
  6. Excelente
  7. Normal
  8. Asi asi
  9. Fatal 
  10. Terrible
  11. Aquí nada más
  12. No me quejo
  13. Como siempre
  14. Bien en lo que cabe
  15. Todo bien por acá
  16. Con hambre!
  17. Con sueño
  18. Bien y tu?
  19. ‘Toy bien
  20. De buena onda
  21. Echándole ganas
  22. Con ganas de verte.
  23. Extrañandote.
  24. echandote de menos
  25. Re bien

 

1. Estoy Bien

‘Estoy bien’ is the most basic response to ‘¿Cómo estás?’ When you use this expression you are saying, “I am fine.”

It can be a bit boring, but it is correct. Make sure when you say this you use the verb ‘estoy’ not ‘ser.’ In Spanish `¿Cómo estás?’ uses the verb estar. 

The person asking you ‘¿Cómo estás?’ is not asking about your traits. Instead, they mean “how are you doing?” or “how are you right now?”

In Spanish, you must use estar because you refer to your current state. Unsure of using the correct form of “to be” in Spanish?

See how to use ‘ser’ and ‘estar correctly, so you never confuse them again. 

You can use the expression ‘estoy bien’ in any setting and with anyone you know or meet. The expression is simple and lets someone know you are “fine.”

Example:

Maria: Hola Jose, ¿Cómo estás?

Hi Jose, how are you?

Jose: Estoy bien

I am fine. 

 
You can also use ‘estoy bien’ to say “I am good” or “I am okay.” 

 

2. Bien Bueno

If you are in an excellent mood and want to sound less monotone when someone asks, “how are you?” You can reply with ‘bien bueno.’

The literal translation of ‘bien bueno’ is “good good,” but ‘bien’ can also mean “very.” A more accurate translation of ‘bien bueno’ is “very good.”

An excellent translation could be “I’m great.” You can use this expression in formal and informal settings. 

It means that you are in a great mood. Usually, people use this when something great has happened to them during the day. 

For context, in the following example, you are replying to a friend after making a huge sale at work. You are in a great mood because of your sale. 

Example:

Maria: Hola Jairo, ¿Cómo estás?

Hi Jairo, how are you?

Jairo: ¡Bien bueno!

I’m great!

 

3. Más o menos

Suppose you’re having a not-so-great day, and someone asks, ‘¿Cómo estás?’ You can reply with ‘más o menos.’ 

When you reply with ‘más o menos,’ it implies that you are neither in a good nor bad mood. Usually, people say this when they are having a boring or uneventful day, but not always.

You can also use ‘más o menos’ to express that you are not enjoying your day. The connotation is neither good nor bad, but it leans more towards displeasure.

It usually indicates something is going on, but it’s not serious. 

In the following example, your morning was rough. However, your day is getting better.

Your friend sees you eating donuts that your boss brought to work. The donuts are perking you up, but the rough morning is still what’s controlling your emotions. 

Usually, when you reply ‘más o menos’ you are inviting the person to ask you a follow-up question. So, if you want them to leave you alone, don’t say this. 

Example:

Majo: Hola Sean, ¿Cómo estás?

Hi Sean, how are you?

Sean: Más o menos.

So-so. 

Majo: ¿Qué te pasa?

What’s the matter?

 

4. Todo bien

When someone asks ¿Cómo estás? and your day is going well, you can use the expression ‘todo bien.’ The expression can translate to “everything’s cool” or “it’s all good.”

The expression is a relaxed response and is usually said in a relaxed manner. You will not use this expression if you are very happy or in an excellent mood. 

You should relax the tone as that is how most native speakers will say ‘todo bien.’ Using this expression is similar to ‘más o menos’ but less disheartened. 

You can use this when talking with anyone, as it is formal or informal. 

Example: 

Juan: ¿Cómo te va hoy?

How are you today?

Mayra: Todo bien.

“It’s all good.”

 
Often people will say, ‘todo bien, tranquilo.’ Tranquilo means “relaxed.”

 

5. Bien y usted?

You use ‘bien y usted?’ the same way as ‘bien y tu?’ The only difference is formality. 

You should always use the formal version of ‘usted’ when talking to someone you don’t know well. You must also use this when speaking to someone in a position of power like a judge.

In Spain, it is very uncommon to use ‘usted,’ and most people will use ‘tu’ for everyone they meet. However, people will use ‘usted’ with everyone in some Latin American countries. 

For context, in the following example, you are talking to a doctor who has just come in to see you. 

Example:

Doctor: Buenos días, ¿cómo está usted?

Good morning, how are you?

You: Bien y usted?

 
Again like with ‘bien y tu,’ you want to continue the conversation. You are giving the doctor an open invitation to speak with you more. 

 

6. Excelente

When your day is excellent, and you want to let someone know, you can say ‘excelente.’ When you reply to ¿cómo estás? with  ‘excelente,’ you are saying “excellent.”

People will reply with ‘excelente’ in many situations. Commonly people use it when they have just completed an action that went very well. 

You have just bought a lottery ticket in the following example and won $25. You are very happy about this and want to express this to the person asking ‘¿Cómo estás?’

You can use this in formal and informal settings. It is appropriate to use it anytime your day is going very well. 

Example:

Mafer: Hola James, ¿Cómo estás?

Hi James, how are you?

James: Excelente Mafer, ¡acabo de ganar 25 dólares!

Excellent Mafer, I just won $25!

 
When you say ‘excelente’ in response to ‘¿Cómo estás?’ you should tell someone why your day is going so well. 

If you do not tell them, your answer seems short and incomplete. 

 

7. Normal

If someone asks ¿Cómo estás?’ and your day is nothing out of the ordinary, you could say ‘normal.’ ‘Normal’ in Spanish means the same as in English. 

When you say this in Spanish, it means everything is as usual. YOu can use this when your day is going well. 

You should avoid using this when your day is bad. If someone feels you’re in a bad mood and you say ‘normal,’ they may assume you are always in a bad mood. 

Instead, reserve this expression for times when your day is going fine, but nothing new is happening. 

People often say this at work. It means that work is going as usual with no new events. 

Example:

Alicia: Buenos dias Junnior, ¿Cómo estás?

Good morning Junnior, how are you?

James: Normal

Everything is as usual. 

 
Please note that you are not leaving the conversation open if you use this expression. Sometimes it can indicate you are not in the mood to talk. 

 

8. Asi asi

‘Asi asi’ is a variation of the expression ‘más o menos’ meaning “so-so.” The expression has a different connotation from ‘más o menos,’ though. 

When you say ‘asi asi’ it does not have a negative connotation that something is bothering you. When you use the expression, it literally means ‘so-so.’

You can use this when you are a bit bored or want to express that your day is uneventful. It can also indicate that your day is nothing out of the ordinary. 

For the context in the following example, you are writing an email at work. Nothing is different about today from another day. 

Example:

Juan: Hola Jennifer, ¿Cómo estás?

Hi Jennifer, how are you?

Jennifer: Asi asi, trabajando. 

So-so, just working. 


Using this expression closes the conversation. The context implies that you are busy doing something and don’t feel like chatting. 

 

9. Fatal 

If you are having an awful day because you feel terrible, you can use the expression ‘fatal.’ When you reply to ‘¿Cómo estás?’ with fatal, it could mean you are very ill. 

It can also mean that you feel terrible. You should only use this when you are feeling awful. 

The word implies you feel very bad. For context, in the next example, you have a hangover. 

You are at work and feel terrible when your friend approaches you to chat.

Example:

April: Hola Rachel, ¿cómo estás esta mañana?Hi Rachel, how are you this morning?

Rachel: Fatal.

I feel awful. 

 
When you use this expression in response to ‘¿cómo estás?’ there is no need to add ‘estoy’ or “I am.” You are clearly not feeling well when you say this, and people can assume you’re talking about yourself. 

 

10. Terrible

Unlike ‘fatal,’ the expression ‘terrible’ has wider uses. You can use this when anything “terrible” has happened.

The word ‘terrible’ is a cognate in English. A cognate is a word with similar spelling and meaning. 

The difference between the pronunciation in English and Spanish is the ‘rr’ in Spanish. When words have a double ‘rr’ you must roll your tongue. 

With practice, you can roll your r’s by putting a pencil between your teeth and lightly biting down on it. Place the tip of your tongue above the pencil and push air through your mouth. 

Your tongue should move up and down just behind the alveolar ridge. You can locate your alveolar ridge by moving your tongue from behind your teeth towards your pallet. 

The alveolar ridge is the part of your mouth after your teeth and before rigid lines on the pallet. The ‘rr’ is very important for this word in Spanish. 

People may not understand you if you do not roll the ‘r’. 

Another difference between using this word in Spanish and English is the part of speech. The part of speech for this word is exclusively an adjective in Spanish. 

You could use this word as an adverb or an adjective in English. In English, you could reply to “how are you?” by saying, “I’m terribly excited.”

In Spanish, this is not possible, and you must only say ‘terrible’ as an adjective.

In the following example, you are at work and just received the terrible news that your father is in the hospital. Your friend comes to ask you about your day, and you want to express something bad has happened. 

Example:

April: Hola Manuela, ¿cómo estás?

Hi Manuela, how are you today? 

Manuela: ¡Terrible!

Terrible!

 
When you use this expression, people will likely ask why you are upset. It somewhat welcomes a conversation. 

 

11. Aquí nada más

Here is an expression similar to ‘todo bien’ or ‘normal.’ When you use the expression ‘aquí nada más,’ it is similar to saying “just chilling,” “it’s all good,” or “same old, same old” in English. 

You can use this expression when you are talking to anyone. There is no formality or informality involved with the expression. 

To help you understand when to use this expression, you are sitting on the couch watching tv when your friend walks in. 

Example:

Your friend: Hola Manuela, ¿cómo estás esta mañana?

Hi Manuela, how are you?

You: Aquí nada más

Just chilling. 

 
Usually, when someone uses this expression, they’ll follow up with what they’re doing. You can opt to add in your current activity and say, ‘aquí nada más, viendo la tele’ or “just chilling, watching TV.’

 

12. No me quejo

Sometimes we want to respond to “how are you” by saying we don’t have any reason to complain. ‘No me quejo’ literally translates to “I can’t complain.”

When you are using the verb ‘quejarse,’ you know it is a reflexive verb because it ends with ‘se.’ The ‘se’ indicates who the verb is meant for, and in ‘no me quejo,’ you are referring to yourself. 

You must include the reflexive pronoun ‘me,’ or the expression is incorrect. You should not pronounce this like in English.

Instead, you pronounce the ‘me’ like “meh.”  

Reflexive pronouns can go before the reflexive verb or at the end. Since you conjugate ‘quejar’ with ‘yo’, you must put the pronoun before the verb. 

In Spanish, when you use two verbs in a sentence and the second is a reflexive verb, you can add the pronoun at the end. An example of this is ‘voy a peinarme el pelo’ or “I’m going to comb my hair.”

As ‘peinarme’ is the second verb in the sentence, it must be in its ‘ar’ base form with the reflexive pronoun ‘me’ added to the end. The first verb in the sentence is ‘ir’, an irregular verb. 

The irregular verb ‘ir’ is highly irregular, so it becomes ‘voy’ when conjugated for ‘yo.’

In the expression ‘no me quejo,’ there is only one verb. So, you must put the reflexive pronoun ‘me’ before the verb. 

You can use this expression in formal or informal settings. Reflexive pronouns can indicate formality, but it doesn’t apply to this expression. 

In the following example, you are enjoying your afternoon even though it’s a bit boring. 

Example:

Your friend: Hola John, ¿cómo estás?

Hi John, how are you?

Rachel: No me quejo.

I’m not complaining

 

13. Como Siempre

This expression is a variation of ‘normal.’ You can use the expression to respond to ‘¿cómo estás?’ when you want to say that nothing new is happening. 

‘Como siempre’ also means that the day is as usual. The expression literally translates to “as always.”

You can use this in formal and informal situations. It is completely acceptable to say this at home or in the office. 

Example:

Julia: Hola Michael, ¿cómo estás?

Hi Michael, how are you?

Michael: Como siempre. 

Nothing new. 

 

14. Bien dentro de lo que cabe

If you’re in a sticky situation but want to keep a positive outlook on life, you can reply to ‘¿cómo estás?’ with  ‘Bien dentro de lo que cabe.’

When you say this, you reply, “good, all things considered.” You should use this when something negative has happened but has not ruined your day. 

People also use this jokingly. It can be a funny response when something very negative has happened. 

For context, you have just lost your job in the following sentence. You are trying to stay positive because you know you will recover from the loss. 

Your friend calls you on the phone. 

Example:

Your friend: Hola, ¿cómo estás?

Hi, how are you?

You: Bien dentro de lo que cabe.

Fine, all things considered?

Your friend: ¿Qué pasa?

What’s the matter?

 
When you use this, it usually leads to a follow-up question. By replying with ‘bien dentro de lo que cabe,’ you’re inviting the person talking to you to ask a follow-up question. 

 

15. Todo bien por acá

Don’t confuse ‘todo bien’ with ‘todo bien por acá.’ Although the expressions are almost the exact same, there is a difference. 

‘Todo bien por acá’ adds a different meaning. ‘Por acá’ means “over here,” and you add this to ‘todo bien’ when you are talking to someone on the phone. 

You can also add this to ‘todo bien’ when you visit someone you haven’t seen for a long time.

For context, a friend is coming to see you in the following example. This friend has not seen you in a long time, and they are coming to your home. 

Your friend walks in, and the conversation goes like this. 

Example:

Your friend: Hola Amiga, ¿cómo estás?

Hi friend, how are you?

You: Todo bien por acá.

All good over here!

 
Although, in the example, the conversation seems closed, the context implies the conversation will continue. You can use this expression in various contexts that could close or continue a conversation. 

 

16. ¡Con hambre!

Feeling hangry? If someone asks, ‘¿cómo estás?’ and you need a snickers bar, you could reply ‘con hambre.’

‘Hambre’ means “hungry” in English, and ‘con’ means “with.” In Spanish, you usually need to use ‘hambre’ with ‘tener’, which means “to have.”

However, when you are replying to ‘¿cómo estás?’ it is acceptable to ignore the ‘tener’ idioms. ‘Tener’ idioms aren’t real idioms. 

In English, we use the phrase “tene’ idioms” for expressions that require the verb to have in Spanish but not in English. 

In the following example, you are starving at work when your friend walks in to see you typing away. 

Example:

Jairo: Hola Mariana, ¿cómo estás?

Hi Mariana, how are you?

Mariana: ¡Con hambre!

Hungry!

 
You could use this expression in formal settings, but you should stick to using it with people you know really well. 

 

17. Con sueño

The expression ‘con sueño’ is another example of answering how you feel. Like ‘con hambre,’ you usually say ‘sueño’ as a ‘tener’ idiom. 

‘Sueño’ means “sleepy” or “tired” in English, depending on the context of the situation. When you reply to ‘¿cómo estás?’ with ‘con sueño’ it means “I’m tired/sleepy.”

You can use this expression in formal situations, but you probably shouldn’t! People do use this in office settings, but definitely not with the boss. 

For context, in the following sentence, you are at work. You had a long night, and your friend sees that you’re moving slower than usual.  

Example:

You: Hola, ¿cómo estás esta mañana?

Hey, how are you this morning?

Rachel: Con sueño.

I’m tired. 

 

Informal responses for ‘¿cómo estás?’

 

18. Bien y tu?

When someone asks ‘¿Cómo estás?’ it is nice to ask them how they are too. You can tell the person, “I’m good, what about you?” or ‘bien y tu?’

As you are using the informal version of you ‘tu,’ you should only use this when you know someone well. If the person is in a position that requires respect or you’ve recently met, you should not say ‘tu.’

You can use this when you want to continue a conversation and get the other person talking. In the following example, you want to practice your Spanish.

Jaime is talking to a friend who has asked him, “how are you?” He wants to keep her talking to improve his Spanish skills further. 

Example:

Angela: Hola Jaime, ¿Cómo estás? 

Hi Jaime, how are you?

Jaime: ¿Bien y tu?

Good, and you?

 
Naturally, Angela will continue the conversation with Jaime. 

 

19. Toy bien

It is not uncommon to shorten the verb ‘estar’ in informal settings in Spanish. When someone asks ‘¿cómo estás?’ you can say ‘toy bien.’

You need to shorten the ‘estar’ before the conjugation for the subject. When replying “I am fine,” you conjugate ‘estar’ as ‘estoy’ by replacing the verb’s ‘ar’ ending with ‘oy.’

You can also shorten the question ‘¿cómo estás?’ to ‘¿cómo ‘tás?’ by following the same rule. Never use this unless you know the person you are talking to very well. 

Example:

April: Hola mi pana, ¿cómo tás?

Hey my friend, how are you today?

Rachel: ‘Toy bien, gracias.

I’m great, thanks. 

 
Notice how the question asked includes the word ‘pana.’ ‘Pana’ means friend in some Latin American countries. 

The person asking the question also shortened ‘¿cómo estás?’ to ‘¿cómo tás?’ Since they shortened the question, they consider you a friend. 

‘¿Cómo tás?’ is playful, and you can respond with ‘toy bien’ to match the tone.

 

20. De buena onda

Another interesting way to reply to ‘¿cómo estás?’  without replying with something more common like ‘estoy bien’ is ‘de buena onda.’

‘De buena onda’ closely translates to “it’s all gravy baby” or “I’m on a high note” in English. It is a way to let the person you are talking to understand that your day is going great. 

You can use the expression in everyday settings with friends. You could use it in a formal setting, but it is not recommended. 

In a formal setting, responding with ‘de buena onda’ could seem too relaxed and unserious. 

Example:

April: Hola Rachel, ¿cómo estás?

Hi Rachel, how are you?

Rachel: De buena onda.

I’m on a high note today. 

 
The expression ‘de buena onda’ can close the conversation if the context is close-ended. If the conversation and your friend is talkative, it will definitely lead to a longer conversation. 

You can include or omit ‘estoy’ in your response. You can omit it because ‘de’ in this context means “in/on,” although it usually means “from/of.”

 

21. Echándole ganas

If someone says, ‘¿cómo estás?’ and you are working hard on something, you could reply with, ‘echándole ganas.’

When you use the expression échale ganas in this context, it means working hard.

Other translations of this expression are “in the groove,” and “giving it my all.”

You should only use this expression in informal settings. If you use  ‘echándole ganas’ in formal settings, it could come off as rude. 

So, how can you use this? For context, you’re writing an essay and have been working on it for hours. 

You are exhausted but working hard so you can finish soon. 

Example:

Maya: Hola Jacob, ¿cómo estás?

Hi Jacob, how are you?

Jacon: Echándole ganas.

Working hard!

 

22. Con ganas de verte.

You can use the expression ‘con ganas de verte’ when someone asks ‘¿cómo estás?’ In English, this expression translates to “missing you” or “wanting to see you.” 

The verb ‘ver’ means “to see,” and ‘ganas’ means “feelings.” You must use a reflexive pronoun in this expression. 

You can replace the reflexive pronoun ‘tu’ with ‘le’ if you want to formally express this in the third person by saying ‘con ganas de verle.’ Still, you must add the reflexive pronoun to the end of the verb. 

As mentioned with the example, ‘no me quejo’ reflexive pronouns go at the end of the verb when it comes after another verb in a sentence. 

The expression, ‘con ganas de verte,’ implies that you want to see someone. Even though ‘tengo’ is replaced with ‘con,’ it is implied that ‘verte’ would be the second verb in the standard sentence ‘tengo ganas de verte.’

You should use this in informal settings as it would be inappropriate to say this to a boss or someone you don’t know. 

In the following example, Yuliana is calling her friend Blanca. The two friends haven’t seen each other in a few months. 

Example:

Yuliana: Hola Blanca, ¿cómo estás?

Hi Blanca, how are you this morning?

Blanca: Con ganas de verte.

I miss you.

 
If you use this expression with a friend, it means “I miss you” or “I want to see you.” Using this with a lover can have a different, more emotional meaning.  

 

23. Extrañandote.

The expression is similar to ‘con ganas de verte’ because it indicates you miss someone. You can say this when you have strong feelings about seeing someone. 

‘Extrañandote’ means “missing you” in English. However, ‘extrañar’ is a strong verb for missing someone.

You should use this with family members or a lover. It is always used in informal settings and means you really want to see someone again. 

The verb ‘extrañar’ can also be used with a reflexive pronoun to tell who you miss. In the expression ‘Extrañandote,’ you use the reflexive pronoun ‘te’ which means “you.”

In the following example, you are talking to your mom. You haven’t seen her in two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Example:

Mom: Hola Mia, ¿cómo estás?

Hi Mia, how are you?

Mia: Fatal.

I miss you. 

 

24. Echandote de menos

‘Echandote de menos’ is a variation of the expressions ‘con ganas de verte’ and ‘extrañandote.’ When you say ‘extrañandote’ it means ‘ missing you.’

Don’t use this expression with people you do not know. It can seem too personal and could make them uncomfortable. 

You can use this with friends or family members. In the following example, you are talking to a cousin you have not seen for a long time. 

You would only use this when talking to someone on the phone or by Facetime. 

Example:

Cousin: Hola Natalia, ¿cómo estás?

Hi Natalia, how are you?

You: Echandote de menos.

I miss you. 

 

25. Re bien

Here is another way to let someone know you are in very high mood. “Re bien” is similar to saying ‘bien bueno’ but is very conversational. 

You should only use this expression with close friends. Using this in a work setting or other formal situation is very inappropriate. 

In Spanish, it is common to add ‘re’ in front of words to exaggerate how good they are. If you are very intelligent, someone could say ‘reinteligente.’

‘Inteligente’ means smart, and when you add ‘re’ in front of it, you exaggerate how smart someone is. 

As ‘bien’ means good and ‘re’ means “very,” you are saying “very good.” For context, in the next example, you have just woken up, and your friend made you breakfast. 

You go downstairs to see your meal prepared. You are very grateful!

Example:

Alaina: Buenos dias James, ¿Cómo estás?

Good morning James, how are you?

James: Rebien gracias a ti.

Great, thanks to you!

 

Conclusion

Responding to ‘¿cómo estás?’ doesn’t need to be boring. You can vary your responses and create a better connection with the person you are talking to in Spanish. 

 

You should strive to use a wide range of expressions to help you communicate more clearly. Communicating clearly is easy when you consider one of these ways to reply to ‘¿cómo estás?’