"Good afternoon" is "buenas tardes", and "Good night/evening" is "buenas noches".

Then why isn't "good morning" "buenas mañanas" instead of "buenos días"?

  • 9
    I'm tempted to answer: Because languages are weird and illogical many times. That said, it makes sense to wish someone a good day while in the morning... while the day can still be saved! – Xabier Domínguez Dec 14 '11 at 11:53
  • 2
    Buenas madrugadas! – Torbjörn Hansson Mar 21 '12 at 15:38
  • 2
    As a funny side note, it is quite common to say just "Buenas..." (not specifying what) in some places, or at least in Argentina. It gets terribly practical when it's close to noon and you're not sure on what to say. – Alpha Jan 9 '13 at 23:07
  • Another example: "last minute point" in spanish is "punto de última hora" – SysDragon Nov 7 '13 at 11:43
  • 1
    Because different languages are different. That's a stupid answer, but it's the truth. – Walter Mitty Nov 19 '14 at 13:11

Because Spanish is a language that evolved independently from English, which means translations do not have to follow the same rules.

Buenos días is what you say between dawn and noon. The day is just starting, so it makes sense to wish the other person a good day, not just a good morning.

| improve this answer | |
  • 10
    Now that I think about it, it's bom dia in Portuguese, bonjour in French, and buongiorno in Italian. So I guess the origin of the expression goes back to their common root. – Orion Dec 14 '11 at 14:34
  • 4
    @Orion: Indeed. English is the odd one here.;-) – CesarGon Mar 22 '12 at 15:08
  • 2
    @CesarGon Well, all these languages share the same root. Note that in German it's Guten Morgen, and in Chinese it's 早上好. Both of these translate literally to "good morning". – Orion Mar 22 '12 at 15:12
  • 1
    @Orion: I imagined something like that would be the case; hence "here" in my previous comment. – CesarGon Mar 22 '12 at 15:13
  • in filipino we also say magandang araw (good day) and magandang umaga (good morning) , both of these are colloquially used.. – user1100 Oct 29 '12 at 22:35

In Spanish, you express your wishes for the remaining of the day. So, in the morning, you wish a good day. After noon (sometimes after lunch), you wish a good afternoon. Good night is said when the day is over.

| improve this answer | |

Because "buenos días" is said during daylight and "buenas noches" is said after dusk. In this case, apart from wishing a "good whole day", it refers to the fact that it's day and not night.

| improve this answer | |

It sounds to me that 'good morning' is said more as a greeting and 'Good day' is more of a wishing good luck type of thing? maybe thats the difference as German and English (which has become from German and Spanish predominantley) are pretty formal , where latin america is far more relaxed?

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    What do you mean by "German and English are pretty formal"? And why did English evolved from German and Spanish predominantly? – Em1 Nov 4 '13 at 11:46
  • Not only "why", but when? <g> – Rudy Velthuis Aug 16 '15 at 12:36

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.