If you would like to engage with locals while staying in Italy, one of the phrases you should know is how to say how are you in Italian.
How do you say how Are You in Italian?
Come stai? is the most common expression to ask someone how he or she is. Come va? or Come butta? are colloquial questions that use different verbs, while Come sta? could help you sound more formal in some specific contexts. Depending on which direction you want to lead the conversation to, there are at least ten other ways to be polite and make Italians open up about their day, thoughts and feelings. Some of them are formal, but many more fit into informal contexts.
I listed here 13 common ways to ask how are you in Italian for you.
Let’s see them!
13 Common Ways To Ask How Are You In Italian
Here below is a list of the most popular ways of saying how are you in Italian.
Let’s found out together each of them in detail:
And if you want also to improve your Italian Vocabulary finding all synonyms, check out these useful books:
1. Informal way to say How Are You In Italian – Come Stai?
You should not consider asking how are you? in Italian as just a greeting start. You generally ask it if you really care about someone. So, Italian people don’t tend to ask it when they meet somebody for the very first time.
Let’s say you’re about to see one of your Italian friends you haven’t met for a while. You can definitely say come stai? and surprise him/her with a nice Italian question. Come stai? is used when informally addressing someone you’re usually on first-name terms with.
Ciao Lucia, come stai? E il lavoro come va?
Hi Lucy, how are you? And how’s work going?
Marco, come stai? – Sto bene, grazie!
How are you, Mark? – I’m fine, thanks!
Unlike the English language that prefers the verb to be, Italians choose stare which means to stay or also to be. Learn here the right conjugation of the verb stare and so change the verb according to the number of people you’re referring to.
Ciao ragazzi, come state?
Hey guys, how are you?
Come stanno i tuoi bambini?
How are your children?
2. formal way to say How Are You In Italian – Come Sta?
Predictably, the formal equivalent of the previous one is come sta? You would use it with people you don’t know very well or someone older than you in a form of respect. In this case, sta is the third person singular in the stare conjugation. Because of its formal asset, you can ask someone come sta? in any circumstances.
However, it’s never heard between relatives or friends. I recommend saving it for contexts where you’re talking to your boss or to the shop assistant at the store. Be always polite using this version always in an accurate situation!
Buongiorno dottore, come sta?
Good morning doctor, how are you?
More Ways to Say How Are You In Italian
3. Come va?
This expression literally means how are you doing?. It’s not a formal way of asking how are you in Italian. You wouldn’t use it with a client or somebody you don’t know. But you can say come va? with friends, relatives and acquaintances. You can practice here the conjugation of the verb andare to get the right tense, as you would also hear come andiamo? used to ask a more generic question with the same meaning.
Besides, this is the most used phrase in texts or Telegram messages. As it’s a kind of impersonal question, you could hear it also in formal contexts especially if you know the person very well.
Ciao papà, come va?
Hi dad, how are you / how are you doing?
Buonasera Giorgio, come va?
Good evening George, how are you / how are you doing?
4. Come va la vita? / Come vanno le cose?
As we have seen, Italian people are usually very polite. Therefore, I can be honest in saying that asking how are you to someone isn’t always authentic. Maybe because you met your friend the day before or you’re not really expecting your greengrocer to start a speech about his health. Most of the time you already know that they are fine, so your question aims just at kicking off the conversation.
For that reason, you could say come va la vita? or come ti vanno le cose? These expressions signal that you are concerned for real about somebody and ready to listen to him or her. They also translate as how’s life? or how is it going / how are things going?.
Both are considered colloquial and used in social contexts, such as when you’re with your friends. Your family members might be asking come vanno le cose? when they want to know how your life is going lately, if you’re happy with it or not.
Ciao cara, come vanno le cose?
Hi dear, how are you / how are things going?
Ciao Carlo, è un sacco che non ci vediamo! Come va la vita?
Hey Carl, it’s been a long time! How are you / how’s life?
5. Tutto bene? / Tutto okay? / Tutto a posto?
If you’re looking for a short version of how to say how are you in Italian, here are three alternatives that all have the same meaning. You can translate them as everything good? – or in a longer variation, is everything good? That’s because sometimes Italian people tend to remove words and letters when they speak. It’s a way to make things more fluent while speaking.
These expressions are considered very friendly, but also not that serious. Just conventional manners that don’t bring any deep answer to them. They’re kind of rhetoric as well.
So, when someone’s asked you tutto bene?, you can just repeat the same words saying literally that everything is good, or okay.
Tutto a posto, Roberto? Non ci vediamo da secoli!
Is everything good, Robert? Haven’t seen you in ages!
E’ stata una bella caduta! Tutto bene, Mary? – Tutto bene!
It was quite a fall! Everything okay, Mary? – Everything okay!
Tutto okay poi con la questione del pignoramento?
Is everything good with the foreclosure thing?
This is a generic expression to ask about people’s life. It literally means what is it like?, but you can translate it with a non-specific how does it go?.
Thus, it’s not the one way you would use with your boss or people that are just barely acquaintances. It is okay with a friend or someone from your family, but also in this case the question is way too blanket and common to be really effective. You can’t expect a complete answer.
Ciao ma’.. com’è?
Hey ma… how are you / how does it go?
7. Come ti senti? / Come si sente?
You may have heard of it. Italians nearly always have a formal variant for almost every expression. Understanding when it is okay to be casual and when you should better pull yourself together is not that easy. This guide will help you, but I can do more explaining the difference between these two versions.
Come si sente? literally means how are you feeling? and it’s the formal one for come ti senti? Of course, the meaning is the same, but you want to use the latter when talking to a friend. To be clearer, a doctor would surely ask you come si sente? to keep a professional tone.
And here we come to the context. You ask these questions when you know someone’s been sick or had some kind of problem recently. It’s a handful way to make you know if someone’s doing better now.
Moreover, people will normally open up about how they feel as they will sense you’re willing to listen to their answer more carefully than usual.
Salve signor Bianchi, come si sente?
Hello Mr. White, how are you / how are you feeling?
Ho saputo che hai rotto con Rebecca. Come ti senti?
I heard you broke up with Rebecca. How are you / how are you feeling?
8. Va meglio?
Basically the same meaning as the previous one. You ask va meglio? when you want to strengthen the meaning of how are you in Italian.
The possible alternative translations could be how’s that? or any better now?. They are used in both formal and friendly situations. If your brother’s been experiencing a blue Monday that still lasts today, you would surely inquire about it.
Come stai? Il piede va meglio?
How are you? Is your foot any better?
9. Che si dice? / Che mi racconti?
I can say that these ones drift somewhat from the classic formulation of how are you. However, the general meaning still remains the same and expresses in fact a genuine interest in news or updates about someone’s last days recently.
When people ask you che si dice? or che mi racconti?, they want to know about what’s going on in your life. So, you shouldn’t answer just with a simple good or bad. Give them what they want and try to start a conversation using your Italian skills.
Now, for the perfect English correspondence. I bet every one of you is familiar with the classic what’s up?. If the song by 4 Non Blondes doesn’t immediately ring out in your mind, you should definitely give it a look here and learn the translation to practice your Italian!
Ciao ragazze, come state? Che si dice?
Hello girls, how are you? What’s up?
E’ una vita che non ci sentiamo! Che mi racconti?
Long time no speak! What’s up?
10. Che succede?
If the answer to the general how are you in Italian has been negative, you might hear someone asking you what’s wrong? or what’s happening?. This expression usually already indicates that things are not going very well and the person you’re talking to is probably upset about something.
Then, it becomes clear that it’s an expression of deep worry. It is often used in combination with qualcosa non va? to emphasize the concern. Is something wrong with my explanation?
Che faccia! Che succede?
What a long face! What’s happening?
Ti vedo giù di morale. Come stai? Qualcosa non va?
I see you’re in a bad mood. How are you? Is everything wrong?
11. Come te la passi?
Now I want to enter the world of the Italian informal speech. You wonder what this question exactly means, and I’m here to tell you.
Come te la passi? could be translated with how have you been?. It focuses on you and how you’re living your life. Friends and relatives that ask you come te la passi? want to know everything about your physical health, your last love interest that’s maybe ended already or your feelings about the recent job you got.
The only thing you must remember is to avoid it when speaking with a senior at your workplace or in general, with someone you don’t know.
Oh, Pietro, come te la passi?
Hey Peter, how are you / how have you been?
12. Come butta?
Perhaps the most colloquial and personal expression to say how are you in Italian. Literally, butta is the third person singular of the verb buttare (to throw). The meaning is very similar to come vanno le cose?, but it’s often used between longtime friends.
Should I be more precise with the translation? It is really close to what’s been happening lately? or how’s it going?.
Unlike come te la passi?, this one concentrates more specifically on life’s external factors that could influence your mood at the time you’re asked the question.
Not only is it by far considered a slang approach, but also it implies a close relationship with the people you’re talking to. Furthermore, there is a simple question like allora? which can urge the other person to tell you about how he or she is avoiding a more direct question.
Allora? Come butta, raga?
So? How are you / How’s it going, folks?
13. Come stai oggi?
Last in the list, the slight difference of meaning between English and Italian. We don’t really have an equivalent to the well-known how are you today?. You can ask people the general mood of the day simply by the most common come stai?
Despite this, you might translate it literally as come stai oggi? which is a question used almost only referring to someone’s health. For instance, if your sister has been sick for a few days, you can ask her how she’s feeling today with come stai oggi?
Ehi Rosa, come stai oggi? Passato il raffreddore?
Hey Rose, how are you today / how are you feeling today? Got over the cold?
How To Answer To How Are You In Italian
There could be many possible answers to get and give when someone asks you how are you? in Italian or when you’re asked it.
Certainly, it depends on the mood. Then it’s impossible to indicate just one answer, but I can definitely say that the most used and heard is sto bene or tutto bene. Even when you’re not fine at all.
This is a very general response you can get all over the country from every kind of person. It basically means very good, that you can repeat here. I’m sure it still remains the best way to fuel any conversation with politeness. Gauge the level of comfort between you and Italian people by asking how they are and see what they’re willing to share with you.
So, don’t be rude! Step beyond simple greetings and wait until you get an answer!