We help you speak English clearly.
Free Speech Lesson

English Communication: Greetings and Goodbyes, part 1

English Communication: Greetings and Goodbyes, part 1

 ‘What’s up?’

 ‘How’s it going?’

 ‘Good evening, sir.’

 shutterstock_116303092When it comes to greetings and words of parting, it is important to know that in the culture of the United States, these are usually ritual greetings.  That means that if someone asks you “How are you ?”  or “How is it going?” it is meant to be the same thing as saying a simple “hello.”   That person is expecting a short reply, one or a few words.

 This is different than many other countries, such as Romania, where such a greeting is an opener to discussion about the well-being of each person.

In the United States, there are many ritual greetings and words of parting.  But with so many ways to say ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ comes a lot to know about which vocabulary and phrases are typically used in what circumstances.  Who? When? How? In what context?  Knowing the answers to these question will help you feel more comfortable and confident in many situations.

Here are some good options for expanding your ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ vocabulary, with some of those questions answered.

Formal Greetings

Use these in a business setting, in public speaking, or in the service professions, such as restaurants and retail.  


  • Good morning/afternoon/evening (Answer: ‘Hi’)
  • Nice to meet you – Used when meeting someone for the first time. Can be used in informal settings with new acquaintances. (Answer: ‘Nice to meet you too’)
  • It’s good to see you again – Used with someone you have met before. (Answer: ‘You too’)

Formal Goodbyes

Use in a business setting, public speaking, or in the service professions

  • It was nice to see you again (Answer: ‘You too’)
  • Take care  – This is also often used with friends and  used especially by females. (Answer: ‘Thanks, you too!’)
  • Have a good day/week/weekend/trip – This can also be used with friends. (Answer: ‘Thanks! You too.’)

Informal Greetings

Use with friends

  •  Hey! (Answer: ‘Hey’)
  • What’s up?  (Answer: ‘Not much’ or ‘hey’)
  • Hey! Long time no see (Answer: ‘Yeah, it’s been a while.’)
  • How’s it going? (Answer: ‘Hey!’ or ‘Pretty good. You?’ or ‘Not bad. What about you?’)
  • Hey! How are you? (Answer: ‘Pretty good. You?’)

Informal Goodbyes

Use with friends

  • See you later (Answer: ‘Yeah!’ or ‘Later.’)
  • Later (Answer: ‘See ya.’ or ‘Take care.’)
  • So long. (Answer: ‘ Catch you later.)

Later, more on avoiding confusion with that little phrase you’ve probably heard over and over again: ‘How are you?’  

Click here: www.cleartalkmastery.com/scheduler to sign up for a Free Sample Lesson with us! 

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercises.

 Contributing editor: Amber McKinney

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Captcha *