When is informal "you-tu" appropriate?

I am on level 2 challenge 11. I started at the first of the year, and I’m really enjoying the challenges. BUT I’ve not really had a chance to use my Spanish. My son will be bringing home a special young lady for Thanksgiving that he has become quite fond of (they seem to be very serious). She is from Mexico and Spanish is her native tongue. I’ve been really excited because I will have someone I can speak Spanish with. Will it be inappropriate to use the informal “tu” when I meet her?

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Always tricky being entirely certain of this stuff - but you’re her partner’s mother, so you’ve definitely got some status going on there! - best thing (and best ice-breaker) would probably just be to tell her that you’re not very used to the tu/usted thing, and ask her which she would prefer you to use… :slight_smile:

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Hello @vickiefreemanbabcock!

My parents are both native speakers of Spanish (although my dad is ethnically Armenian and speaks Armenian as well…), and I’m used to both Latin American Spanish and Castilian Spanish culture.

I agree with @aran when he says that you’ve definitely got some status! In Spanish countries, I think it’d be difficult to find a mother who uses ‘usted’ with a son’s partner, even when meeting for the first time.

Latino culture, in general, has a friendliness amongst its people and you’ll often find people using ‘usted’ for the very first sentence or two when people are meeting. After that, people often quickly switch to ‘tu’.

If you want, show her some respect! You can make her feel welcomed by using ‘usted’ at first. I recommend quickly switching to the ‘tu’ form after, and you two, surely, will get on just fine.

Good luck!


Muchas gracias! They will be coming in about a month and the whole family can hardly wait to meet her. And I want to start off on the right foot! :slight_smile:

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