EVERY Way to Respond to ‘Buenos días’: Conversational Spanish 101

In short – the best (and easiest) response to ‘buenos días‘ is a simple ‘buenos días‘ in return! ‘Hola, buenos días‘, ‘buen día‘, ‘igualmente‘, and ‘cómo está‘ are also excellent responses!


One of the phrases you’re going to hear ALL THE TIME when in a Spanish-speaking country is ‘buenos días‘ (or ‘good morning‘ in English).

But how (the heck!) should you respond? After all, you don’t want to make a mistake and sound disrespectful, right?

Well, fret no more!

In this article, I’m going to teach you TEN ways to respond to ‘buenos días‘ (yep, 10!!) AND sound more like a local in the process!




Buenos días

The easiest (and perhaps most common) way to respond to ‘buenos días‘ is by repeating the very same phrase back to the speaker!

The beauty of ‘buenos días‘ is that it can be used in almost every situation and with absolutely everyone. Think greeting your boyfriend/girlfriend’s dad for the first time to grunting your morning salutation at your best mate after a night on the tiles.

Two men in suits greeting each other. One is saying "Buenos días".


For sure this is the best option if you’re feeling shaky on your Spanish feet and can’t conjure up any of the alternatives on this list in the heat of the moment.


Hola, buenos días

This is another extremely common response to ‘buenos días‘ and it’s pretty simple to boot.

All you need to do is whack an ‘hola‘ in front of ‘buenos días‘ and you’re good to go!

It literally means ‘Hello, good morning‘, which sounds a little odd in English, but I promise that it sounds as natural as anything in Spanish!

Buen día

Buen día‘ is an interesting one because it’s actually more common in Latin America than it is in Spain! In Mexico City I’d say that it’s just as common as ‘buenos días‘, but it’s hardly used at all in Madrid!

A man in stereotypical Mexican attire saying "Buen día".


It’s thought that the influence of the English ‘good day‘ (which, somewhat ironically, is rarely used in English anymore!) led to this phrase’s proliferation in Latin America.


Rupert’s pro tip –buen día‘ can also be used to say goodbye to someone. This is true in most Spanish-speaking countries, and you’ll often hear ‘qué tengas (un) buen día‘ or a simple ‘buen día‘ when leaving shops, etc.

Vendedor – ¡Muchas gracias! Que tengas muy buen día.

Cliente – ¡Igualmente!



Shop assistant – Thanks a lot! Have a lovely day.

Customer – You too!

Buenas

Buenas‘ is an abbreviation of ‘buenos días‘ and roughly translates to ‘morning‘.

This is another one that’s country-dependent. I remember when I lived in Barcelona, all but one of my many neighbors would respond to my ‘buenos días‘ with a simple (yet effective!) ‘buenas‘.

Here in Mexico, I’d hazard to say that it’s not as common, but I do still hear it from time to time!

Just watch out for the rather vulgar ‘albur‘ (Mexican double entendre!), ‘las tengas’, which I’ve also heard on occasion!

Jorge – ¡Buenos días!

Guillermo – ¡Buenas!



Jorge – Good morning!

Guillermo – Morning!


If you’re more visually inclined, we actually surveyed 100 Mexicans to find out how they’d respond to ‘buenos días‘ in various situations!

Rupert’s note – the answers NOT on this list are all Mexican WAYS TO SAY ‘WHAT’S UP’!

Infographic showing all the different ways to respond to "buenos días" in various different situations



Bonito día

Bonito día‘ literally translates to ‘beautiful day‘, and it’s a more “cutesy” response to ‘buenos días‘ and a nice alternative to ‘buen día‘.

A smiling woman saying "Bonito día"


Taxista – ¡Buenos días, señorita! ¿A dónde te llevo?

Erika – Bonito día, señor.



Taxi driver – Good Morning! Where to?

Erika – A lovely morning to you too!


Lindo día‘ can be used as an alternative to ‘bonito día‘, they’re synonyms and 100% interchangeable.

Both can also be used to say goodbye, too!

¡Qué tengas bonito / lindo día!

Have a lovely day!

Rupert’s pro tip – Erika (my Mexican wife) uses both of these all the time and, yeah, I’d say that they’re useful (and polite!) phrases to have in your armory.


Hola

You probably already know that ‘hola‘ means ‘hello‘, but did you know that it’s also an acceptable response to ‘buenos días‘ (and just about any other greeting)?

It’s a little more informal than ‘buenos días‘, to just about the same extent that ‘hi‘ or ‘hello‘ are more informal than ‘good morning‘.

If in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a simple ‘hola‘!



(Y a usted) igualmente

You can use this little gem of a word as you would ‘you too‘ in English.

It’s a perfectly acceptable response to ‘buenos días‘, even if not the most common!

Vecino 1 – ¡Buenos días, vecino!

Vecino 2 – ¡Igualmente!



Neighbor 1 – Good Morning, neighbor!

Neighbor 2 – Good morning to you too!

Two neighbors greeting each other over a fence. One man is saying "¡Buenos días, vecino!" and the other "¡Igualmente!"



You can also say ‘y a usted igualmente‘, which literally means ‘and to you too‘!

Vecino 1 – ¡Buenos días!

Vecino 2 – ¡Y a usted igualmente!


Rupert’s pro tip – in my opinion, ‘igualmente‘ is a SERIOUSLY useful tool to have in your Spanish artillery box! It can be used to respond to most common courtesies (‘gracias‘, ‘buenos días‘, ‘que tengas buen día‘, etc.), and it’s sure to make you sound more like a native!

Vendedor de churros – ¡Muchas gracias! ¡Qué tengas muy buen día!

Cliente – ¡Igualmente!



Churros seller – Thank you very much! Have a great day!

Customer – You too!

¿Cómo está?

Another great way to respond to ‘buenos días‘ is with a simple ‘como está‘, or ‘how are you‘!

‘¿Cómo está?’ is the politest way to ask someone how they are as IT’S IN THE MORE FORMAL ‘USTED’ FORM, which is basically a more respectful way of saying ‘‘ or ‘you‘!

A teacher saying "¡Buenos días!" and a student saying "¿Cómo está, Señor?"


Maestro – ¡Buenos días!

Alumno – ¿Cómo está, Señor?



Teacher – Good morning!

Student – How are you today, sir?

Expert tip – be aware that ‘usted‘ is more common in Latin America than it is in Spain (although the Spanish DO also use it in some situations)!


¿Hola, qué tal?

‘¿QUÉ TAL?’ IS AN EVER-SO-SLIGHTLY MORE INFORMAL WAY OF SAYING ‘HOW ARE YOU?’ (amongst other things!). It’s super common amongst friends and people who already know one another, and can even be used in more formal situations!

You can pair ‘que tal‘ with a simple ‘hola‘ to form a short, punchy response to ‘buenos días‘ (and many other greetings)!

Erika’s note – if you want to know HOW TO RESPOND TO ‘QUÉ TAL’ (you’ve gotta get those responses down!), be sure to check out our magnum opus on the subject!


10 ¡Qué onda!

This is by far the most informal response on this list!

‘QUÉ ONDA’ is actually Mexican slang and it’s the equivalent of the English ‘what’s up‘.

It should only be used to respond to ‘buenos días‘ if you know the person really well! It’s NOT to be used to greet your teacher, colleague, boss, etc.!

Erika wasn’t that keen for me to include ‘qué onda‘ on this list as ‘buenos días‘ is intrinsically formal and normally requires a formal / fairly formal response, but there are definitely some situations in which it could be used!

Juan Carlos – Buenos días, WEY.

Eduardo – ¡Qué onda!



Juan Carlos – Morning, dude!

Eduardo – What’s up!


Buenos días, mi amor

Here’s a bonus one for ‘ya!

This one means ‘good morning, darling‘ or something of the sort.

And if you’re on the receiving end?

Well, if a Spanish speaker is calling you ‘MI AMOR’, it generally means that you’re in a relationship (or, at the very least, that you’ve been on a few dates!).

As such, feel free to respond with anything on the above list, with the exception of ‘como está‘, which is WAYYY too formal for lovers (unless, perhaps, used in jest!)

A man and a woman in bed (they've just woken up). The man is saying "Buenos días, corazón" and the woman "Buenos días, mi amor"



Final tip!!!

I just wanted to write a quick note about ‘BUENAS días‘ as this is a mistake made by a lot of beginners!

Buenas días‘ is grammatically INCORRECT; it’s a common mistake made by learners of Spanish because it sounds similar to ‘buenos días‘ and the two are very easy to confuse (trust me, I know!).

This is because the adjective ‘buenos‘ has to agree in both gender and number with the noun ‘días‘.

Días‘ is both plural and masculine, so ‘buenOS‘ has to be both plural and masculine too!

You can thank me later 😉


Before you go …

Knowing how to reply to ‘buenos días‘ is an EXCELLENT start to your new life as a student of Spanish!

BUT you’re gonna need to know how to RESPOND TO ‘GRACIAS’, too! I’d say it’s just (if not more!) common.

See you on the flip side!

Rupert's lived in Mexico for nearly a decade and has been working as a Spanish teacher for even longer (over 10 years now, wow!). He specializes in simple (yet effective) explanations and is a veritable grammar-whizz.

And some cheeky vids ...

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