6 Useful Ways to Respond to ‘Todo bien’

If you’re learning Spanish, you’ve probably already come across both ‘¿cómo estás?’ and the more casual ‘¿qué tal?’ (both of which mean ‘how are you?’ in English).

However, when chatting with native speakers, you may also find yourself on the receiving end of a ‘¿todo bien?’!

I know, I know … that really threw a spanner in the works!

But worry not as I’m going to let you in on 6 different ways to reply when faced with a ‘¿todo bien?’.

Let’s dive right in!


KEY TAKEAWAYS


You can reply to ‘¿todo bien?’ in the following ways –

1. Todo bien, gracias, ¿y tú? = Everything’s fine, thanks, and you?

2. Sí, gracias, ¿y tú? = Yes, thanks, and you?

3. Sí, ¿por? = Yeah, why?


If you sense the question is an inquiry as to your wellbeing rather than a mere greeting, feel free to elaborate further and tell your interlocuter exactly how you’re feeling –

Más o menos. Estoy teniendo problemas para dormir. = I’m ok. I’m having trouble sleeping.



Todo bien’ in English

Let’s quickly break this phrase down:

‘Todo’ translates to ‘all’ or ‘everything’, and ‘bien’ means ‘good’ or ‘fine’.

So, as an affirmative response, ‘todo bien’ means ‘all good’, ‘everything’s okay’ or ‘all right’

Mamá – ¿Cómo va tu proyecto de ciencias?

Hija – ¡Todo bien!



Mom – How’s your science project going?

Daughter – All good!


When accompanied by question marks, ‘¿todo bien?’ is akin to asking, ‘Is everything okay?’.

However, it’s ALSO a very common greeting, the likes of ‘what’s up?’.

En la oficina

Sasha – ¿Todo bien, Moi?

Moisés – Todo en orden.



At the office

Sasha – How are you doing, Moi?

Moisés – All ok.


You can also add a preposition + noun combo after ‘todo bien’ if you’d like to be even more specific –

¿Todo bien en casa?

Everything okay at home?



¿Todo bien con tu esposa?

Is everything ok with your wife?

All gravy? Good! Let’s get into how to respond!




Todo bien, gracias, ¿y tú? – Everything’s fine, thanks, and you?

The simplest way to respond to ‘todo bien’ is with a … (yeah, you guessed it!) ‘todo bien’.

Be aware that, just as in English, it’s polite to say thanks AND return the question, even if you’re literally just greeting someone.

José – ¿Todo bien, vecina?

Alma – Todo bien, gracias, ¿y tú?

José – Todo tranquilo.



José – How’s it going, neighbor?

Alma – Everything’s fine, thanks, what about you?

José – All good.

Sí, gracias, ¿y tú? – Yeah, thanks, and you?

You can also answer with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘sí’ in Spanish!

¡Martha, qué gusto verte! ¿Todo bien?

Sí, gracias, Lola, ¿y tú? ¿Cómo están tus papás?



Martha, good to see you! Everything okay?

Yeah, thank you, Lola, and you? How are your parents?

Sí, ¿por? – Yeah, why?

If you’re hurt or look a bit flustered, you’re likely to be asked ‘¿todo bien?’.

It’s normally a genuine enquiry as to your wellbeing … but then there are those rare occasions when it can sound a bit sarcastic.

When this happens, native Spanish speakers are inclined to respond with a ‘Sí, ¿por?’ (‘Yeah, why?’ in English).

Keep in mind that you may come across as a bit defensive when using this one!

Un chico tiene problemas cambiando una llanta

Óscar – ¿Todo bien ahí?

Julián – Sí. ¿Por?

Óscar – Nada más decía; te oigo que estás batallando…



A guy has trouble changing a tire

Oscar – Everything okay down there?

Julian – Yes. Why?

Oscar – Just asking … I can hear you struggling …

Todo en orden / Todo tranquilo – Everything’s fine

‘Todo en orden’ literally translates as ‘everything in order’, and ‘todo tranquilo’ means ‘all quiet’ or ‘everything calm’.

On (very!) rare occasions, you may hear these phrases being used in a literal sense, but as a response to ‘¿todo bien?’, they’re a bit like saying, ‘everything’s fine’ or ‘it’s all going smoothly’.

El equipo de logística conversa vía walkie-talkies durante un concierto

Lalo – ¿Todo bien, backstage?

Mónica – Todo en orden. Tenemos cambio de vestuario en cinco minutos.



The logistics staff talks via walkie-talkies during a concert

Lalo – Everything okay backstage?

Monica – Everything’s fine. We have a wardrobe change in five minutes.


If you happen to be in Mexico, you may also hear ‘todo tranqui’, a shortened version of ‘todo tranquilo’

En una conversación de WhatsApp

Madre – ¿Todo bien en la fiesta?

Hija – Todo tranqui, Má.



In a WhatsApp conversation

Mother – Everything okay at the party?

Daughter – All good, Mom.

Más o menos / Maso – So-so / Not too bad

Of course, life isn’t always a walk in the park and, well, sometimes we just wanna give a little more information about how we´re feeling (especially when down in the dumps!).

With that in mind, ‘más o menos’ is a pretty standard response that says a lot about our current mood.

This one literally translates to ‘more or less’, but in this context it’s more akin to ‘so-so’ or ‘I’m doing ok (I suppose)’.

Either way, you’re probably not doing great …

Bernardo – ¿Todo bien, mija*?

Jessica – Más o menos…Liliana no responde mis mensajes y no sé por qué.



Bernardo – Everything okay, sweetheart?

Jessica – So-so … Liliana isn’t answering my messages and I don’t know why.

*Erika’s note – mija’ (and mijo) is an extremely common term of endearment in Mexico. It’s basically an abbreviation of ‘mi hija’ (or ‘my daughter’ in English), and it’s very popular amongst friends and family!


Talking of abbreviations, Mexicans tend to keep it short and sweet, so don’t be surprised if you get ‘maso’ – short for ‘más o menos’ – as a response as well –

¿Todo bien en la escuela, Alejandra?

Maso, tía. Mis compañeros me caen medio mal.



Everything okay at school, Alejandra?

Not too bad, Auntie. Although I don’t really like my classmates.

No realmente – Not really

Finally, if you’re not feeling tip top and want to be honest, just answer with a sincere ‘no realmente’ or ‘not really’ in English.

¡Qué onda, amiga! Tiempo sin verte, ¿todo bien contigo?

Hola, querida. No realmente. Mi papá está en el hospital.



What’s up, girl! Long time no see, everything okay with you?

Hey, lovely. Not really. My dad’s in the hospital.


Final thoughts

So now you have all bases covered in case someone asks you an amicable – or even not-so-amicable – ‘¿todo bien?’ in Spanish!

Being able to express similar ideas using different phrases and expressions is a definite game-changer when it comes to learning and speaking a new language. So don’t be shy and make sure to practice a couple of these responses the next time you meet up with your Spanish-speaking buddies.

Oh, and if you wanna level up your conversational skills even more, check out our article on all the ways to respond to ‘¿cómo eres?’ in Spanish!

¡Hasta pronto!

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.

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