Hello, Bonjour, Hola, Salaam, Guten tag, Hello, Здравстуйте!
It’s the first word you learn in any new language, the basic sign of welcome that shows your intent đồ sộ talk đồ sộ someone. Most likely, you learned the basic English greetings before you even started investing time in your language skills. But if you want đồ sộ make the most of your first impression, there are a ton of more colourful ways đồ sộ say “hello”.
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Do you want đồ sộ know the most professional way đồ sộ greet colleagues on a đoạn Clip call? Some slang terms đồ sộ begin a text đồ sộ your little cousin? Or a specifically British-English “hello” đồ sộ amuse the bus driver on your next trip đồ sộ London? This ultimate list will guide you through the words and phrases đồ sộ greet anyone in English with confidence.
Sometimes you need đồ sộ use more formal or business language đồ sộ keep a professional tone. Here are the most common situations when such greetings are necessary:
- job interview
- business meeting
- communicating with top management or CEO
- chatting with a new colleague
- having a conversation with clients
- showing respect đồ sộ an older person
- speaking with someone you barely know
Use the following salutations đồ sộ start a formal conversation in any of these situations.
1. How tự you do?
If you are looking for a VERY formal phrase for someone you meet for the first time, this one will be the most suitable. While this salutation is quite uncommon today, you can still hear it from older people.
“Hello. How tự you do?” is perfect for a business dinner or a formal sự kiện, such as a conference. As per professional speech in every language, the most appropriate response is neutral or positive “I’m doing well thank you / Fine, thank you” đồ sộ keep some distance, even if you are actually having a very bad day!
If used as a formal greeting, sometimes “How tự you do” is, strangely, used as a statement rather kêu ca a question. This most often happens when shaking hands with someone for the first time. It is easy đồ sộ hear if this is the case: there will be no inflection at the over of the sentence. In this instance, the correct response is đồ sộ repeat the question back đồ sộ the asker in the same flat tone, “How tự you do?”
2. Nice đồ sộ meet you / Pleased đồ sộ meet you
This is one of the respectful greeting examples you can use replying đồ sộ someone you meet for the very first time. For example:
- A: Good morning. I’m Alex White from [Company].
- B: Nice đồ sộ meet you, Mr. White.
When people meet, it is a common practice đồ sộ shake hands. A handshake generally lasts for a few seconds, which gives enough time đồ sộ say “Pleased đồ sộ meet you”.
3. How have you been?
This is a polite way đồ sộ ask “How are you?” when you have not seen a person for a long time. Ask this question only if you have met someone before.
- A: How have you been?
- B: I’ve been busy working a lot. How about you?
The best way đồ sộ ensure that your greetings sound natural and confident is đồ sộ practice them aloud, preferably with a fluent speaker đồ sộ give you pointers. No-one đồ sộ practice with? Find your perfect tutor.
Download a list of English greetings for free
4. Good Morning / Good Afternoon / Good Evening
These ways of greeting people are used at different times of the day. Whether you speak with a regular customer, colleagues or new neighbors, these phrases are effective đồ sộ start the ball rolling.
The greetings change depending on the time of the day. For example, “Good morning” is generally used from 5:00 a.m. đồ sộ 12:00 p.m. whereas “Good afternoon” time is from 12:00 p.m. đồ sộ 6:00 p.m. “Good evening” is often used after 6 p.m. or when the sun goes down.
Keep in mind that “Goodnight” is not a salutation. In formal communication, it is used đồ sộ say goodbye. For example:
- It was nice đồ sộ meet you. Goodnight!
- Goodnight! See you tomorrow.
To show your respect, you can also add the person’s last name đồ sộ your greeting words. Usually, native English speakers tend đồ sộ be more informal even in business communication and use the person’s first name after the salutation:
- Good morning, Mr. Houston
- Good afternoon, Ms. Partridge
- Good morning, Tom
- Good evening, Kelly
It is also common đồ sộ say “Good morning, sir/madam” when greeting someone in a formal situation whose name is unknown. This is often heard by staff talking đồ sộ customers in shops, restaurants and hotels.
Want đồ sộ polish your conversational skills? Check out our article on the five main principles of small talk.
Formal greetings for letters and emails
In any language, many of the most formal conversations take place in written form: job applications, legal queries, complaints against a company. Here are the best ways đồ sộ greet someone in writing when you have something serious đồ sộ say.
You might also want đồ sộ kiểm tra out our handy guide đồ sộ writing emails in English.
5. Dear Sir or Madam
If you tự not know the name of the person you are sending a professional letter or tin nhắn đồ sộ then “Dear Sir or Madam” is the most common way đồ sộ start the conversation. It is clear, respectful, and đồ sộ the point. Some instances when this is useful include:
- When you are reaching out đồ sộ a department you would lượt thích đồ sộ work with
- When you are emailing a company
However, if you are able đồ sộ find the person you want đồ sộ talk đồ sộ with some online research, it is much more professional đồ sộ tự sánh and send a personalized formal greeting.
6. To Whom It May Concern
This is another professional way đồ sộ address an tin nhắn đồ sộ a stranger. It is a little old fashioned, but perfect if your formal tin nhắn is going đồ sộ be relevant đồ sộ a group of people, or if you want đồ sộ sound especially reserved. Suitable situations include:
- When you are emailing a whole department that you are unfamiliar with
- When you are sending a complaint đồ sộ a company
- When sending a reference letter for someone you used đồ sộ manage
7. To the Hiring Manager
If you are sending a job application or emailing an HR department about a role you would lượt thích đồ sộ apply for, “To the Hiring Manager” is a very useful greeting. It is particularly helpful if you are emailing a generic company-wide “info@” inbox because it signals that your message will be about a work opportunity, and immediately instructs whoever manages the inbox đồ sộ forward your message đồ sộ the HR department.
8. Dear Mr X / Mrs X / Ms X / Miss X / Prof X / Dr X
If you know the name and title of someone you are sending a formal tin nhắn đồ sộ, it is better đồ sộ begin the conversation with “Dear Mr [surname]” instead of “Dear sir or madam.”
In rare cases, the person you are emailing might use a salutation which signifies their profession. Doctors and academics who have a PhD sometimes use “Dr”, and college professors sometimes use “Prof”. Otherwise, you can use “Dear Mr [surname]” for a man, “Dear Mrs [surname]” for a married woman, or “Dear Miss [surname]” for an unmarried woman. If you tự not know the marital status of a woman you are emailing professionally, you should use “Ms [surname]”. If you tự not know the title of the person you want đồ sộ reach, or cannot guess their gender from their name, try looking them up on Linkedin.
Be aware: even when sending very formal professional messages, most people will switch đồ sộ “Dear [First name] after the first or second tin nhắn exchange. Usually, the person you have reached out đồ sộ will reply using “Dear [first name]”, and after this point, it is polite đồ sộ address them in the same way.
Want inspiration for the next line? Check out our guide on how đồ sộ start a letter and write a great hook.
When it comes đồ sộ a conversation with a neighbor or a chit-chat with colleagues during a coffee break, you can opt for these informal greetings. Situations where these fit naturally include:
- a casual meeting with colleagues
- having a conversation with your team at work
- networking events
- greeting neighbors
- chatting đồ sộ a friend
9. Hello / Hi / Hey
As you almost certainly know already, “Hello” and “Hi” are the most popular greetings for informal situations. Generally, they are followed by the person’s name:
- Hello, Michel. How are you?
- Hi, Monica. Nice đồ sộ see you!
As a rule, use “hey” with people you know well. It is perfectly okay đồ sộ start a conversation with a stranger in an informal situation with “hey” too, but tự not pronounce it too harshly in this case, or it can come across as rude or confrontational.
10. Morning / Afternoon / Evening
This is a friendly and warm way đồ sộ greet someone in most informal situations. It sounds particularly natural if you are just walking past someone who you relate đồ sộ informally but tự not have time for a long chat with, such as a postman, or a neighbor, or a cafe assistant. This said, it works just as well đồ sộ start a longer conversation.
11. How are you doing? / How’s it going?
This is a casual way of asking “How are you?” People prefer đồ sộ ask one of these questions after the main greeting. Usually, it is followed by a brief, positive answer. For instance:
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- A: Hello, Amanda! How are you doing?
- B: Fine, thanks. And you?
12. Nice đồ sộ see you / It’s great đồ sộ see you / Good đồ sộ see you
When you have not seen a person for a while or meet somebody unexpectedly, use one of these friendly greetings. You can use them at the beginning of a conversation, or just after the initial “hello”.
- Hello, Veronica. Nice đồ sộ see you there.
13. Long-time no see / It’s been a while
These common phrases are used đồ sộ greet an old friend or begin a conversation with a person you haven’t seen for a very long time. These expressions are often followed by questions lượt thích “How are you?” or “What’s new?” And it is a great way đồ sộ start small talk about what has happened since your last meeting.
- A: Hey, John! Long-time no see. How are you?
- B: I’m fine, thanks! What’s new?
- A: Hi, Taya. How’s it going?
- B: Good thanks.
- A: I haven’t seen you for ages.
- B: Yes, it’s been a while.
Want these phrases đồ sộ feel natural? Learn them by speaking with a tutor on Preply
Slang is fun đồ sộ learn: it’s informal and a little bit silly, and using it signifies đồ sộ someone that you’re on friendly terms. Here are some different ways đồ sộ say “hello” đồ sộ your good friends and younger relatives.
This funny greeting came from hip-hop culture in 1990s America. It is still commonly used in the US today.
15. What’s up?
This is a very common slang greeting used a lot both in person and over text message. It is a more relaxed way of greeting a friend by asking how they are doing, and what is new in their life. It is not rude and can be used with colleagues who you are close with, as well as family members and friends.
This is a short version of “What’s up?”, which was very popular in America in the early 2000s. Now it is mostly only used ironically or in text.
When texting or sending direct messages, some people lượt thích đồ sộ add extra “y”s at the over of “hey”. For some mysterious reason, this is most often used when flirting. The longer the tail of “y”s, the flirtier the message! More kêu ca three or four looks a little bit desperate though…
Knowing a few British English greetings will make you seem especially friendly when traveling đồ sộ the UK, showing from the very first impression that you want đồ sộ engage with the local culture. Here are some British “hello”s, perfect for testing out on the Queen, or on your mates down the pub!
18. Lovely đồ sộ meet you / Lovely đồ sộ see you
When greeting each other in a formal setting, British people are more likely đồ sộ describe it as “lovely” đồ sộ meet someone kêu ca “nice”. If you travel đồ sộ the UK, you will notice that many people use the word “lovely” đồ sộ mean the same as “fine” in American English. To British English speakers, it sounds kinder and more sincere.
19. Are you OK?
This is a British slang version of “Hello. How are you?” If your friend greets you lượt thích this, you can respond with “yeah, fine” or, if you want đồ sộ sound even more British, “not bad” — which means exactly the same thing.
20. Alright, mate? / Alright?
This is a very common slang way đồ sộ say a chilled-out “Hi” đồ sộ a friend. It is a shortened version of “Are you alright?”. Once again, a suitable and friendly answer is “Not bad, mate, you?”
This is a very common way of saying “hello”, especially in the North of England. It is also used a lot in text messaging.
22. What’s the craic?
This greeting is only used in Ireland, and “craic” is pronounced đồ sộ rhyme with the English words “crack” and “back”. It is a very warm phrase which means, “what is new with you?” or “have you got any interesting new gossip since we last met?”
Be careful though: if you use this phrase đồ sộ greet someone Irish and are not Irish yourself, it is possible that they might think you are making fun of them!
Hungry for some more British slang? Check out our guide đồ sộ the 40 most memorable British slang words for ESL learners
It is very difficult đồ sộ be funny in a new language (or difficult đồ sộ be funny on purpose, at least!). Being able đồ sộ understand and make jokes is often even seen as a sign of fluency. If you are still in the process of learning, slipping a silly or old-fashioned version of “hello” into a conversation is a simple way đồ sộ make someone laugh.
If you are learning English đồ sộ chat with a partner or friends, surprising them with one of these weird conversation starters can be very funny. Here are some less serious “hellos” and tips on when đồ sộ try them for maximum effect.
This is a very old greeting that dates all the way back đồ sộ Old English, and was once used by sailors đồ sộ Call ships. Nowadays, it is only really spoken by Spongebob and other ocean-based cartoon characters. It is just as silly when written in a text message as in person.
24. Hello stranger!
This is sometimes used when greeting friends that you haven’t seen in a little while. It is a jokier version of “long time, no see”.
25. ‘Ello, gov’nor!
This is a shortened version of “Hello, governor”, a greeting used by tradespeople in Victorian London, đồ sộ show respect when talking đồ sộ upper class members of society. Dropping the “H” from the “Hello” is intended đồ sộ make the pronunciation sound similar đồ sộ the famous “cockney” accent, associated with the East of London. Today, it is only really used by people teasing their British colleagues!
This is a ridiculous way đồ sộ say “Good morning”. It is unnecessarily formal and associated with old-fashioned poetry, sánh using it in real conversation is definitely pretty silly!
27. What’s crackin’?
This is another way of saying, “What’s up?” or “What’s going on?”.
28. What’s up buttercup?
This is a very rarely-used greeting, but will definitely make someone laugh. A buttercup is a delicate yellow flower which grows in grass, and also a very common thing đồ sộ name your pet cow. It is quite funny đồ sộ address an adult as “buttercup”.
This is an abbreviation of “How tự you do?” stereotypically used in some regions of Canada and America. Now, it is mostly only used by cartoon cowboys.
A brief afterword
A well-chosen “hello” sets the tone for any conversation, whether talking đồ sộ a close friend or someone you barely know.
Don’t be afraid đồ sộ try out these new expressions in your daily communication. Armed with these words and phrases, you can start almost any conversation off in a more vibrant and fluent way.
Want đồ sộ speak with confidence as quickly as possible? Find a personal English tutor perfectly suited đồ sộ your budget and schedule.
FAQ about English greetings
What are simple greetings?
The simplest greetings are the old-fashioned "hello," "hey," or "hi." You can use these in almost any situation!
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How tự you say hello in a xinh đẹp way?
If you want đồ sộ be a little less formal and little more friendly, you can go with "hey there," or, even better for over text or instant message, "hey there :)." Another xinh đẹp greeting is đồ sộ say hello in a different language, e.g. "hola."
How tự you greet someone in chat?
A chat is generally informal, sánh saying "hey" or something even friendlier (and slang-ier) lượt thích "yo" or "what's up" will tự.
How tự you respectfully greet someone?
The most respectful greetings are formal ones lượt thích "hello," or time-related greetings lượt thích "good morning" or "good evening." To make it even more respectful, add the listener's formal title afterwards, lượt thích "hello, Mr. or Mrs. ______," or even "hello, sir or ma'am."