Spanish in Argentina can be a bit difficult. Especially, if you are a beginner in Spanish. So, if you are traveling to Argentina and worried about getting around with Spanish, this beginner Spanish guide is for you!
Most of the Spanish phrases in this guide will work for other Spanish-speaking countries. Even though, there might be a bit of variation in the expressions and way of using them. Since I get to enjoy the Argentine version of Spanish every day, I decided to make this guide in a special Argentina version.
It is no secret that I turned out to be a bit of a language nerd when it comes to Argentine Spanish. So, if you are interested in more about Spanish in Argentina, check out 10 phrases in Argentine Spanish you should know before visiting and Spanish words to sound like a local in Buenos Aires.
Now let’s brush off your basic Spanish, so you are ready to visit Argentina!
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Basic Spanish Expressions You Should Know Before Your Trip to Argentina
Spanish Greetings in Argentina
As in English, you will change the way you greet according to the time of the day. So, you will use one of the below Spanish terms when greeting somebody depending on the time of the day.
Sometimes you might also hear Argentines saying a combination of the hola (hi) and one of the others. For example, Hola, buenos días.
You can check out 13 great ways to learn Spanish from home here.
How to Say Good Morning in Spanish in Argentina
- Hola – Hi or hello
- Buenos días – Good morning
Hola is a more standard greeting that can be used all day long. In many other Spanish-speaking countries, hola is seen as an informal way of greeting and will typically not be used when speaking to older generations. However, at least in Buenos Aires, it is completely fine to use “hola” to anybody.
How to Say Good Afternoon in Spanish
- Buenas tardes – Good afternoon
There is no clear rule of thumb for when you change from saying buenos días (good morning) to saying buenas tardes (good afternoon).
Some Spanish speakers will start saying buenas tardes (good afternoon) after noon, while others will not start using it until around 3 pm.
How to Say Goodnight in Spanish
- Buenas noches – Goodnight
Usually, it is noche (night) after sunset, and you will start to use the greeting buenas noches (goodnight) when the sun sets.
However, this means that the afternoon in summer times in Buenos Aires stretches until around 8 pm – not to speak of how it must be further south in Argentina.
How to Say “you” in Spanish in Argentina?
The difference between “Vos” and “Usted” in Argentina
In Spanish, we have to remember that there is a difference between using the informal or formal “you”.
In Argentina, the informal you is “vos” (read more here). While in other Spanish-speaking countries, the informal you is tú.
In Spanish, the formal expression for “you” is usted.
Both vos and usted are valid options when speaking Spanish in Argentina. However, vos is more commonly used since the Argentines in their day-to-day life are not very formal.
But it is good to know the difference between the two. Since especially older generations will prefer to be addressed with the more formal usted.
How Do You Say “How are you?” in Argentina?
A very common addition to the Spanish greetings we saw above is one of the following phrases:
“How are you?” in Argentina using the informal you; vos
- ¿Qué tal? – How are you? or What’s up?
- ¿Cómo estás? – How are you?
- ¿Cómo te va? – How are you doing?
- ¿Cómo andas? – How is it going (with you)?
- ¿Todo bien? – Is everything good?
- ¿Qué contas? – What is new? or directly translated; What do you have to tell?
- ¿Qué haces? – What do you do? or How are you doing?
“How are you?” in Argentina using the formal you; usted
- ¿Cómo está (usted)? – How are you? (formal)
- ¿Cómo le va (usted)? – How are you doing? (formal)
- ¿Cómo anda (usted)? – How is it going with you? (formal)
- ¿Qué cuenta (usted)? – What is new with you?(formal)
- ¿Qué hace (usted)? – How are you doing? (formal)
Can you see the difference?
When using the informal vos, the verb ends with an s. And when it is the formal “usted”, the verb doesn’t.
¿Cómo andas? and ¿Qué haces? are more informal ways of addressing somebody. Therefore, these two options tend to only be used form with the informal vos.
As you can see most of these phrases are different ways of inquiring about someone’s wellbeing. Most of the time, they are used rhetorically as something you say when you walk into a store or jump into a cab.
Hola, qué tal? is the most casual and common greeting in Argentina. Properly the one you will hear the most Spanish-speaking countries.
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Basic Ways to Answer a Greeting in Spanish
When you have been asked in the local supermarket “Hola, buenos días, ¿Cómo te va?”, it is time for you to answer! What to say?
Don’t panic! Any one of these answers will work just perfectly fine:
- Bien, gracias – Good, thanks/thank you
- Muy bien, gracias – Every good, thank you
- Todo bien, gracias – Everything is good, thank you
- Todo bien, por suerte – Everything is good, thankfully
The last one todo bien, por suerte is especially a common way of answering for the older generations.
You can also add a “¿y vos?” after each sentence to be polite and ask back.
How to Say Goodbye in Spanish in Argentina
You have now learned to greet someone, ask how they are, and answer a greeting in Spanish.
Now it is time to learn how to say goodbye in Spanish in Argentina!
There are many different ways to say goodbye in Spanish but the most common ones in Argentina are these ones:
- Chau – Bye
- Adios – Goodbye
- Hasta luego – See you later
The chau is principally used in Argentina. It is a clear example of how the Italian language has been mixed with the Spanish through the many Italian immigrants. Even though, an Italian would spell it “ciao”, the pronunciation is the same.
Other Formalities for Spanish in Argentina
How to Say Thank You in Argentina
- Gracias – Thank you / Thanks
- Muchas gracias – Thank you a lot / Thanks a lot
How to Say You Are Welcome in Spanish
- De nada – You are welcome or directly translated: It was nothing
- Noo, por favor – No, please
When you have said “gracias” or “muchas gracias” for something, most people will answer with “de nada”. Directly translated it means “it was nothing”. But it can better be translated into “you are welcome”.
In Argentina, many tend to answer with a “no, por favor”. That is more like a “no, please (don’t worry about that)”.
How to Say Don’t Worry in Spanish
- No te preocupes – Don’t worry (informal)
- No se preocupe – Don’t worry (formal)
How to Ask to Get by Somebody in Spanish in Argentina
- ¿Permiso? – Permission or Can I get by?
When you are in a situation either on the street, in the subway or in a store, where you want to ask somebody to get by, you can say “permiso” to let them know that you would like to get by.
What about you? Are you learning Spanish or maybe want to get started? How did you like the post? Did I miss anything? Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with Spanish below in the comments!
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