When to switch to informal

tocayo June 28, 2006, 7:37 pm
My Mexican friends at a local restaurant are quick to switch to informal but usually with other Mexicans. My secretary is Puerto Rican. She refuses to use anything other than the formal with me even though I have know her for years. Perhaps that is related to our positions at the office.

My German friend told me that in his culture, after he gets to know someone well enough, he will take that person to a pub (I guess everything in Germany is solved in a pub) and tell them that he would like to switch to addressing each other in the informal way from that point forward. They click beer mugs and toast to it. He smiled broadly when he described that. I laughed at first but I think he was actually serious. Even if he was "elaborating" a little, he did make the point that they do not take it lightly.

Perhaps this is just one of those things where you have to feel your way through but I would appreciate any thoughts/experiences you could share around when to switch from formal(polite) to informal.

As we say in English, "thanks in advance".
When to switch to informal
ANONYMOUS July 25, 2006, 1:10 am
When in doubt, take your cue from the person/people you're with.

That's the ONLY way to know when to use the formal or informal "you" if you're a foreigner to the culture. Every culture is different, and there are subcultures within every culture (for example, rural people will often be more formal than urban people).

So if the person you're speaking with switches to tú, do it yourself! But if the person always addresses you as usted, follow suit.
When to switch to informal
Esoterica1 December 11, 2006, 12:19 pm
*Quote from * tocayo
My Mexican friends at a local restaurant are quick to switch to informal but usually with other Mexicans. My secretary is Puerto Rican. She refuses to use anything other than the formal with me even though I have know her for years. Perhaps that is related to our positions at the office.

My German friend told me that in his culture, after he gets to know someone well enough, he will take that person to a pub (I guess everything in Germany is solved in a pub) and tell them that he would like to switch to addressing each other in the informal way from that point forward. They click beer mugs and toast to it. He smiled broadly when he described that. I laughed at first but I think he was actually serious...Read More
*Quote from * tocayo
My Mexican friends at a local restaurant are quick to switch to informal but usually with other Mexicans. My secretary is Puerto Rican. She refuses to use anything other than the formal with me even though I have know her for years. Perhaps that is related to our positions at the office.

My German friend told me that in his culture, after he gets to know someone well enough, he will take that person to a pub (I guess everything in Germany is solved in a pub) and tell them that he would like to switch to addressing each other in the informal way from that point forward. They click beer mugs and toast to it. He smiled broadly when he described that. I laughed at first but I think he was actually serious. Even if he was "elaborating" a little, he did make the point that they do not take it lightly.

Perhaps this is just one of those things where you have to feel your way through but I would appreciate any thoughts/experiences you could share around when to switch from formal(polite) to informal.

As we say in English, "thanks in advance".


When my husband (who is Cuban)as a teenager, he addressed one of his Aunt's friends using the "tu" informal as opposed to "usted," he was pretty severely warned by his aunt to ALWAYS use the formal when talking to adults or her friends and not to go to the informal unless they do it first.
When to switch to informal
Mac539 March 25, 2010, 11:31 pm
There are times children address their parents "formally." I don't think so much of it being formal as I do showing respect.
When to switch to informal
dvelez1985 June 20, 2010, 5:08 am
*Quote from * Esoterica
*Quote from * tocayo
My Mexican friends at a local restaurant are quick to switch to informal but usually with other Mexicans. My secretary is Puerto Rican. She refuses to use anything other than the formal with me even though I have know her for years. Perhaps that is related to our positions at the office.

My German friend told me that in his culture, after he gets to know someone well enough, he will take that person to a pub (I guess everything in Germany is solved in a pub) and tell them that he would like to switch to addressing each other in the informal way from that point forward. They click beer mugs and toast to it. He smiled broadly when he described that. I laughed at first but I think he was actually serious...Read More
*Quote from * Esoterica
*Quote from * tocayo
My Mexican friends at a local restaurant are quick to switch to informal but usually with other Mexicans. My secretary is Puerto Rican. She refuses to use anything other than the formal with me even though I have know her for years. Perhaps that is related to our positions at the office.

My German friend told me that in his culture, after he gets to know someone well enough, he will take that person to a pub (I guess everything in Germany is solved in a pub) and tell them that he would like to switch to addressing each other in the informal way from that point forward. They click beer mugs and toast to it. He smiled broadly when he described that. I laughed at first but I think he was actually serious. Even if he was "elaborating" a little, he did make the point that they do not take it lightly.

Perhaps this is just one of those things where you have to feel your way through but I would appreciate any thoughts/experiences you could share around when to switch from formal(polite) to informal.

As we say in English, "thanks in advance".



When my husband (who is Cuban)as a teenager, he addressed one of his Aunt's friends using the "tu" informal as opposed to "usted," he was pretty severely warned by his aunt to ALWAYS use the formal when talking to adults or her friends and not to go to the informal unless they do it first.

Read more: href="http://spanish.rocketlanguages.com/latin-culture/when-to-switch-to-informal-t306.html#ixzz0rMooGvzm




As a Puerto Rican I can understand why. I'm speaking for Puerto Rican culture though however Cubans may be similar as well. Puerto Ricans have this thing about respect when it comes to elders. You don't talk back you don't talk to them like you would talk to your friends that's just how it is for most Puerto Ricans. I'm a bit divided on this however since I'm a Puerto Rican raised in the United States so I find it hard to "respect" elders. Most Americans tend to be liberal in this aspect.
When to switch to informal
leeallen October 22, 2010, 3:57 pm
Hi Tocayo,
you are quite right in in guessing that disputes in Germany are settled in a pub. This is a recent change circa 1945. Before this everything was settled by Germany invading your country!!!
When to switch to informal
Cristian-Montes-de-Oca September 24, 2011, 12:51 am
Hola!
Im from Mexico, and at least in this part of the country (Tijuana) the rules for using "usted" or "you" are the following:

Always use the formal for: Elders, people who you dont know, Adults in general ( if you are teen or kid...and sometimes even if you are and adult, all depends on the context and the respect you want to expose.

Use informal with : kids, teens, people from you own range of age, friends, or the ones mentioned above onlye after they say "Por favor no me hables de usted, hablame de tu"...

IN MY CASE i switch the tu and usted with my grandparents all the time, eventough the usted is "the correct one"....for example one of my friends is from Colombia and tells me everyone uses the usted form, even with young kids...Read More
Hola!
Im from Mexico, and at least in this part of the country (Tijuana) the rules for using "usted" or "you" are the following:

Always use the formal for: Elders, people who you dont know, Adults in general ( if you are teen or kid...and sometimes even if you are and adult, all depends on the context and the respect you want to expose.

Use informal with : kids, teens, people from you own range of age, friends, or the ones mentioned above onlye after they say "Por favor no me hables de usted, hablame de tu"...

IN MY CASE i switch the tu and usted with my grandparents all the time, eventough the usted is "the correct one"....for example one of my friends is from Colombia and tells me everyone uses the usted form, even with young kids....

So, it all depends on the situation, the country, the people, the culture...i hope this helps you a lot...and im glad you are trying to learn one of the most beautifull languages in the world...ESPAÑOL!!...

Buen dia
When to switch to informal
Mohammed-B1 June 4, 2013, 5:40 pm
hola
When to switch to informal

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