How to say Hello in English

Greetings in Passing

It is polite to greet a person you know. However, you don’t always have time to stop and have a conversation. Just remember to smile as you say hello. A small wave is also polite. Sometimes you pass the same person a second time on the same day. You can say “hello again” or just smile.
Tips

* Slow down to greet someone you know. You don’t have to stop what you are doing (walking, working, shopping).
* Say an appropriate form of hello.
* Smile and wave.

Useful phrases

Read:

* Hello
* Hi
* Good morning
* Good afternoon
* Good evening*
* Hey, John.
* How’s it goin’?**

*Good night is a farewell (goodbye) phrase. It is NOT a greeting to use at night time.
**Native speakers often shorten “going” to “goin” in casual greetings.
Slang greetings in passing

Using slang in a greeting is typical between close friends. Teens often use slang when they greet each other. Certain English speaking countries also have their own popular form of “hello”.

Read:

* Howdy
* Hiya
* Whazzup?
* Yo
* G’day (Australia)

Greetings before a Conversation

Sometimes you stop and talk for a minute as you say hello. This type of greeting is followed by a conversation. Close friends often hug when they greet each other, especially after a long time without seeing one other. Men sometimes give each other a hand shake or a high-five (touch palms above the head).

Tips

* Stand near a person and say hello.
* Express happiness to see a person.
* Ask a question or begin a conversation.

Useful Phrases:

* Nice to see you.
* Long time no see. (I haven’t seen you in a while.)
* What have you been up to?
* How are things?
* It’s been a while. (It’s been a while since I’ve seen you.)
* What’s new?
* Not much. (answer to What’s new?)

Pair Practice (casual between friends or coworker)

Read:

A: Hi Corey.
B: Hey, Jennifer. Good to see you. (hug)
A: You too. How’ve you been?
B: Busy, you?
A: Pretty good. How’s your new job?
B: It’s okay. There’s a lot to learn. What’s new with you?
A: Not much. The kids are back at school.

Note: Between very close friends it’s uncommon to use names in a casual greeting. Sometimes nicknames or short forms are used. (Cor and Jen instead of Corey and Jennifer).
Further Practice for Pairs

* Add a third speaker and create your own lines.
* Add an unexpected interruption (bus arrives, friend comes out of a store, child fusses).
* Write the next four lines between the two speakers.
* Write an inappropriate line and explain why it should not be part of the greeting.
* Create a new dialogue that takes place between people who start up a conversation.

EnglishClub.com – because people speak English

Greetings in the Classroom

It is polite to greet a new student that joins your class. Introductions immediately follow this type of greeting.

Tips

* Say hello and exchange names.
* Exchange nationalities.
* Engage in one line of small talk (weather, surroundings, news).

Useful Phrases

* I’m from…(city or country)*
* I hear it’s beautiful/hot/expensive there.
* How do you like it here?
* How long have you been here?

*Learners often say “I come from…” instead of “I’m from…”. Native speakers use “come from” for things or animals, not people: The toys come from China. Milk comes from cows.
Pair Practice

Read:

A: Hello. I’m Sasha.
B: Hi Sasha. I’m Brent. (hold out hand to shake)
A: Nice to meet you Brent. Where are you from?
B: Chicago, Illinois. And you?
A: I’m from Australia. I live in a small town near Sydney.
B: Australia. Wow. I’ve always wanted to go there. How long have you been in Canada?
A: I just arrived this week. It’s my first day of school.
B: Really? I think you’ll love Vancouver. It’s not too hot and not too cold.
Further Practice for Pairs

* Add a third speaker and create your own lines.
* Add an unexpected interruption (attendance being called, lesson starting).
* Write the next four lines between the two speakers.
* Write an inappropriate line and explain why it should not be part of the greeting.
* Create a new dialogue that takes place between people in a classroom setting.

EnglishClub.com – because people speak English

Greetings in Business

Proper etiquette is important in business greetings. Make sure to use polite language such as “please” and “thank you”. Appropriate titles and gestures should also be used. Shaking hands is common in most English speaking countries. It is also important to smile.
Tips

* Introduce yourself with name and title.
* Shake hands.
* Express happiness to meet the other person.
* Give or accept directions.

Useful Phrases

* Please have a seat.
* Thanks for agreeing to meet with me.
* He’ll be right with you.
* Can I offer you something to drink?
* My pleasure.

Pair Practice

Read:
A: Hello. I’m Mia Conners.
B: Hi Mia. I’m David Sinclair, and this is my partner Gina Evans. (hold out hand to shake)
A: Nice to meet you Mr. Sinclair and Ms Evans. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.
B: It’s our pleasure. And please, call us David and Gina. Can I take your coat?
A: Thank you.
B: No problem. Please take a seat and we’ll be right with you. I just have to take make a quick phone call.
Further Practice for Pairs

* Add a third speaker and create your own lines.
* Add an unexpected interruption (phone call, fax coming in, secretary).
* Write the next four lines between the two speakers.
* Write an inappropriate line and explain why it should not be part of the greeting.
* Create a new dialogue that takes place between people in a business situation.

Greetings at a Party or Social Event

It is polite to greet many people at a social event. This is called “mingling”. After you greet people you know look for people you haven’t met before. Introduce yourself and start a conversation.
Tips

* Say hello and introduce yourself to a person who is not in a conversation.
* Talk about your relationship to the host.
* Discuss one party related item (food, theme, length of stay).

Useful Phrases:

* Who are you here with?
* How do you know Jane? (party host)
* I don’t think we’ve met.
* Have you been here long?
* Have you tried the cheese dip/dessert/punch?
* Where did you get your costume?
* The food looks great. I can’t wait to try the dip.
* I love your dress/shirt/hat. It really suits you. (looks good on you)
* These decorations are wonderful. I love the table cloth/balloons/flowers.

Pair Practice

Read:

A: I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Stacey. (hold out hand to shake)
B: Hi Stacey. I’m Carl.
A: Hi Carl. So, how do you know Jane?
B: Oh, Jane and I used to work together at a coffee shop.
A: Oh, you mean when you were working in Japan?
B: That’s right. And how do you know her?
A: Actually, Jane is my cousin. Our moms are sisters.
B: No way! You two don’t look anything alike.
Further Practice for Pairs

* Add a third speaker and create your own lines.
* Add an unexpected interruption (phone ringing, new friend arrives, host needs help).
* Write the next four lines between the two speakers.
* Write an inappropriate line and explain why it should not be part of the greeting.
* Create a new dialogue that takes place between people in a social setting.

EnglishClub.com – because people speak English

Greetings in a Friend’s Home

When you go into a friend’s home, it is polite to greet other people (relatives/roommates) in the house. Say hello and introduce yourself. A conversation may or may not follow.
Tips

* Introduce yourself to people you don’t know.
* Express happiness to meet the other person.
* Make small talk.

Useful Phrases

* You can call me…
* Thanks for coming.
* Thanks for having me.
* I’ve heard so much about you.
* It’s nice to put a face to a name.
* You have a beautiful home.

Pair Practice

Read:

A: Hi Mike. I’ve heard all about you. Jesse says you love to play guitar.
B: Yes I do, Mrs. Simpson. Nice to meet you.
A: We’re glad to finally be able to meet you. Dinner will be ready in about twenty minutes.
B: Is there anything I can do to help?
A: No, everything is pretty much ready. We’re just waiting on the roast. I hope you like roast beef.
B: Yes, of course. Jesse tells me you are a fabulous cook.
Further Practice for Pairs

* Add a third speaker and create your own lines.
* Add an unexpected interruption (phone call, sneeze, doorbell).
* Write the next four lines between the two speakers.
* Write an inappropriate line and explain why it should not be part of the greeting.
* Create a new dialogue that takes place in a friend’s home.

EnglishClub.com – because people speak English

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