Greetings in English
How you start a conversation can be important to set the right tone. Let’s discover how to greet people in English in the following situations: Formal, Informal, Slang, Emails, How to respond to different greetings, and also how to say goodbye in English.
Good Morning/Good Afternoon/Good Evening
Good Morning, Good afternoon and good evening are very common greetings in English. They can be used in any situation, formal or informal, and are a good way of opening a conversation with someone. It is a very friendly greeting and people will probably respond with the same phrase.
When to say good morning/good afternoon/good evening
Good morning 6 am-12 pm
Good afternoon 12 pm- 5 pm
Good evening 5 pm-10 pm
If you add a person’s second name it can be a good greeting to use in the workplace or if you don’t know someone.
Good morning Mr. Johnson
Good afternoon Miss Jackson
In reality, this is very formal and most people will just use “good morning”
Formal greetings are becoming less common in English and the workplace is becoming more casual. These greetings below can be used when talking to your boss when you first meet him/her and then a more casual relationship will usually begin.
Nice to meet you or Pleased to meet you
Nice to meet you is a great expression to use when someone introduces you at a formal meeting or a wedding. You can also use “Pleased to meet you” but I prefer “Nice to meet you”
How do you do?
How do you do is very very formal and is not common anymore. I personally would never use this because it is too formal. It is more common in British English than in my home country Ireland.
How have you been?
This is similar to asking someone “How are you?” The conversation is normally like this:
How have you been?
Great! I have been going to the gym a lot and I am feeling good.
How are you?
How is it going?
How you going?(Australia)
How are you doing?
Nice to see you!
Long time no see
What’s going on?
What’s the story?
What’s the craic? (Ireland)
You alright fella/lad? (UK)(for men only)
G’day Mate (Australia)
There are many more regional ways of saying Hello in every English speaking country in the world. American culture is very strong around the world so phrases like “yo” are common in all English speaking countries. The other expressions like “what’s the craic?” can only be used in Ireland.
Notice that there are 2 main types of greetings in English
1 How are you?
2 What’s up?/ What’s the story?
These 2 types of greeting really have the same meaning. We use them to start a conversation. We are not really asking the question “How are you?”. You can answer “I am fine” but the real idea behind this question is to start the conversation, so it is better to say something else too.
American vs British Greetings
American and British greetings are often more or less the same. You can use any of the greetings above apart from the informal and slang greetings. Slang is different around the world and this is no different in English. If you are arriving in the U.S.A or U.K, use a standard greeting like “Hello” or “Good morning” and listen to the native people to learn their slang greetings.
How to respond to greetings
People want you to talk and lead the conversation. This is a great opportunity to practice your English and speak! So it is a good idea to tell the other person something about your life and then ask the other person some Wh questions.
Notice that American people are often more enthusiastic and use stronger responses like “Awesome, Fantastic”. In the U.K and Ireland people usually respond with something more neutral like “I’m fine”, “not bad”
How to respond to How are you doing?
I am good, and you?
How to respond to What’s up?
When someone asks you this question, they are giving you an invitation to talk about your life.
Ah, not much, I was at school this morning and then I had to help my mom this afternoon. What about you?
How to respond to How are you?
I am fine. What about you?
Goodbyes in English
See you later
Take it easy
See you on Thursday
Until next time
I gotta go
Catch you later
There is a time to leave every conversation and go home! In most situations, you can say some version of Goodbye. See you later is a bit more informal and you can use this with your friends. Goodbye is also a little bit more final and might mean you are going away for a long time. See you later means you will see the other person soon.
If you need to leave a conversation and do something else then you can say I gotta go or I’m off (both informal).
If you want an empathetic goodbye, then you can use Take care or Stay safe
See ya is a common goodbye when you are talking to someone face to face but don’t use it in a text message.
In a business situation, you can use See you on Tuesday or whenever you are going to see the person next.
Later is very informal and more common in American English.
Greetings for emails(formal and informal)
The business world is becoming more and more casual. The old greetings people used like Dear Sir or Madam or To Whom It May Concern are becoming less and less common.
If you work for a modern company, then a simple Hello John is perfectly acceptable. As you get to know the person a bit better, you can change it to Hi John.
If it is your first time getting in contact with someone and you want to sound professional, then you can use Dear John.
To finish an email you can use Best Regards, This sounds both professional and friendly. You can use wisestamp.com to create an email signature to look very professional!