The 23rd Word of the Month is: GREETINGS

This word originally appeared in our Spanish word of the month by email

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Introduction

You will notice that many greetings in Spanish and English have no literal meaning, greetings often contain questions which are not meant to be answered.

An interesting point is that in English we always use "Dear" to start a letter even if we are writing to our worst enemy, this would never happen in Spanish.



Spanish
English
Saying hello and goodbye
Hola. Hello. / Hi.
Buenos días. Good morning.
Buenas tardes. Good afternoon. / Good evening.
Buenas noches. Goodnight.
Adiós. Bye. / Goodbye.
Hasta luego See you later.
Note: In England this is taken literally. If someone says "hasta luego" in Spanish they may not mean it literally.
Hasta pronto. See you soon
Hasta ahora. See you in a minute.
Hasta mañana. See you tomorrow.
Hasta lunes. See you on Monday.
¿Cómo estás? / ¿Qué tal?
How are you?
Bien. / Muy bien. Fine.
¿qué hay? What's up / what's new.

For many years I considered this as a very silly greeting becuase it means "what is there?" It made more sense when someone told me that it comes from ¿qué hay de nuevo? meaning "what's new?"
¿Qué pasa? How's things? / How's it going?
This is commonly used in Spain as a greeting.
This had me extremely confused when I first came to Spain as I thought it meant "What's the matter?" Although in other contexts it can mean this, it is really only a friendly greeting and doesn't need a reply. It is best to respond with something vague like "Bien."

INTRODUCTIONS
(meeting someone for the first time)

Mucho gusto. Nice to meet you (often said while shaking hands and as an alternative to saying "encantado" if the other person says it first)

Encantado. / Encantado de conocerle.

A possible introduction might be:
A: Encantado de conocerle.
B: Igualmente.

How do you do. / Pleased to meet you.
no creo tener el gusto de conocerlo I don’t think we’ve been introduced
presentarle a Pablo a Juan to introduce Pablo to Juan
Note that in this context we don't say "introducir"
conocer meet
Note: the translation of "meet" is complicated in all the different situations and probably deserves a word of the month to itself.
KISSING
Although I can't speak about South America, in Spain, it is very common to kiss people when you meet them. This is a kiss on both cheeks. Men shake hands. People don't always kiss each other, for example in a business context. As an uneffusive Englishman I don't really understand when you should kiss someone and I only kiss people when they go to kiss me, I hope nobody thinks I'm unfriendly.
FORMAL LETTERS

Estimado señor / Estimado Sr. León: (formal)
Estimada señora / Estimada Sra. León: (formal)
Estimada Srta. León: (formal)
Estimados señores: (formal)

Distinguido señor, etc. (more formal)
Muy señor mío/señores míos: (more formal)

NOTE: colon (instead of comma) after name

Dear Sir / Dear Mr. León,
Dear Madam / Dear Mrs. León,
Dear Miss. León,
Dear Sirs,

Dear Sir,
Dear Sir/Sirs,

Le/Les saludo atentamente,
Atentamente/Muy atentamente,
Atentos saludos de
Yours faithfully/sincerely,
Reciba un cordial saludo de This can be used to end a letter once a relationship has been established
En espera de su respuesta, le/les saludo atentamente I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours faithfully,
LESS FORMAL LETTERS
Estimado Pedro:
Estimada Sra. León:
Dear Pedro,
Dear Mrs. León,
Un cordial saludo,
Reciba un cordial saludo de
Yours truly,
INFORMAL LETTERS
Querido Paco: Dear Paco,
Un abrazo de
Un fuerte abrazo,
Un cariñoso saludo
Love

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