What's the proper way to respond to the question ¿Qué me cuentas?

It seems to often be used as a sort of "What's up?" type question, similar to ¿Como estas? or ¿Que tal?

However, answering with simply Estoy bien doesn't seem quite appropriate.

Various responses I've used or considered before:

  • Answer with another ¿Qué me cuentas? -- similar to how in English What's up? is often answered with Hey! What's up?
  • Answer with Estoy bien or other similar "I'm-fine" half-answer
  • Answer with Nada -- similar to the English What's up? and Nothing answer
  • Answer with a story... Hoy fui a la tienda para comprar papel de baño... ¿y tu?
  • Ignore the question, and find something else to talk about. (I probably find myself doing this most often)

What did I leave out? And what's the most appropriate?

  • Other fairly literal ways to translate it into English are "What's new?", "What's the story?", "What do you know?" (Not each is used everywhere in English of course.) – hippietrail Nov 16 '11 at 11:31

First, at least in Madrid, Spain, is commonly used as "¿Qué te cuentas?" with "te", not "me".

A nice answer would start with something like "Nada", a bit rude IMHO, or something softer like "Poca cosa", followed by a "¿y tú?" or something similar.

  • 2
    In Mexico we just use "¿Que cuentas?" without the "te" or "me". Also another popular phrase is "¿Que ha habido?" but sounds more like "¿Que habido?". – Alfredo Osorio Nov 16 '11 at 19:09
  • 1
    also common in México "¿Qué hubo?" which usually is pronounced as "Quiubo" or – Francisco Noriega Aug 18 '15 at 17:11

Other similar expressions with a similar meanings are:

¿Todo bien?

¿Qué se cuenta?

¿Cómo andas?

There isn't a single "appropriate" way to answer them, I'm a Spanish native speaker and I usually use different answers.

- Todo tranquilo, ¿y vos/tú?

- Nada, estudiando.

- Bien de bien, ¿y vos?

But, if you are asking which of them is better to pick most of the times, I would say that maybe the best is answering with a very short story of what you have done or you are doing in that very moment, For example if you are studying, say:

Estoy estudiando, ¿y vos/tú?

And then you can talk about anything else or ask how is the other.

  • 1
    ¡Bienvenido a Spanish.StackExchange! – JoulSauron Oct 6 '12 at 13:46

You could also respond as we do in English with, "Not much, you?" In my experience, this would be something to the effect of, "No mucho, ¿y tú, hombre?" I like this better because:

  1. it doesn't seem as final/negative as Nada, in my opinion, allowing for a more open response; and,

  2. it feels more natural-sounding in the rhythm of a conversation.

Ignoring the question entirely is also appropriate, as it would be understood as a greeting as much as a question, just as it is in English.

  • Completely agree in "nada" being too final. It just doesn't seem right, though I can't justify it :-) Besides that, I'd use just "no mucho" instead of "no hay mucho", which sounds a bit ackward to me. – rsuarez Nov 16 '11 at 12:09
  • Good point! I took out the "hay" and it flows much better. :D – Aarthi Nov 16 '11 at 18:59
  • I agree. I always say "nada mucho" to similar questions though I'm not sure I ever get this exact question. – hippietrail Nov 16 '11 at 19:26

In Spanish from Spain, "¿qué te cuentas?" is generally used as a greeting and/or invitation to talk.

As a greeting, you can simply reply:

Nada especial.

Aquí estamos.

Por aquí andamos.

Note that in this kind of greetings the use of the plural conjugation ("we") is very common (don't ask me why).

If you really wanna talk, you generally introduce your talk by telling what you are doing / why you are there, like in:

Aquí estoy, de compras/de paseo/whatever you are doing.

Pues mira, aquí me pillas de compras/de paseo/whatever you are doing.

Respect to ¿qué me cuentas? o ¿qué me estás contando?, it is generally used as a reply to express your surprise about something. Very similar to "really?/are you serious?"

  • Me acabo de divorciar y me dice que está embarazada / We just got divorced and she tells me she is pregnant.

  • ¡¿Qué me cuentas?! / Are you serious?

  • And the stock response to the «Are you serious?» usage of «¿Qué me cuentas?» is «Lo que oyes». – Peter Taylor Aug 23 '15 at 20:23
  • +1 Aquí estamos, this is the response of a Chilean. – Rodrigo Aug 31 '17 at 12:43

¿Que te cuentas? is used here in Galicia, too, as well as ¿Que me cuentas? and it is definitely a What's up type question.

I would answer it with:'No mucho' (not many things) and then I will go on and talk about anything new that has happened. However, if it really had happened something quite interesting, you could say 'Buf, muchísimo) (uf, a lot of things) instead.

  • En este sitio hay usuarios de todo el mundo, es mejor que indiques también que eres de España, además de Galicia. ;) – JoulSauron May 26 '12 at 19:05

"Nada especial" es la respuesta cuando alguien te pregunta "¿Quiúbole?" y se usa mucho en Colombia. A mí me encanta usarla. Por desgracia, se considera una frase de mal gusto para la mayoría de la genta hispanohablante.


I think "nada nuevo" or "poca cosa" followed with "¿y tú? or "¿Y tú que tal".

  • What about "nada de nuevo"? – hippietrail Nov 16 '11 at 19:27
  • 2
    It's not exactly incorrect but, at least to me, sounds weird. – Laura Nov 16 '11 at 21:48
  • @hippietrail «nada de nuevo» sounds strange although is grammatically correct. It will be more appropriate: «sin novedad». – pferor Dec 13 '11 at 13:12

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