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In english, we use the word Guys to address a group of people (male, female).

 Guys, how are you all?

How can I use the same sentence in spanish context?

 Amigos, como estas?

Does the sentence above make sense when I am talking to a group of people in Spanish?

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    I would say "Chicos" or even "Gente". Note it would be "¿cómo estáis?", since it is plural. – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Dec 9 '15 at 8:55
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Spanish, unlike English, (usually) has a different verb form/declination for the second person of singular and plural. You are right, in English if I say "How are you" when a group of people is involved could be unclear if I'm addressing the group or just one person. That's why is necessary to use "you guys" to emphasize that you want to address the group.

On the other hand, this will automatically understood in Spanish by the usage of the verb form or pronoun

¿Qué tal estás? ¿Qué te parece? ¿Quieres un caramelo?

¿Qué tal estáis? ¿Qué os parece? ¿Queréis un caramelo?

So, yes, you could add something that emphasizes the group you address. It is not necessarily redundant, but is not necessary either to point the difference.

¿Qué tal estáis todos? ¿Qué os parece, gente? ¿Queréis un caramelo niños/chicos?

Remember that Spanish favors the usage of masculine to address a group with people of both genders.

Even if you use the "usted" form (which basically uses the third person verb declination) you are using a different form for singular and plural

¿Qué tal están ustedes? vs. ¿Qué tal está usted?

If there was a verb that had the same form for singular and plural (I can't think of one right now, but that doesn't mean it does not exist) you will then of course want to clarify by using the word that addresses the group.

Maybe the usage of voseo (countries like Argentina) could be that exception. The differentiation between singular and plural is not always clear (even if the use of vos is as a second person singular pronoun and usually a different for is used for plural). For example (see this reference) the voseo of Panama and Venezuela (and Southeastern Cuba and Northeastern Colombia), unlike the "standard" voseo", can't distinguish from the 2nd person plural of Castillian. Still, some of these countries still use a different form for plural than singular, but could lead to confusion in written Spanish, without enough context, or maybe when addressing a group of people who speak different variations of the language.

Some possible options would be

  • Señores, caballeros ("¿Qué tal están, señores?")
  • Señoras, señoritas (idem as above, to a group of all females)
  • Niños, chicos, muchachos, etc...
  • Gente (an informal way to address your group of friends)
  • or even "todos" or "cada uno" (¿Qué os parece a todos la idea? ¿Qué pensáis todos (o cada uno) de la película?)
  • Thank you @diego for the in-depth answer. You explained it very nicely. I will accept your answer because it is the best answer. Gracias! – starkeen Dec 9 '15 at 16:27
  • I believe we have to start to differentiate, the "spanish" language (castellano), and the "spanish" people (gentilic from people from/living in Spain). In Chile, and most countries in Latin America, the vosotros form it's not used (not even used in formal language). So if you came here this answer only would make you sound a little dumb. If you pretend to travel no Spain, it's fine :). – Pablo Olmos de Aguilera C. Dec 9 '15 at 17:09
  • @pablox, agreed. I would say that the differentiation between singular and plural is quiet "standard" in Spanish, but you could not do this with "voseo". There are tags for specific regions or variations or Spanish (this question has none), though to address the specific variations. Nevertheless, what you point is interesting and deserves an answer of its own (even if a Chilean Spanish is not what the OP was specifically looking for). How do you deal with this problem in Chile? – Diego Dec 9 '15 at 17:16
  • Sorry, I don't understand which problem you are referring to. – Pablo Olmos de Aguilera C. Dec 10 '15 at 18:24
  • @pablox, I just read your answer. You guys don't use "vosotros" (like, estáis) but use third person instead. There could be confusion between 2nd and 3rd person plural, but of course singular and plural still have different verb tenses, so just with the verb form you can tell if you are addressing a group or just one person within the group. – Diego Dec 10 '15 at 18:53
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  • Use Chicos for young people.
  • Use Muchachos for young - adult people.

Just as a correction, in your example:

Amigos, como estas?

It should be:

Amigos, ¿cómo están? (or estáis)

Because Amigos is plural.

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Como hispanohablante, nunca diría "Amigos, ¿Cómo están?" La palabra amigos queda sobreentendida por el contexto. Bajo mi punto de vista, lo más correcto sería "¿Qué tal? ¿Cómo estáis?" Inclusive, más coloquialmente: "¿Qué tal gente? ¿Cómo va eso?"

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It really depends where are you going to use the expression. Even within the same countries it could be different, specially in "spoken" language, where context it's important.

Anyway, if you say "amigos", people would understand, specially if it's written. In Chile you can use:

  • Hola, ¿qué tal? (coloquial, so I don't know if it will make sense outside :P)
  • Chicos/muchachos/amigos ¿cómo están? (or just Hola, ¿cómo están?). You could also say chicos y chicas, since it looks like castellano is inherently machista (dunno how to use that word in english), and some people are fighting to use both. According to RAE (real academia española), if you use the masculine, you are referring to both genders, so that would be the academic response.

In the second example, though están is the third plural verb form, it's okay to use it.

The second plural form (vosotros) it's not used in Latin America, maybe with the notable exception of Argentina, so I would rule out the ¿cómo estais? from the start.

I can't provide any "reliable source", except that I have lived in Chile for almost 30 years, and I have traveled quite in this zone.

  • Interesting, so you don't use 2nd plural (vosotros) but you guys used the 3rd form instead (like the usage of usted does). So even if you don't use "vosotros" you still differentiate between singular an plural ("Cómo están") – Diego Dec 9 '15 at 17:23
  • No, we don't, most times the context in enough to recognize if you are asking a group of people (ustedes están) or if you are speaking about them (ellos están). – Pablo Olmos de Aguilera C. Dec 10 '15 at 18:27
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La expresión "cómo estáis?" is only used in Spain. In the rest of Spanish-speaking countries, you say "cómo están", as they never use vosotros.

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