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Ways to say Hello

Basic words and phrases to say Hello

  • Hello - This is a classic way to greet someone.

  • Hi - It is the shortest way to say hello.

  • Hey - This is another short and casual hello, usually used with someone you know.

  • Hey girl / Hey bro / Hey dude - Use slang for a casual hello with close friends and acquaintances, but  be careful, not everyone wants to be called “bro” or “girl!” 

  • Hi there, Hey there, Hi man - Other informal hello, “Hi there!” can be used with someone you know well, like a friend, neighbor or co-worker.

  • Good Morning / Good afternoon / Good evening - It is customary to use these greetings at certain times of the day. 

  • Greetings

  • Hiya / Howdy / Hey ya'll - People in the South use this as an informal way to say hello.  In the South people use “y’all” to refer to a group of people. It is short for “you all.”

Keep the conversation moving:

When people start off an English conversation with “How are you?” they usually don’t expect you to go into much detail. Think of the “How are you?” question as a simple way to get the conversation going. This is what we call “exchanging pleasantries.”

  • How are you? - This is the most popular way to ask this question.

  • How are ya? - We use “ya” instead of “you” to make it less formal.

  • What's up? / How are things? / How's it going? - keep the conversation going. You may want to add a simple “hello” to your response just to acknowledge the person, like “Hi there! How are you?” or “Hey man. What’s up?”

  • Whazzup? / Sup? - “What’s up?” and all its variants are slang for “How are you?” Use this mostly with friends.

  • Good to see you / Good to see you again / Great to see you / Nice to see you / Nice to see you again - This greeting is used very often when you see a friend or relative you haven’t seen in a while.

  • How's everyone? / How's everyone doing? - When we ask about “everyone” we are asking about our conversation partner’s family or friends. It shows your partner that you care about their people.

  • What's happening? - This is another slang version of “How are you?” When someone asks you this don’t tell them literally what is happening in the moment!

  • Long time, no see / It's been a while - Slang. We use this version when we haven't seen the person in a while. People love to remark about how long it’s been since they’ve seen somebody. It’s a way to say “I miss you.” without saying it.

  • What's shaking? / What's shakin' - Slang. We use slang we are signalling comfort with our conversation partner. This is a very casual way to ask “How are you?”

  • How have you been? / How are you doing? /How are you doing today? - This is just another way to ask “How are you?” but more focused on the (recent) past.

  • What are you up to these days? / What's new? - These versions of “How are you?” are more specific and typically asked by an old friend. If you are asked this, it’s ok to talk about your job and more recent events in your life. 

  • What have you been up to?

  • How are you feeling? / Doing Ok? / Everything Ok? - Sometimes we just want to know if things are normal.

  • How are you holding up? - This is a way to say “How are you?” when we know someone has gone through a tragedy, difficulty or illness.

  • Good afternoon, sir/ma'am, how are you today? / Good afternoon, how may I help you? - These are professional ways to great a customer.

Response to the above greetings:

  • Hello / Hi - polite.

  • Hi there / Hey man - informal

  • Nice to meet you / Pleased to meet you - Formal. Polite. We use this when we are being introduced to a person for the first time.

Mirror Response to greetings:

If someone says “It’s nice to see you!” Respond with “It’s nice to see you too!”

If they say “It’s been a while!” respond with “Yes, it has been a while.”

If you simply mirror someone you are signalling to your conversation partner that it is their turn to continue the conversation. You can also ask them a question back if you want a more detailed talk.

Add a question from above "Keep the conversation moving" like “What’s new with you?” or “What else is new?” to start a full conversation.

Good conversations in English start with “hello” and responding. It takes practice to move past the greeting.

Are you having trouble making conversation in English?

Try Learn It Town online English classes. Practice real conversations with our expert tutors. They will show you your mistakes and build your confidence quickly. Sign up for class today and we’ll show you how to get past “Hello!”



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