You meet an Italian, and you ask him/her "come sta?" (how are you) and expect a passionate answer about what’s he/she’s been up to lately.
Despite Italians tend to easily share their feelings, he/she could simply answers "good, and you?".
What did you do wrong?
In fact, the only mistake you made was to use the wrong "how are you".
In Italian, there are several ways to say "how are you". Use the right “how are you” and Italian people will open up to you and gladly tell you about their day, thoughts and feelings. Use the wrong form and they’ll tell you “bene grazie” while you’re left wondering what to say next.
Today, we’d like to show you 7 common ways to say “how are you” in Italian (with a little bonus at the end) and explain when and how to use each variation so you can easily connect with people, start conversations in Italian and show how much you care.
(with a bonus at the end)
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 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 "come sta?" as indicated by the use of “tu”, the informal Italian “you”.
"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.
Italian people love deleting words and letters when they speak. You can use "tutto bene?" the same way you’d use "va tutto bene ?". You just need to know that "tutto bene?" is often considered less serious than “come stai” and other Italian "how are you", so people are less likely to give you a deep answer. In fact, the most common answer to "tutto bene ?" is: "tutto bene" (literally: all well), meaning everything is going well.
"Come si sente ?" literally means "how do you feel?". You use it when you know someone was sick or had a problem and want to know if they’re now doing better. A possible answer would be "mi sento meglio" (I’m feeling better) or "non molto" (not really).
You can use "Come ti senti ?" to ask a friend who was feeling sick or maybe a little depressed if he’s now feeling better. This is simply the informal version of "come si sente?".
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
Literally “buttare” means “to throw” is a colloquial and very informal way to ask "how are you" in Italian, often considered as a regional variation.