A greeting in Spanish carries a world of meaning -- even a simple "good morning" can indicate familiarity, respect, exasperation or just an acknowledgement and a cordial indication of good wishes to an acquaintance. Master a few simple phrases to cover civility and courtesy throughout your day.

Basic Buenos Dias

"Good morning" in Spanish is "Buenos dias," pronounced booWAY-nohss-DEE-ahss. There is no need to adjust the gender because the phrase is simple and gender neutral. "Buenos" is the masculine plural for "good" that modifies the masculine plural noun "dias," which means "days." There is no deep meaning for the use of the plural, so toss a cheerful "Buenos dias!" at Tio Pedro or your piano teacher. The greeting works for familiar and formal acquaintances. Unlike phrases specific to the afternoon or evening -- "Buenas tardes" or "Buenas noches," you can get away with "Buenos dias" as a "Hello!" for most of the day.

Variations on a Theme

In some Spanish-speaking cultures, "buen dia" -- pronounced booWEN-DEE-yah -- is an easy greeting only used in the morning, not in the afternoon. It's a truncated version of the full "buenos dias" and is fine in a work or friendly setting. You encounter this in Latin American and occasionally Caribbean countries such as Puerto Rico, Bolivia or Uruguay. "Buenas" (booWAY-nahss) is a slang "Good day" that works anytime, including morning.

Campaign Trail Opener

Grab the red-white-and-blue bunting and kiss the babies. When you hit the campaign trail or address a crowd in a keynote, say, "Good morning" so no one can miss it. "Muy buenos dias a todos" (moo-EE booWAY-nohss DEE-yahs ah TOH-dohss) means "A very good morning to all of you." If you're going for impressive, deliver the greeting with some gusto and a million-dollar smile.

A.M. Greetings for Lazybones

The zonked-out kids are about to miss the school bus, or your friend seems determined to sleep away your weekend adventure or your daily travel itinerary. When it's family or BFFs, deliver a little "rise and shine" in a loud cheery voice to get the show on the road. "Ya, arriba!" (yah ah-REE-bah) means "Get up already!" -- literally "already, up." "Arriba" is the imperative form, so it's a command. Better have the coffee or the PB&J-stuffed lunchbox ready before trying to make this one work.

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