Languages › English as a Second Language Social Greetings in the English Language Share Flipboard Email Print Basic Conversations for English Language Learners Introduction Asking and Answering Questions How to Ask and Answer Simple Questions How to Ask Polite Questions How to Ask for Permission Giving and Requesting Personal Information Check Your Knowledge: Basic English Questions Greetings and Introductions Formal and Informal Greetings How to Introduce Yourself and Others Check Your Knowledge: Introductions and Greetings Numbers and Time Talking About Numbers How to Tell Time Using "How Much" and "How Many" Check Your Knowledge: "How Much" and "How Many" Telephone Conversations Important Phrases for Phone Calls Making Telephone Calls Eating Out and Shopping Eating at a Restaurant Going to a Bar Going Shopping Check Your Knowledge: Eating at a Restaurant Traveling At the Airport Asking for and Giving Directions Staying at a Hotel or Motel Check Your Knowledge: Taking a Trip Going to the Doctor Making a Doctor's Appointment Talking About Joint Pain Check Your Knowledge: Going to the Doctor Tom Merton / Getty Images Table of Contents Expand Formal Greetings: Arriving Informal Greetings: Arriving Informal Greetings After a Long Time Formal Greetings: Departing Informal Greetings: Departing Greetings in Informal Conversations: Practice Dialogue Greetings in Formal Conversations: Practice Dialogue Notes By Kenneth Beare English as a Second Language (ESL) Expert TESOL Diploma, Trinity College London M.A., Music Performance, Cologne University of Music B.A., Vocal Performance, Eastman School of Music Kenneth Beare is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and course developer with over three decades of teaching experience. our editorial process Kenneth Beare Updated August 19, 2019 Greetings are used to say hello in English. It's common to use different greetings depending on whether you greet a friend, family or a business associate. When you meet friends, use informal greetings. If it's really important, use formal greetings. Formal greetings are also used with people you do not know very well. Greetings also depend on whether you are saying hello, or you are saying goodbye. Learn the correct phrases using the notes below, and then practice using greetings with the practice dialogues. Formal Greetings: Arriving Good morning / afternoon / evening.Hello (name), how are you?Good day Sir / Madam (very formal) Respond to a formal greeting with another formal greeting. Good morning Mr. Smith.Hello Ms. Anderson. How are you today? Informal Greetings: Arriving Hi / HelloHow are you?How are you doing?What's up? (very informal) It's important to note that the question How are you? or What's up? doesn't necessarily need a response. If you do respond, these phrases are generally expected: How are you? / How are you doing? Very well, thank you. And you? (formal)Fine / Great (informal) What's up? Not much.I'm just (watching TV, hanging out, cooking dinner, etc.) Informal Greetings After a Long Time If you haven't seen a friend or family member for a long time, use one these informal greetings to mark the occasion. It's great to see you!How have you been? Long time, no see. How are you doing these days? Formal Greetings: Departing Use these greetings when you say goodbye at the end of the day. These greetings are appropriate for work and other formal situations. Good morning / afternoon / evening.It was a pleasure seeing you.Goodbye.Goodnight. (Note: Use after 8 p.m.) Informal Greetings: Departing Use these greetings when saying goodbye in an informal situation. Nice seeing you!Goodbye / ByeSee you laterLater (very informal) Here are some short example conversations for you to practice greetings in English. Find a partner to practice and take a role. Next, switch roles. Finally, make up your own conversations. Greetings in Informal Conversations: Practice Dialogue Anna: Tom, what's up?Tom: Hi Anna. Nothing much. I'm just hanging out. What's up with you?Anna: It's a good day. I'm feeling fine.Tom: How is your sister?Anna: Oh, fine. Not much has changed.Tom: Well, I have to go. Nice seeing you!Anna: Later! *** Maria: Oh, hello Chris. How are you doing?Chris: I'm well. Thanks for asking. How are you?Maria: I can't complain. Life is treating me well.Chris: That's good to hear.Maria: Good to see you again. I need to go to my doctor's appointment.Chris: Nice seeing you.Maria: See you later. Greetings in Formal Conversations: Practice Dialogue John: Good morning.Alan: Good morning. How are you?John: I'm very well thank you. And you?Alan: I'm fine. Thank you for asking.John: Do you have a meeting this morning?Alan: Yes, I do. Do you have a meeting as well?John: Yes. Well. It was a pleasure seeing you.Alan: Goodbye. Notes Greeting someone when you are introduced. Once you have been introduced to someone, the next time you see that person it is important to greet them. We also greet people as we leave people. In English (as in all languages), there are different ways to greet people in formal and informal situations. Introduction (first) Greeting: How do you do? The question 'How do you do' is only a formality. In other words, the question does not need to be answered. Rather, it is a standard phrase used when meeting some for the first time. Tom: Peter, I'd like to introduce you to Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith this is Peter Thompson. Peter: How do you do?Mr. Smith: How do you do? Use these phrases to say that you are happy to meet someone when introduced for the first time. It's a pleasure to meet you.It's nice to meet you. Greetings after an Introduction: How are you? Once you have met someone, it's common to use standard greetings such as 'Good Morning', 'How are you?' and 'Hello'. Jackson: Hi Tom. How are you?Peter: Fine, and you? Jackson: I'm great.