Here’s how to say “How are you?” in Italian on any occasion.
And how to answer to “How are you?” like a native!
“How Are You?” in Italian
Italian is a very versatile language, and there are many ways of asking a simple “how are you?” in Italian.
Different questions will definitely result in different answers.
If you go ahead and ask an Italian “come stai?”, meaning “how are you?”, you may not get that fulfilling and passionate answer you may be hoping for.
Well, maybe because there are about seven ways of asking “how are you?” in Italian, and you may lead the conversation in a certain direction from the first words.
Don’t worry about doing something wrong, but rather focus on improving, and learning more and more Italian words and phrases, until you actually master the language!
How to Say “How Are You?” in Italian
Asking “how are you?” in Italian it’s not just a greeting or a way to start or a conversation. You generally ask “come sta?” if you really care about the other person. So, if it’s the first time you meet a person you generally don’t ask “how are you?”.
“Come sta?” is the most common “how are you?” in Italian. You can safely use it in any situation. We say safely because you won’t offend anyone by using it.
However, it’s not the best Italian “how are you?” to use in informal situations. It’s hard to translate it literally. In Italian, the verb ‘stare’ means something in between to stay and to be.
This is the informal version of “how are you?.” Let’s say you are meeting your Italian friend that you haven’t seen for a very long time and you want to surprise him with some nice Italian questions so you can say, “come stai?”
“Come va?” literally means “how is it going” or “how it goes”. So, it uses the verb “to go” in Italian. You can use it for sure with friends, family members, and people you know well.
You can also use “Come va?” in a formal conversation if you know the other person well enough.
This literally means “all’s good?”. Italians sometimes remove words when they speak, to make everything faster and a little more fluent. You can use “tutto bene?” in any informal situation, as it’s considered very friendly in general.
Usually, people will respond with the same “tutto bene?” to this question, so it may not leave enough room for a conversation.
Come si sente?
“Come si sente?” means “how are you feeling?” and is formal.
When asking this question, people will usually tell you exactly how they feel, as they will see you’re willing to listen to them.
They may answer with “mi sento meglio” (I’m feeling better) or “non molto bene” (not really well).
Come ti senti?
This is the informal version for “how are you feeling?”, and it’s usually addressed to friends or family members. You’re simply referring to your friend, without making it formal in any way.
You use “Va meglio?” it when you know someone was sick or had a problem and want to know if they’re now doing better. It can be used in a formal or friendly situation
These are the most common forms of “how are you?” in Italian. Now, let’s take a look at how you can answer these questions, so you’re not caught off guard.
How to Answer to “How Are You?” in Italian
“Come stai?”, in Italian, as in many other languages, is more of a social question asked out of politeness or to start a conversation, than an actual question.
When someone is asking “how are you?” in Italian, you can gauge the level of confidentiality, comfort, and trust that exists between two people by how they each respond to this question and what they are willing to share with the other.
While in English “how are you?” is often used as a form of greeting, without meaning it literally and, therefore, without requiring an answer.
In Italian, if you are asking how someone is doing, you have to wait until you get an answer, or you will be considered impolite and uncaring. If you do not understand them, try smiling and nodding along!
If you are asked “come stai?” or “come va?” and you are fine, then the best way to answer is “bene”. If you feel extremely good, you can also say “molto bene.”
This means “bad,” so expect the other person to ask you what happened that made you feel this bad.
Non c’è male
In case you feel that is not going particularly good but it’s not bad either, you should say “non c’è male”. This has the same meaning as “not very bad” in English.
If you are alright, you can just say “tutto bene”, meaning “all’s good.”
“Alla grande” means that “everything is great” and if that’s the case, then it’s the best answer.
This is a good answer for when you’re feeling “dreamy” or “fairy-tale like”, and everything is going really well.
“Così-così” literally means “so and so”. So you’ve had a normal day, not great, but not bad.
Me la cavo
The verb cavo comes from the verb cavare, which means “to extract” (like a tooth, or information), or “to get”.
More precisely, in this case, the whole expression comes from cavarsela. Cavarsela means “to get by” or “to manage”.
This is a good answer for when it could go better.
Un po’ stanco, ma tutto bene
Or “a little tired, but all’s good”, which is a situation everyone can relate to from time to time.
Ho avuto giorni peggiori
This means “I had worse days,” and of course, you can use it as an answer when someone asks you “how are you?” in Italian.
Non lo so
For when you have a moment when you really don’t know what to say. It means “I don’t know” and it’s something everyone goes through from time to time.
Non me lo chiedere
Or “don’t ask me about it.” It’s ok to not want to talk about something, and this is the right answer for it.
Come al solito
“Come al solito” means “as usual” or “nothing new”. Life goes on as usual, and the conversation won’t get too far.
Mai stato meglio
This means “I’ve never been better” and it’s the perfect answer to any “how are you?” in Italian.
Non posso lamentarmi
When you can’t complain about your day, simply answer with “non posso lamentarmi”.
It will give the perfect clue of how your day is going. It’s a fair answer to any “how are you?” in Italian.
Why Learn to Say “How Are You?” In Italian?
However, there are quite a few reasons to learn to speak Italian, but starting with the greetings and learning to say “how are you?” in Italian is only the beginning.
Discover Italy’s History
The first reason, of course, is its country of origin: Italy is one of the most beautiful and historically rich countries in the world, it is the country with the most UNESCO world heritage sites in the world!
People dream about traveling to cities like Florence, Rome, and Venice, and their fame is indeed well deserved. Italy, in general, is an extremely varied country.
It has an incredible history, and it’s filled with amazing stories from North to South. Whether we’re talking about the seaside resorts or the extraordinary mountain landscapes you can find stunning surprises just a few kilometers away from each other.
But we think that there is only one, true way to get into the atmosphere of those incredible cities and towns, and it is by speaking a bit of the local language, to be able to communicate with the locals and immerse yourself in the places that they know and love.
It seems obvious, but Italian is the main, effective means to discover the beauty of Italy, still a traditional and mysterious country.
Experience Italian Entertainment
The first two big reasons for learning Italian have something to do with the culture of the people using the language. They both have something to do with living “the good life” or “La Dolce Vita.”
And speaking of films, there’s a host of films from the likes of Italian directors, like Fellini, Antonioni, and Visconti—whose visual aesthetics have influenced Italian cinema today. The unique stories they tell can only be fully appreciated in the Italian language.
You don’t even have to go back hundreds of years for this one, you can appreciate modern Italian music with Pavarotti or Bocelli, or for more pop fare, you can go with Pausini or Mengoni.
Taken together—movies, music, place, and food—you might just be tempted to learn Italian. But talking of temptations, this next one might just push you over the edge.
Learn A New Language
Sure, Italian may sound different when you hear someone talking. The accents are different, the culture is different, and the people are also different. But the language itself is much similar than you think.
If you happen to know Spanish, French, English, or Portuguese, you’ll find a ton of similarities to Italian. They share many of the same, if not similar vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structures.
The sound of the language really helps words to stay in your head and the fact that it has stayed closer to Latin than other languages means that a lot of words are similar, or have the same roots as in other languages.
So while you may not be able to speak it immediately, you should be able to understand at least some of what an Italian is talking to you about!
Everything can start with a simple “how are you?” in Italian!
Boost Your Career
An additional language will look good on your resume and increase your premium as a worker. If you were a business owner and looking at two resumes, you’ll probably naturally gravitate towards the bilingual candidate, even if the job doesn’t involve speaking in a foreign language.
There’s also that halo effect where the person who speaks an extra language seems more traveled, more experienced, and more in-tune with the world.
In a survey by the National Foreign Language Center of 2100 HR departments, a whopping 93% of employers admitted looking with favor on those who speak another language.
According to the study, companies value “employees who are able to work eﬀectively with customers, clients, and businesses from a range of diﬀerent countries and cultures.”
Make New Friends
They say Italians are some of the most wonderful people in the world. They’re kind, funny and friendly. Sometimes it’s hard for that to shine through if you’re having trouble understanding each other.
Learning the language gives you the ability to create and nurture relationships with native speakers. Talking of life-changing, your life will change when you gain one as a close friend or as a life partner. But you couldn’t even begin to do that if you don’t learn the language.
There’s no better shortcut to making a great first impression or taking an existing relationship to the next level than communicating with someone in their native language.
Now you know why you should learn Italian, but let’s move on and see how to say “how are you?” in Italian.
Go Ask “How Are You?” to Someone
Now that you know how to say a basic “how are you?” in Italian, you can go and ask an Italian friend how they’re feeling.
Actually, you can ask many friends since now you know many different ways of asking “how are you?” in Italian.
Starting from this, you will be able to start learning more and more phrases in order to master the language and be ready for everything.
Italian is not a hard language, and anyone can go ahead and learn it with enough perseverance and passion.
When it comes down to it, no matter your motivations, learning a new language is always about communication. And gaining access to new places and things through the people you can communicate with is an awesome bonus.
There is no better way to honor a culture than by learning its language, and it starts as simple as saying “how are you?” in Italian!
How to Learn Italian?
You’ll need confidence and motivation to learn Italian.
If you are lacking in motivation and confidence, then you’ll need to spend some time looking to improve in this area.
In addition, you will need good learning habits and spend time with Italian material that interests you.
Most of all, regular Italian practice is essential in order to learn Italian. Everything you wish for can be achieved!
You can also go ahead and check my guide to learn Italian fast, and you will know exactly what and how to do!
All this being said, all there’s left to do now is to start practicing and you will soon become an expert on how to say “how are you?” in Italian.
You will soon be ready to start having a conversation with a native speaker!