Greeting People in English

Formal and Informal Ways of Saying 'Hello' and 'Goodbye'

People meeting
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When meeting people, there is a number of greetings you can use in English. These depend on whether you are arriving somewhere, leaving, meeting people you already know, or meeting someone for the first time.

Depending on the situation, there are formal and informal ways of greeting each other. However, there is some overlap between the two, and you can almost never go wrong using some of the formal expressions in other settings as well.

Meeting People

When arriving at your destination or meeting people during the day, use the following phrases:

Formal

Hello.
Good morning/afternoon/evening.
How are you (doing)?
(It's) nice/good/great to see you.
How is your day (going)?

Informal

Hi.
Hey (man).
How's it going?
How is everything/life?
How are things?
What's up/new?
What's going on?
How have you been?
Long-time no see.
It's been a while.

Example Dialogues

Person 1: Good morning, John.
Person 2: Good morning. How are you?

Person 1: What's up?
Person 2: Nothing much. You?

Leaving People

At departure, there is also a variety of ways you can be polite or friendly:

Formal

Goodbye.
Bye.
It was nice to meet you.
It was nice meeting you.
Goodnight.
Have a good night.

Informal

See you.
See you soon/next time/later/tomorrow.
I have to go now.
I have to get going.
(It was) good seeing you.
Take care (of yourself).
Till next time.

Example Dialogues

Person 1: I have to get going, Sam. It was good seeing you today.
Person 2: You, too. See you soon again. Bye!

Person 1: Goodbye, Lucy. It was nice to meet you.
Person 2: Bye, John. You as well. Take care.

Meeting People for the First Time

When introduced to someone for the first time, especially in a formal situation, use the greetings below. For informal greetings, you can either use some of these expressions or choose from the informal greetings listed above.

Formal

Hello, it's a pleasure to meet you.
(It's) (very) nice to meet you.
Pleased/Glad/Good to meet you.
How do you do.

Example of a Formal Dialogue

Person: Ken, meet Steve.
Ken: Hello, it's a pleasure to meet you.
Steve: How do you do, Ken.
Ken: How do you do.

Note: The reply to "How do you do" is "How do you do." This is appropriate when you meet someone for the first time.

Examples of Informal Dialogues

Person 1: Jessica, this is Laura.
Person 2: Hi, Laura. I'm Jessica. How are you?
Laura: Hi, I'm fine. Good to meet you

Person 1: James, this is my friend Andrew.
James: What's up?
Andrew: What's up?