Those first words you learn in Spanish will be some of the most important in your language learning journey.
Vocabulary like good or hello in Spanish is likely to be part of everyday conversation in a second language.
You’ll use the words for good to respond when asked how you’re doing, describe what you thought of a meal, or tell someone they did a good job. 👍
And it doesn’t stop there. There are plenty more reasons to learn how to say good in Spanish.
Words like bueno and bien are incredibly versatile in this language. So, learning their many uses will help you communicate in various circumstances.
So, are you ready to master the ins and outs of using the words for good in Spanish?
Muy bien, let’s go.
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The most common ways to say good in Spanish
To start off, I’ll give you a quick cheat sheet of the main words for good in Spanish.
As you can see, the word bueno is an adjective.
So, that means its spelling will change to maintain agreement with the noun it is modifying.
More specifically, the word bueno (like other Spanish adjectives) takes a different form depending on these two factors:
- Whether the noun it modifies is singular or plural
- Whether the noun it modifies is grammatically feminine or masculine
Here’s the breakdown of how that works for bueno, along with some examples.
|Noun to be modified||Form of bueno||Example in Spanish||English translation|
|Singular, masculine||Bueno||El libro es bueno.||The book is good.|
|Singular, feminine||Buena||La comida es buena.||The food is good.|
|Plural, masculine||Buenos||Los gatos son buenos.||The cats are good.|
|Plural, feminine||Buenas||Las computadoras son buenas.||The computers are good.|
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Bueno vs. bien
Now, it’s common for some native English speakers to know a few simple phrases in Spanish, like buenos días or muy bien.
Yet, we may not know exactly what these words mean on their own or how to use them in other contexts.
So, let’s dissect the meanings of both bueno and bien and how they work in a few different examples.
As you know, the word bueno means good.
It has many other uses, but for now, here are some examples of how to use bueno when describing something good.
La vista desde el restaurante es buena.
Here’s another example of using bueno when discussing something that is not good.
Comer mucha grasa no es bueno para el cuerpo.
On the other hand, the word bien is more like the word well in English.
You wouldn’t use the two interchangeably in English, and the same is true for speaking Spanish.
Grammatically speaking, bien is an adverb, not an adjective.
Because of this, its spelling won’t change, and it won’t be used in the same contexts as the word bueno.
Here are a few examples of when you’d use the word bien in Spanish.
Esta carne está muy bien cocida.
Now, here’s an example of bien being used to describe how someone is feeling.
Estoy preocupada por Jack. Me dijo que no se encuentra bien.
How about the word buen in Spanish?
In the cheat sheet above, you may have noticed the word buen.
I haven’t mentioned it yet because it works slightly differently than the other two words for good in Spanish.
At first glance, buen is essentially a shortened version of bueno.
After all, the two are both adjectives, and they both have the same basic meaning: good.
However, while bueno usually comes after the noun it modifies, buen comes before.
Additionally, buen doesn’t change to modify nouns. Instead, it will always come before a singular, masculine noun.
So, to give you an idea:
Este es un buen ejemplo de lo que estoy diciendo. 😉
Here’s another example of when you’d use buen instead of the other words for good in the Spanish language.
Podemos dar un paseo ya que hace buen tiempo.
How to pronounce the words for good in Spanish
Believe it or not, you can improve your Spanish even when you talk to yourself or review new concepts in your head. 🤯
In fact, studies show that internally or privately talking to yourself in your second language is a significant part of the language acquisition process.
So, why not start by practicing the pronunciation of good in Spanish?
Since bien and bueno are the two most common ways to say good in Spanish, let’s take a minute to learn the proper pronunciation of these words.
Luckily, while accents vary across the Spanish-speaking world, pronouncing these two words will be similar anywhere you go.
The pronunciation of bien is bee-ehn.
On the other hand, saying bueno is like this: boo-eh-noh.
Now, this may seem obvious, but it’s essential to relearn pronunciation, even in languages that have similar sounds to English.
So, practicing simple words like this can help you train your brain to produce sounds with perfect Spanish pronunciation.
That way, you’re less likely to bring your native English accent into this new language.
How to respond to cómo estás
Of course, one of the more obvious times you’ll say good in Spanish is when you’re asked how you are.
There are many different ways to ask how are you in Spanish, but one of the most common versions you’ll hear is cómo estás.
Now, in English, we may casually say I’m good when asked how we are. But, you’ll need to be careful when answering in Spanish.
So, here’s a pop quiz. A friend comes up to you and says: ¿Cómo estás?
Is it correct to respond with estoy bueno?
If you want to respond by saying that you’re good, the correct answer would be: Estoy bien.
And if you’d like to be a little more polite, you can try this response:
¿Estoy bien, y tú?
Just like in English, the phrase above has become somewhat instinctual as a response to how are you in Spanish.
However, there are plenty of other options if you want to mix things up. Here are some more ways to respond to cómo estás.
|Muy bien||Very well|
|Todo bien||Everything is good|
|Bien bien||Good, good|
|No me puedo quejar||I can’t complain|
|Así así||So so|
|No muy bien||Not very well|
Adding emphasis to the words for good in Spanish
As in the examples above, you can emphasize the word bien by saying muy bien or superbién to mean very good or very well.
You can also emphasize the word bueno in a few different ways.
First, adding muy before bueno will work in some cases. For example:
La escritura de ese autor es muy buena.
You can also add the ending -ísimo or -ísima to emphasize the word bueno. Here’s an example.
Encontramos una casa buenísima para nuestra familia.
Describing a good experience in Spanish
Now, say you’re rating an experience in Spanish on an online review site. You may be asked to tick a box like this:
- Bien ✅
And, for example, if you’re leaving a review for a restaurant you enjoyed, you might say:
Disfruté de mi experiencia en este restaurante. Su comida es muy buena.
Good morning and other greetings in Spanish
Of course, greetings are also among the first phrases you’ll learn in a new language.
As with English, many Spanish greetings incorporate the words for good.
Here’s a quick review of the way bueno is used in Spanish greetings.
|Buenos días||Good morning|
|Buenas tardes||Good afternoon|
|Buenas noches||Good night|
Interestingly, you can also say buenas by itself in informal contexts.
You may hear the phrase hola, buenas said as a friendly way to greet someone in passing.
Interjections using the word good in Spanish
Another way the words bien, buen, and bueno are used is in interjections.
All of these words can appear in interjections, depending on the message you’re trying to convey.
For example, if you want to tell a friend they did a great job on a recent project, you could say something like this:
Tu proyecto resultó genial, María. ¡Bien hecho!
Here are some other ways the words for good in Spanish may appear as interjections or exclamations.
|¡Bien hecho!||Well done!|
|¡Buen trabajo!||Good job!|
|¡Qué buena onda!||What good vibes!|
|¡Qué buena noticia!||What good news!|
Additional uses for the word bueno
There are also other ways that native speakers incorporate the word bueno in everyday conversations in Spanish.
For example, in Mexico, you may hear some people answer the phone by saying bueno.
Funny enough, bueno is also a common filler word to throw into your speech.
It’s used similarly to how we use phrases like well, you know, okay, or um in English.
So, if you’re drawing a blank in Spanish, you offer up a drawn-out bueno to buy yourself some time. 💬
Plus, you’ll make your speech sound more native in the process.
For instance, an exchange like this would be completely normal between native Spanish speakers:
¿Cuándo quieres irte de vacaciones?
Bueno… tendré que pensarlo si te parece bien.
Mastering the top Spanish words for beginners
Even if you’re starting from scratch, remember that absorbing and practicing the basics like good in Spanish is just as important as any other step.
With time, you’ll perfect your command of the words bien, buen, and bueno in various contexts.
And there are plenty of top-notch Spanish courses out there to accelerate your progress. (Here are 35 of the best online options!)
For now, buen trabajo for taking the time to brush up on your Spanish vocabulary! 👏
What are some other words you think all Spanish speakers should learn first?
Let us know your recommendations in the comment section below!