Introducing yourself in Spanish using 'me llamo' and 'tengo'

Greetings

It is polite to greet people when you see them for the first time that day, using these phrases:

  • ¡Hola, buenos días! - Hello, good morning!

or

  • Buenas tardes, ¿cómo estás? - Good afternoon, how are you?

When you want to say 'goodbye' to someone, you can say:

  • ¡Adiós! - Goodbye!

or

  • Buenas noches, hasta mañana - Good night, see you tomorrow.
¡Hola, buenos días!

In English, we normally use ‘good afternoon’ after midday, but in Spanish you would not start to use buenas tardes until after lunch, which is typically any time after 13:00.

You use buenas noches as ‘good evening’ when it is dark.

You can also use buenas noches as ‘good night’ when you go to sleep.

Here are some words you can use. Can you create a dialogue to greet someone?

SpanishEnglish
holahello
adiósgoodbye
buenos díasgood morning
buenas tardesgood afternoon
buenas nochesgood evening/good night
hasta luegosee you later
hasta mañanasee you tomorrow

Asking how someone is

To ask someone how they are, you can say either of the following:

  • ¿Cómo estás? - How are you?

or

  • ¿Qué tal? - How are you?

And reply by saying estoy (I am) followed by an adjective to describe how you are feeling.

For example:

  • Estoy bien, gracias. ¿Y tú? - I am well, thank you, and you?

Adjectives are words used to describe people, places or things.

Here are some useful words and phrases to talk about how you are feeling.

SpanishEnglish
¿Cómo estás?/¿Qué tal?How are you?
Estoy bienI am well
Estoy muy bienI am very well
Estoy malI am not good/I am bad
Estoy muy malI am very bad
Estoy así así/regularI am so-so
¿Y tú?And you?
¿Cómo estás?

Saying your name

You can ask someone their name by saying:

  • ¿Cómo te llamas? - What is your name?

And reply with:

  • Me llamo… - I am called...

Listen to this conversation.

Can you adapt it to talk about yourself?

Check your understanding by looking in the Audio Transcript box.

You can also ask what someone else is called by using ¿Cómo se llama? - What is his/her name?

For example:

  • ¿Cómo se llama tu hermana? - What is your sister called?

  • Mi hermana se llama Mariam - My sister is called Mariam.

Listen to this conversation.

Can you adapt it to talk about yourself?

Check your understanding by looking in the Audio Transcript box.

Here are some useful questions and verbs to ask and answer about your or different people’s names.

SpanishEnglish
¿Cómo te llamas?What is your name?
¿Cómo se llama tu hermano?What is your brother's name?
Me llamoI am called
Te llamasYou are called
Se llamaHe/She/It is called

Asking ages

You can ask someone’s age by asking:

  • ¿Cuántos años tienes? - How old are you?

and replying with tengo (number) años.

For example:

  • Tengo trece años – I am thirteen years old.

Note that in Spanish, you use the verb tener (to have), so when translated literally you say how many years you have.

Listen to this conversation.

Can you adapt it to talk about yourself?

Check your understanding by looking in the Audio Transcript box.

Talking about where you live

You can ask someone where they live by asking:

  • ¿Dónde vives? - Where do you live?

and reply with:

  • Vivo en (I live in) followed by a country, town or city.

For example:

  • ¿Dónde vives? - Where do you live?

  • Vivo en Blackpool en Inglaterra - I live in Blackpool in England.

Listen to this conversation.

Can you adapt it to talk about yourself?

Check your understanding by looking in the Audio Transcript box.

Use this table to see how to say different countries or cities.

Most cities are exactly the same in Spanish, except for London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

SpanishEnglish
¿Dónde vives?Where do you live?
Vivo en…I live in…
InglaterraEngland
EscociaScotland
GalesWales
Irlanda del NorteNorthern Ireland
IrlandaIreland
EspañaSpain
LondresLondon
MánchesterManchester
Edimburgo Edinburgh

Talking about your nationality

You can find out somebody’s nationality by asking:

  • ¿Cuál es tu nacionalidad? - What is your nationality?

You can reply with soy (I am) followed by an adjective.

Adjectives of nationality need to agree with the person whose nationality is being described.

For example:

  • ¿Cuál es tu nacionalidad? - What is your nationality?

  • Soy alemán - I am German (male).

  • ¿Cuál es tu nacionalidad? - What is your nationality?

  • Soy rumana - I am Romanian (female).

  • ¿Cuál es tu nacionalidad? - What is your nationality?

  • Soy mitad escocesa y mitad polaca - I am half Scottish and half Polish (female).

Remember that you don't need a capital letter with nationality in Spanish.

Look at the table below to see more examples of other nationalities.

Think about the masculine version and the feminine version of the adjective.

Remember, you must drop the accent in the feminine versions of the adjectives, for example inglés and inglesa, or escocés and escocesa.

SpanishEnglish
¿Cuál es tu nacionalidad?What nationality are you?
Soy…I am…
inglés/inglesaEnglish
escocés/escocesaScottish
irlandés/irlandesaIrish
galés/galesaWelsh

Have a look at this downloadable vocabulary list to see more useful words you can use to talk about age and nationality

Extra vocabulary - ages and nationalities
document

Saying please and thank you

It is always nice to use your manners when speaking in Spanish, by saying por favor (please), gracias (thank you) and de nada (you're welcome).

Listen to the audio to hear how to pronounce these words.

Quiz

Find out how much you know about introductions in Spanish in this short quiz!

Where next?

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