11 Responses to “Cómo estás” that will make you sound like a native speaker

When it comes to answering the question “¿Cómo estás?”, your Spanish book typically only offers you a limited number of responses:

Estoy bien
I’m fine

Estoy mal
I’m not well

Those responses are pretty boring, right?   I’m going to share some simple but very common ways to respond to “cómo estás” with you.

Enough chit-chat, let’s get to it.

Use these when you’re feeling awesome

Todo bien

This translates to something along the lines of “everything is fine” or “it’s all good”.  By the way, if you turn this into a question, you’re asking someone if everything is ok.

No me puedo quejar

This is the literal translation of “I can’t complain”. You use it exactly as you would in English. You could also say:

No puedo quejarme

Use these when you feel like things are just going okay or could be a little better

Bien, aquí nomás

This is a very casual expression and translates to something like “I’m doing alright” or “I’m getting by”. You’re not doing great, but you’re not doing bad either. Basically your fine, but things could be better.

By the way, the “bien” is optional, and you could even replace it with “pues”.

Estoy más o menos
I’m ok

Bien, en lo que cabe
Fine, all things considered.

This answer basically means you’ve got somethings going on that you’re dealing with, but overall you’re doing ok.   It may spark a few detailed questions about what’s going on in your life.

Use these when you’re messaging or talking with someone who is not face-to-face with you

Todo bien por acá – I primarily use this one when I’m chatting with someone via text or on the phone. It would sound really weird to say this face-to-face.

Todo bien por estos lados
This is just a variation of the “Todo bien por acá”. You use it in the same fashion.

Use these when you want to be funny

Como trailero sin tráfico
Like a truck driver without traffic

Como caracol en patinas
Like a snail on roller skates

Okay, these probably don’t qualify as common responses, but they’ll likely get a laugh from your Spanish amigos.

Other things you can say

Con [algo]

Ok, let me explain. The “algo” is replaced by an appropriate word of your choice.

Here are a couple of examples:

Con hambre! No he comido todo el día.
Hungry! I haven’t eaten all day.

Con sueño. No dormí bien anoche.
Sleepy. I didn’t sleep well last night.

Here are a few examples that are perfect if you’re talking to that special someone in your life.

Con ganas de verte.
Wanting to see you.


Missing you.

Wrapping things up

And that’s it.  You can start using these responses immediately to sound more like a native speaker and less like a textbook.

The truth is, there are myriad of ways you can respond to this question, but today you learned  some very common replies that make your Spanish sound a lot more natural and get you one step closer to being confused for a native speaker.

By the way, if you’re new to Spanish you may want to check out my podcast,  11 uses of the verb Estar.   Even if you’re not entirely new to Spanish, you may still learn something new, like how to tell someone they are super hot using the verb estar.

That’s it for today, espero que les sirva.


Comments 5

  1. Rodney, I always find your Spanish language posts very useful, but for some reason the font color on this page comes out gray, which is very difficult for my old eyes to read. Maybe it’s my browser. If not, perhaps you could use a black font. Saludos

    1. Chris,

      Thanks for reading and the encouraging words. I also appreciate you letting me know how the text looks on the page.

      Every browser does handle some colors differently than others, but I think an adjustment to my font colors is probably in order.


  2. I don’t speak much Spanish(muy poco) but a Spanish guy at work sometimes replies “bien wa ching” in response to “Como estas”. What does “bien wa ching” mean? I know what bein means and I probably didn’t spell wa ching right but that’s what it sounds like.

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