How to ask how are you in Italian

There’s more than one way of asking how are you in Italian, and you’ll be very happy to know that these ways once again depend on the level of formality between the people who are addressing one another.

So, without further ado, let’s see what sets apart a come sta? from a come va?.


How do you ask how are you in Italian?

Come stai?
How are you? (informal)
Literally: How do you stay?

Come sta?
How are you? (formal)
Literally: How do you stay?

how are you in italian - come sta?
Come sta?
How are you?

Stai and sta are conjugations of the verb stare, meaning to stay.

You use come stai? with people you talk to on a first-name basis, while you will use come sta? with elderly, with people you don’t know very well and more generally with people you have to show respect to.

Basically, an i makes all the difference between courtesy and rudeness. Watch out your vowels!


Other common ways of asking how are you in Italian

Come va?
How’s it going?

Come ti va?
How’s it going to you? (informal)

Va is the third person singular conjugation of the verb andare, translating to go.

Italians use come va? mostly with friends and relatives. It’s neither formal nor informal, although you will seldom hear it in formal situations.

On the other hand, you use come ti va? with friends you’re in very informal terms with. For comparison, it might still be too informal to address a coworker this way.


Cosa dici di bello?
How are you doing? (informal)
Literally: What do you say of nice?

how are you in italian - cosa mi dici di bello
Cosa mi dici di bello?
How are you doing?

Cosa mi dici di bello?
How are you doing? (informal)
Literally: What do you say of nice to me?


Let’s break these down.

Cosa means what. Mi translates to me. Dici is the second person singular conjugation of the verb dire, translating to say. Di bello literally translates to of nice, meaning “that is nice”.

So it’s something along the line of “What do you say to me that is nice?”.

These forms are informal ways of asking how are you in Italian. If you aim for a livelier tone, you can add the pronoun mi to the sentence. Ideally, you would use cosa mi dici di bello? while happily chatting with a close friend after you’ve not been seeing each other for some time. On this occasion, friends and family members will very likely kiss each other on the cheeks.


Answers to how are you in Italian

Sto bene, grazie
I’m fine, thanks

Va bene, grazie
It’s going well, thanks

These two sentences are the answers to, respectively, come sta/i? and come va?.

It’s common courtesy to reciprocate, so you will ask…

Sto molto bene, grazie!
I’m great, thanks!

E tu?
And you? (informal)

E lei?
And you? (formal)

So, some standard answers could be…

Sto bene, grazie, e tu?
I’m fine, thanks, and you? (informal)

Bene, grazie, e lei?
I’m fine, thanks, and you? (formal)


What other how are you’s are there?

Va tutto bene?
Is everything alright? (informal)

And if for some reason you feel like answering something else rather than what’s socially expected in such a situation (Italian people will say they feel great even when they clearly don’t!), you can be brutally honest and say…

No, non va affatto bene!
No, it’s not going well at all!

With affatto translating that at all.


What next?

You can do the Italian how are you interactive exercises!

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