Blog » Learn Italian » Italian Vocabulary » 10+ Common Ways to Say “How Are You” in Italian to Sound Like a Native Speaker

10+ Common Ways to Say “How Are You” in Italian to Sound Like a Native Speaker

Italians are all about small talk. Just like in English, we kick off conversations by asking how are you in Italian, before diving into other typical questions like how’s it going at work/school? If you’re looking to make some new pals in Rome or Venice, it’s key to know how to say this phrase in Italian!

In this article, we will see the different ways of asking how someone is feeling in different contexts. You will also learn some ways to respond to how are you in Italian. Let’s get started!

Most common ways to ask how are you in Italian

Come stai?

(COH-meh sty)

Come stai? is by far the most common translation of how are you in Italian.

It literally translates to “how do you stay?”, from the verb stare, “to stay”.

Read more on the “stare” conjugation in Italian here.

You use come stai? when you are talking to someone you know well, such as a friend, family member, co-worker, or shopkeeper. You can also use it with children, but you will get strange looks if you ask an elderly person or a stranger.

This is because come stai? is informal and uses the informal pronoun tu (you).

For example:

  • Ciao, Martina! Da quanto tempo! Come stai?
    Hi, Martina! It’s been a long time! How are you?

However, if you address a stranger with tu, you run the risk of being considered rude. So let’s look at the polite version.

Come sta?

(COH-meh stah)

Come sta? also translates as “How do you stay?”, just like come stai?, but you use it when you are talking to a stranger or someone you need to show some respect to.

This is how you will address your boss at work, unless you agree to use an informal tone between the two of you.. Come sta? is polite. It uses the polite pronoun lei/Lei (you).

Stai becomes sta here because verb endings change in Italian depending on the pronoun. English speakers have it easy: only the third-person singular pronoun (he/she/it) changes the verb ending.

For example:

  • Buongiorno, signor Bianchi! Come sta?
    Good morning, Mr. Bianchi! How are you?

Come state?

(COH-meh STAH-teh)

Wait a minute! Where is this coming from?, you may ask.

Well, Italian also has a plural kind of you with the pronoun voi.

You translate how are you in Italian as come state? when you need to address a group of people. This is not used with only one person at a time (voi used to be the polite “you” in the past, but that’s not the case anymore).

For example:

  • Come state, ragazzi? Avete fatto un buon viaggio?
    How are you guys? Did you have a good trip?

Come va?

(COH-meh vah)

Come va? is an impersonal sentence: va is not a “you” conjugation, but is actually the third-person conjugation of the verb andare, which means “to go”.

This translation for how are you in Italian is neuter, it is neither formal nor informal. It can come in handy when you can’t remember which stare ending to use on the spot!

You can literally translate it as “how is it going?”

For example:

  • Come va, Riccardo? Non ci vediamo da mesi!
    How are you doing, Riccardo? I haven’t seen you for months!

You can also find this as come ti va? but I don’t recommend using it because it’s very casual. It literally means “how is it going to you?”

Cosa dici di bello?

(KOH-sah DEE-chee dee BELL-oh)

If you want to get more creative, cosa dici di bello? is a fun way to ask how are you in Italian in informal settings.

It literally means “what do you say of nice?” Let’s break it down because it may not be immediate:

  • cosa (what)
  • dici (you say, from dire, “to say”)
  • di (of)
  • bello (nice)

You can also find it as cosa mi dici di bello? The mi part means “to me”, so you could translate this literally as “what do you say of nice to me?” You usually use this when you’re itching to hear what’s new and exciting from a friend of yours.

For example:

  • Elisa, ciao! Che bello rivederti! Allora, cosa mi dici di bello?
    Elisa, hello! So nice to see you again! So, what can you tell me that’s good?

Come va la vita?

(COH-meh vah lah VEE-tah)

Come va la vita? is another creative way to ask how are you in Italian.

It literally translates as “how’s life going?” and you can use it to translate how’s life treating you? or how’s life? Let’s break it down:

  • come (how)
  • va (it goes, from andare, “to go”)
  • la (the, feminine definite article)
  • vita (life)

For example:

  • Come va la vita, Michele? Ho sentito che hai ottenuto una promozione!
    How is life, Michele? I heard you got a promotion!

Come te la passi?

(COH-meh teh lah PAHS-see)

Come te la passi? literally means “how do you pass it yourself”?

I know, it doesn’t make sense! It uses the reflexive expression passarsela, which means “to fare”. You could say me la passo bene, “I am doing well,” or me la passo male, “I am doing badly”.

For example:

  • Come te la passi, Franco? Lavori ancora in ufficio?
    How have you been doing, Franco? Still working at the office?

Come ti senti?

(COH-meh tee SEHN-tee)

The question come ti senti? is not used in the same context as the other translations of how are you in Italian that we’ve seen.

Come ti senti? is a bit more specific. You use it in informal settings when you’re asking someone about their feelings or physical well-being. Let’s say you’ve got an Italian friend who’s just gone through a breakup. You can tell they’re feeling down, and you’re keen to get them to open up a bit. That’s when you’d ask, Come ti senti?

It literally means “how do you feel?”, from the verb sentire, which means “to feel” or “to hear”.

For example:

  • Come ti senti oggi, Carlo? Hai ancora la febbre?
    How do you feel today, Carlo? Do you still have a fever?

The polite version of this is come si sente?, but it’s very specific. For example, if you’re walking past a stranger who’s passed out on the sidewalk, this is the phrase you’d use when they regain consciousness. If you’re a doctor, you’ll be using this question frequently with your patients. Once again, it’s all about checking on someone’s emotional or physical well-being.

Tutto bene?

(TOOT-toh BEH-neh)

Tutto bene? is a question you can ask in everyday situations or when you’re a little worried about a friend and want to make sure they’re okay, just like with come ti senti? It’s more common in informal settings.

For example:

  • Ieri non sei venuta a lezione. Tutto bene, Enrica?
    You didn’t come to class yesterday. Everything okay, Enrica?

Come butta?

(COH-meh BOOT-tah)

Come butta? is a very casual way to say how are you in Italian. It literally means “how does it throw?”

Do NOT use this to address strangers. I would even discourage you from using it with your Italian friends unless you want to come across as a thug.

What to answer to how are you in Italian?

Now that you know how to ask how are you in Italian, you might be curious to learn how to answer when you are the recipient of such a question. Let’s see the different ways you can answer.

Sto bene, grazie

(Stoh BEH-neh, GRAH-tsye)

99% of the time when you ask come stai? the answer will be “I’m fine”. This is translated into Italian as sto bene, literally “I stay well”.

It’s polite to add a grazie (thank you) at the end, regardless of the degree of formality between the speakers. It’s also very common to reciprocate by asking e tu?, “and you?” For example:

  • Ciao, Brenda! Come stai? – Sto bene, grazie. E tu, Valentina?
    Hi, Brenda! How are you doing? – I’m fine, thank you. And you, Valentina?

Va bene, dai

(Vah BEH-neh, DAH-ee)

The sentence va bene, dai is most often used to answer come va? because it uses the same verb. You can also just say bene, dai. It’s completely interchangeable.

This is a bit tricky because of the use of dai, which has no particular meaning here other than acting as a filler word. Normally you would translate dai as “come on” or “you give” depending on the context, but here it’s just a way of saying “it’s all good, life goes on as usual”.

You can also use va bene, dai to agree to a request.

For example:

  • Come va, Fabrizio? – Va bene, dai. Tu come stai?
    How are you doing, Fabrizio? – I’m all right. How are you doing?
  • Ci incontriamo alle 8? – Va bene, dai. Ci vediamo stasera.
    Shall we meet at 8 o’clock? – Okay, then. I’ll see you tonight.

Sto/va male

(Stoh MAH-leh, vah MAH-leh)

Sto male (I feel bad) and va male (it’s going badly) are not typical responses to how are you in Italian, but if you’re not making small talk and your friend is being honest with you, there’s a chance you might hear these.

While sto male is mainly used for diseases, va male is more generic.

For example:

  • Come va, Andrea? – Va male. Mi hanno licenziato ieri.
    How are you, Andrea? – It’s going badly. I got fired yesterday.

Va così e così

(Vah koh-SEE eh koh-SEE)

Va così e così is the literal translation of “it’s going so and so”. You use this when things are going neither well nor badly. You can also just say così e così without the verb.

  • Come va, Lorenzo? – Va così e così. Potrebbe andare meglio.
    How are you, Lorenzo? – It’s so-so. It could be better.

Other ways to ask how are you in Italian

What you have seen so far are the most common ways to say how are you in Italian, but there are other translations that you can use to spice up your conversations in informal settings! Below is a table showing some of them.

Come andiamo? How have you been doing?
Hai passato una bella giornata? Did you have a good day?
Stai bene? Are you ok?
Cosa mi racconti? What’s up?
Tutto ok? Everything alright?
Va meglio? Are you feeling better?
Che si dice? What’s new?
Ci sono novità? Anything new?
Novità? (Any) news?
Come vanno le cose? How are things going?

Other ways to reply to how are you in Italian

Of course, there are also many more informal ways to respond when someone asks you how you feel! Find them in the table below.

Non c’è male Not too bad
Alla grande (Everything is) great
Il solito Same as always
Tutto bene All good
Tutto a posto Everything ok
Me la cavo I get by
Potrebbe andare meglio Could be better
Potrebbe andare peggio Could be worse
Mai stato/a meglio! I’ve never been better!
Non me lo chiedere! Don’t even ask!

Conclusion on how to say how are you in Italian

We’ve seen a wide range of questions and answers to how are you in Italian. From the classic come stai? to the casual tutto bene? and the very casual come butta?, the options are as diverse and colorful as Italy itself. But there’s much more to small talk than asking how people are!

Here are some other Italian lessons that you might find intriguing:

Learn Italian faster with Clozemaster 🚀

Clozemaster has been designed to help you learn the language in context by filling in the gaps in authentic sentences. With features such as Grammar Challenges, Cloze-Listening, and Cloze-Reading, the app will let you emphasize all the competencies necessary to become fluent in Italian.

Take your Italian to the next level. Click here to start practicing with real Italian sentences!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *