One of the first questions you’ll be asked or want to ask when learning Spanish is, “How old are you?” When first meeting someone, it’s important to know what to say. You can use a few expressions when asking how old you are in Spanish. While you may really only use ¿Cuántos años tienes? You must be familiar with the other common expressions to recognize them if someone uses them with you!
In this guide, you will learn three different ways to say “How old are you” in Spanish, as well as the best way to respond so that you can sound like a native Spanish speaker.
The first thing to remember when discussing age in Spanish is that the verb “to have” indicates age, as opposed to “to be” in English. Understanding these differences will help you learn how to speak Spanish easily, without any grammatical errors.
¿Cuántos años tienes?
This phrase literally means, “How many years do you have?” It is the most common way to inquire about someone’s age in Spanish. This phrase uses the informal form of addressing the second person.
If you’re speaking to someone with a more formal relationship, use the second-person singular form usted. In that case, the question would be changed to ¿Cuántos años tiene usted?
¿Qué edad tienes?
The literal translation of ¿Qué edad tienes? is “What age do you have?” This direct translation may appear awkward to an English speaker, but rest assured that it is a common Spanish expression.
In Spanish, age is something you have, as opposed to something you “are” in English. That is why, when discussing age, we use the verb “to have” rather than “to be”.
¿Cuál es tu edad?
¿Cuál es tu edad? means “What is your age?” This is the only case in which we use the verb “to be” to discuss age.
Asking ¿cuál es tu edad? is parallel to asking ¿qué edad tienes? But you will likely not hear ¿cuál es tu edad? as often as the first two options. If we want to be more formal, we can use the formal pronoun usted. In that case, the question is ¿cuál es su edad?
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Now that you know three different ways to ask ‘how old are you’ in Spanish, it is also important to learn the appropriate manner to respond to such questions.
There is a long and short answer to “How old are you?” in Spanish. We can say Tengo 18 años (“I am 18 years old”) or simply 18 años (“18 years old”). Other common ways to respond can add charm to your response and make it sound more conversational. Here are a few choices:
|Tengo 25, pero voy a cumplir 26
|I’m 25, but I’m going to turn 26
|Voy a cumplir 26 en un mes
|I’m going to turn 26 in a month
|Tengo casi 26
|I’m almost 26
|Tengo 18 para 19
|I’m 18 going on 19
Let’s look at some related terms to expand your Spanish vocabulary:
|to turn years old
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Is it considered rude to ask someone’s age in Spanish-speaking cultures?
It depends on the context and relationship. In some cultures, it may be considered impolite, while it’s a casual and common question in others.
How do I respond to “How old are you?” in Spanish?
You can answer with “Tengo [your age] años,” which means “I am [your age] years old.”
Are there any cultural considerations when discussing age in Spanish?
Yes, some cultures may place more emphasis on age-related formalities. It’s essential to be mindful of cultural norms and adapt your language accordingly.
There are different ways to ask ‘how old are you’ in Spanish. Choosing the right phrase that suits your relationship with the person you’re asking about age is important. Looking at the contextual use of words makes language learning easier. If you are heading to Spain anytime soon, we recommend you learn Spanish travel vocabulary to make your trip even more memorable and organized.
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