ESPAÑOL 1 – LECCIÓN PRELIMINAR
Formal & informal
Greetings
TÚ VS. USTED
In Spanish, there are multiple ways to say “you”. You have to use the correct
“you” depending on what you want to express. Let’s take a look at the
friendly and formal “you”.
Tú – this “you” is the friendly/informal/familiar you.
Usted – this is the “you” you must use to people you don’t know well, or to
whom you want to show respect.
Because we have 2 different versions here, we have to know the rules for when
we ask “How are you?”
¿CÓMO ESTÁS? VS. ¿CÓMO ESTÁ USTED?
¿Cómo estás? and ¿cómo está usted? both mean basically the same thing.
They both mean How are you?
However there are two forms of saying this phrase in Spanish. There is the
1. friendly/familiar way and the
2. formal way.
Let’s take a look at each of them:
¿CÓMO ESTÁS?
¿Cómo estás? – Is the friendly/familiar way to say “How are
you?” It is generally answered with something like
“bien/mal/regular etc. And then the second speaker would
respond by asking the first speaker how they are by using the
friendly/familiar response ¿Y tú? (and you?). These phrases would
be used with:
¿CÓMO ESTÁS?
 a person your own age
A relative
A person you call by their first name
Other friendly/familiar greetings include:
¿Qué tal? and ¿Qué pasa?
¿CÓMO ESTÁ USTED?
¿Cómo está usted? – Is the formal way to say “How are you?” It
is generally answered with something like “bien/mal/regular etc.
And then the second speaker would respond by asking the first
speaker how they are by using the formal response ¿Y usted?
(and you?). These formal phrases would be used with:
¿CÓMO ESTÁ USTED?
 a person you don’t know
 Someone older
 A person to whom you want to show respect
PRÁCTICA – WOULD YOU USE TÚ OR USTED WITH THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE?
1. un maestro de español
1. usted
2. Un doctor
2. usted
3. Tu mamá
3. tú
4. Un amigo
4. tú
5. Señor James
5. Usted
6. Tu hermano
6. tú
¿CÓMO TE LLAMAS? VS. ¿CÓMO SE
LLAMA?
Formal and Informal Greetings
¿CÓMO TE LLAMAS? VS. ¿CÓMO SE LLAMA?
¿Cómo te llamas? and ¿cómo se llama? are both used to ask “What is your
name?”
Once again we see a formal and informal version of asking the question.
Te presento a… and Le presento a… both mean “I’d like you to meet…”
Again, there is a formal and informal way of saying this.
Let’s take a look at each:
¿CÓMO TE LLAMAS? AND TE PRESENTO A…/ ¿CÓMO SE LLAMA? AND LE PRESENTO A…
¿Cómo te llamas? and Te presento a…
¿Cómo se llama? and Le presento a…
are friendly/familiar phrases used with:
are formal phrases used with:
A person your own age
A person to whom you want to show respect
A relative
A person you don’t know
A person you call by his or her first name.
Someone older
PRÁCTICA – IMAGINE YOU ARE SPEAKING SPANISH WITH THE FOLLOWING
PEOPLE. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
1. …a classmate. How would you ask for her
name?
1. ¿Cómo te llamas?
2. …your little brother and you are
introducing María to him. What would you
say?
2. Te presento a María
3. …a new coach. How would you ask him
his name?
3. ¿Cómo se llama?
4. …your teacher and you are introducing
Luis to him. What would you say?
4. Le presento a Luis
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Español 1 * lección preliminar