Formal you and informal you in Spanish (tú/usted)

A common question is when do we use "usted" and when do we use "tú".

We will try to help you!

Using the personal pronoun "usted"

"Usted" is used:

  • in professional settings, with bosses, customers and suppliers
  • if you don't know somebody
  • with senior people

Using the personal pronoun "tú"

"Tú" is used with:

  • friends
  • family

Change the formal form to "tú"

If you want to use "tú", it’s okay to can ask someone for their permission:

¿Le puedo tutear?
Can I use "tú" with you?

Frequently, this question asked by the older people to the younger people.

Differences of use in Latin America and Spain

Frequently, Latin Americans and the Canarian people don't use the pronouns "tú" or "vosotros". Instead, they use "usted" or "ustedes" with all people, even with friends and family.

However, the Spanish people are increasingly using "tú"/ "vosotros", especially on the street and in informal situations.