Learning Italian, Phrase by Simple Phrase
September 18, 2017
How are you?
come = how, very similar to Spanish como
va = it goes, 3rd person singular present tense of andare, to go. It's irregular, don't worry about this.
Because I am amused! Literally meaning "How goes," come va is one of three phrases that can be used as a greeting. Other phrases that might be heard are the slightly more informal come stai? and the more formal come sta (lei)?, both meaning, "How are you?"
Here is when I encountered an interesting example of Italian contradiction. I quizzed four of my friends on which of the three options was the most commonly used, and managed to receive four different answers! This may be due to the fact that each of these friends are from a different region of Italy, or that they just all have different opinions on the most common way to ask how you are. I'm a little afraid to inquire further, for fear of falling further down the rabbit hole.
Typically, the appropriate response is tutto bene, which translates to everything (is) well. If everything is not, well, then, you can just say male!, or "bad!," and launch into a list of complaints!
Postscript: It is worth noting here that while tutto means "everything," tutti means "everyone."