‘Buenas noches’ is a versatile one!
You might find yourself on the receiving end of a friendly ‘buenas noches’ when you’re meeting a friend early in the evening, when out for a stroll late at night, or even when you’re about to hit the sack!
In truth, the simplest way to respond is with a ‘buenas noches’ in return … but if you wanna sound like a true native, it’s always good to know some alternatives so that you have something up your sleeve for every conceivable situation.
So, let’s get to it!
‘Buenas noches’ in English
‘Buenas noches’ translates to both ‘good night’ and ‘good evening’ in English.
Spanish speakers don’t differentiate between evening and night (at least as far as their greetings are concerned!).
Depending on context, it can function as a greeting, a farewell or to say good night to someone before going to bed.
You may also come across the longer ‘que tengas buenas noches’, or ‘have a good night’, especially when someone’s saying goodbye.
Llegando a un restaurante
Valet – Buenas noches, señor. ¿Cuenta con reservación?
Comensal – Buenas noches. No, no tengo.
Arriving at a restaurant
Valet – Good evening, sir. Do you have a reservation?
Customer – Good evening. No, I don’t have one.
En una fiesta
Camila – Amiga, gracias por todo, buenas noches.
Leticia – ¿Ya te vas, Cami?
Camila – Sí, mañana tengo que levantarme temprano.
At a party
Camila – Thanks for everything, sis, good night.
Leticia – Are you leaving, Cami?
Camila – Yeah, I have to get up early tomorrow.
En un mensaje de texto
Ya me voy a dormir. Buenas noches, mi amor.
In a text message
I’m off to bed. Good night, sweetheart.
Now let’s dive into all the different ways to respond!
AS A GREETING
1 Buena noche – Good evening / Good night
As you may have noticed, the phrase ‘buenas noches’ consists of a plural noun (‘noches’), and an adjective that agrees with the noun in both gender and number, (yep, that’d be ‘buenas’).
Phrases like this, in which plural nouns are used instead of singular ones, are actually kinda common in Spanish!
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that these expressions can’t be used in singular form, and such is the case with ‘buena noche’ (‘good night’), which is less popular than its plural brother-in-arms, but still quite common.
Dos vecinos se encuentran en el estacionamiento regresando del trabajo
Jacinto – Ceci, buenas noches. ¿Ya a descansar?
Cecilia – Buena noche, Don Jacinto. ¡Ya, por fin!
Two neighbors meet in the parking lot on their way home from work
Jacinto – Good evening, Cecy. Are you off for the day?
Cecilia – Good evening, Don Jacinto. Yeah, finally!
2 Buenas (colloquial) – Evening
If you wander the streets of any Mexican city, you’ll definitely hear people greet each other with a friendly ‘buenas’ (and at pretty much any time of the day!).
Also used in other parts of Central America and Spain, ‘buenas’ is kinda like a shorter alternative to ‘buenas noches’, ‘buenas tardes’ (or ‘good afternoon’ in English) and –curiously enough – ‘buenos días’ (yep, you’d still say ‘buenAS’ in the morning!).
Regardless, this is a very local and very friendly way of greeting friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike!
En la tienda de la esquina
Vendedor – Buenas noches, joven, qué gusto verlo.
Cliente – ¡Buenas, Sr. Gutierrez! ¿Cómo ha estado?
At the corner store
Salesclerk – Good evening, young man, nice to see you.
Customer – Evening, Mr. Gutierrez! How have you been?
Erika’s note – if you wanna know more about this colloquial expression, then be sure to check out our article on the different uses of ‘buenos’ and ‘buenas’.
AS A FAREWELL
3 Gracias, igualmente – Thanks, you too
When using ‘buenas noches’ to say goodbye to someone, a common response is a simple and polite ‘gracias, igualmente’, or ‘thanks, you too’ –
En la recepción de un edificio de departamentos
Portero – Buenas noches, señor.
Inquilino – Gracias, igualmente.
In the lobby of an apartment building
Concierge – Have a good evening, sir.
Tenant – Thanks, you too.
4 Nos vemos + a specific or indefinite time in the future – See you
A more casual response to ‘buenas noches’ would be ‘nos vemos’ (or ‘see you’ in English).
You can also add the specific time or date of your next encounter – such as ‘mañana’ (meaning ‘tomorrow’) –, or an indefinite time in the future – such as ‘luego’ or ‘después’ (both of which mean ‘later’).
Unos novios se envían mensajes de texto antes de dormir
Mikaela – Buenas noches, flaquito*.
Roy – Nos vemos mañana, flaquita. ¡Ya quiero verte!
A couple send text messages before going to sleep
Mikaela – Good night, flaquito*.
Roy – See you tomorrow,flaquita. I really wanna see you!
*Erika’s note – ‘flaquito’ is the diminutive form of ‘flaco’ or ‘skinny’ and a popular pet name amongst couples!
BEFORE GOING TO BED
5 Que duermas bien – Sleep well
This one literally translates as ‘sleep well’ in English.
Dos compañeros de apartamento
Gladys – Buenas noches, wey.
Emiliano – ¡Que duermas bien!
Gladys – Good night, man.
Emiliano – Sleep well!
6 Que descanses / Descansa – Sleep well
‘Que descanses’ and ‘descansa’ mean ‘rest well’ in English, and they’re super common responses to ‘buenas noches’ if the person you’re talking to is about to hit the hay.
En una conversación telefónica
Paola – ¿Seguimos platicando mañana? Muero de sueño.
Arturo – ¡Claro! Descansa.
In a telephone conversation
Paola – Shall we finish our chat tomorrow? I’m very sleepy.
Arthur – Sure! Sleep well.
7 Dulces sueños – Sweet dreams
The Spanish equivalent of ‘sweet dreams’ is ‘dulces sueños’.
It’s worth mentioning that you’ll seldom come across this one outside of the realm of literature and television.
En un libro de niños
“Buenas noches”, dijo el búho. “Dulces sueños”, respondió la Luna.
In a children’s book
“Good night,” said the owl. “Sweet dreams,” replied the Moon.
8 Hasta mañana – See you tomorrow
Finally, we have ‘hasta mañana’, which means something along the lines of ‘see you tomorrow’.
Niño – Buenas noches, mamita.
Madre – Hasta mañana, corazón.
Child – Good night, mommy.
Mother – See you tomorrow, sweetheart.
Well, you now have some decent alternatives to ‘buenas noches’! Make sure to give them a whirl the next time you hang out with your Spanish-speaking friends.
Oh, and if you found this article helpful, I recommend you head on over next to our list of all the different ways to say ‘me too’ in Spanish!
¡Nos vemos en la próxima!