23 Different Ways to Greet Someone in English

screenshot-2016-12-28-18-30-51Pop Quiz: What does every conversation have in common?

Answer: They all have a beginning and and end (goodbyes/ farewells).

Now think for a moment, how many ways do you know how to greet someone in English?

You probably learned basic greetings like, “Hello” and “How are you?” which are useful in a wide range of situations, but they are kind of boring.

leia em português | leia en español

Why Greetings Are Important

When I first came to Brazil I didn’t understand how important greetings were when meeting new people. I used to greet people by saying, “Hola,” which nobody else does.

The result of saying this is that people would think that I didn’t speak Portuguese and would ask my friends questions about me instead of asking me directly.

I was pretty annoyed by this but I realized it was my own fault that they treated me like that because I didn’t greet them in a way that they were expecting. Once I started saying things like, “E ai cara, beleza” (a popular Brazilian greeting) people started treating me like a normal person.

Because greetings are a part of every conversation, it is important to know how to use them properly and with confidence. Its easy to become fluent with their use because you have an opportunity to practice them every time you talk to someone.

Over the course of a day you can practice dozens of times until you have achieved total confidence in their use.

The first moments of an interaction you have with someone are crucial because they set the tone for the conversation to follow. If you start a conversation doubting yourself and unsure of what you’re saying this will effect your performance for the rest of the conversation.

But if you can effortlessly use the right greetings then you will feel confident during the rest of the conversation.

It’s important that you feel confident when greeting someone because they will quickly form a first impression of you that may be hard to change later on. If you greet someone with confidence they will feel more comfortable with you and will form a positive first impression.

If you stumble around and aren’t sure of what you’re doing, they may misjudge your true level of English and speak to you differently than you’d like.

In order for you to gain confidence and control during conversations here is a list of greetings that you can use.

General greetings (Formal)

These greetings can be used in any formal situation, such as a business meeting or meeting someone’s parents, and they can also be used in informal situations as well.

  • Hello
  • How are you? or How’re you?
  • How are you doing? or How ya doin’?

This is different than “What are you doing.” “How are you doing?” means “How are you?” whereas “What are you doing?” is asking what action you are currently doing.

  • How is everything?
  • How’s everything going?

General greetings (Informal)

These greetings can be used in any informal situation. To show extra enthusiasm you can add “Hey” to the beginning of these greetings.

  • (Hey) What’s up (man/dude/bro/their name)?
  • (Hey) Good to see you.
  • (Hey) How are things (with you)?
  • (Hey) How’s it going?

The pronunciation can be shortened to “goin’.” A typical response to this question is “It’s going good.”

  • How’s life been treating you?
  • What’s cracking?

The pronunciation is often shortened to “crackin’.” This is highly informal and should only be used with people around your age. Its similar in use to “What’s up?”

  • What’s good?
  • What’s happening?

The pronunciation is often shortened to “happenin’.”

Greeting a person you haven’t seen for a long time (Formal)

  • It has been a long time.
  • It’s been too long.
  • What have you been up to all these years?
  • It’s always a pleasure to see you.
  • How long has it been?
  • What’s new?

Greeting a person you haven’t seen for a long time (Informal)

  • Long time no see.

This is the most common.

  • Where have you been hiding?

This is a playful way of greeting someone.

  • It’s been ages (since I’ve seen you).
  • How’ve you been?

Now that you have this list of greetings at your disposal, go out in to the world and start practicing them. Make sure you use them with confidence so that you make a good first impression. Try to use a different greeting every time you have English class or meet with your English speaking friends.

If you liked this article, you will probably enjoy 26 Ways to Say Goodbye, which will show you how to end a conversation is a smooth and fluent manner.

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What is your favorite way of greeting someone?

If you liked this article, maybe you’ll enjoy How to Make a Fluent First Impression.

Return from 23 Different Ways to Greet Someone in English to Fluency Essentials

46 Comments

  1. Ron on July 23, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Great stuff.

    I especially like the video. Seems like you guys have a good time down there.

    Ron

  2. Justin Murray on November 6, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Hey Ethan Zinho.

    • Ethan Zinho on November 6, 2012 at 1:04 am

      Haha you called Meru a she! Elisa!!

  3. Nikitha Roy on November 22, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Greeting people when we meet them is a good habbit.I always say Hi or Hello when I meet someone and then start my conversation.I still wanted to know some common words or common pharses used to greet people I am watching videos like this http://youtu.be/9WblArYuYqo to learn how to greet people.

  4. Vanil Martins Dos Reis on January 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Good tips, thank you!

  5. Hafiz Hizers on March 9, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I just love to use the greething manner like hey you, what's up, good to see you, its always a pleasure to meet you, 😀 thks for yr lovely information,.

  6. Rocker Black on April 20, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    goood! thanks!

  7. Nualjan Khemtong on May 15, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Hello! How are you? Thank you for this technique.

    • Justin on May 15, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Hey Nualjan, Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it!

  8. Fabian Keya on September 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    your delivery was great , you are real incredible keep it up.

  9. Asim Khan on September 23, 2013 at 8:20 am

    nice greetings…………………………thanks

  10. Ljerka Degmecic on December 6, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Nice,thank you Ethan!!

  11. lakkshana rajkumar on February 13, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    really awesome to greet my enemy

  12. ricky young on March 12, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    this has really helped me with my problems with greeting people !!!
    thanks so much 🙂

  13. ricky young on March 12, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Once again, this is absolutely brilliant!!!!! 🙂

  14. Senaka Bandara on March 16, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    thanks a lot for you for given such a great things to the people . thanks again.

  15. Sreemukha Siddanthi on March 28, 2014 at 11:52 am

    wooow flambouant stuff…tq…im afraid is this greeting okay like"hey wass up buddy"

  16. komathi on April 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    all the greetings sound so good and i learn some from they THANK YOU………

  17. Dylan Ells on April 7, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    very useful & helpful. thanks.

  18. Mohamed Fuaad on July 17, 2014 at 1:47 am

    well done man hanks alot

  19. Patcharin Katch on October 28, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you.

  20. Vimpattra Rmutsv on January 19, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Thanks!

  21. Axcelnahishakiye Nahishakiye on February 10, 2015 at 6:47 am

    i can get enough

  22. Rifendtia Cindy Olavita on February 12, 2015 at 3:35 am

    I hate my english teacher

  23. Raushan Essop on March 4, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Josh sorry for the personal question, but what qualifications do you have and how are you coping financially with this job?

  24. Paul L. Romano on April 5, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    The proper and correct formal English greeting for someone you have never met before is "how do you do?". And the proper response is "how do you do?". One does NOT say "fine, thank you". Just "how do you do".

  25. Asunta Bhanga on April 7, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Why do you hate your english teacher?

  26. mustapha on April 28, 2015 at 4:57 am

    This is the case that you have once met the person then he /she said to you, how do you do. What will be the correct response back

    • Justin on April 28, 2015 at 10:08 am

      The grammatically correct response is “well,” but a lot of native speakers say “good.” I hope that helps!

  27. Sarah on May 10, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Hello. Useful lesson. But I wish you could teach us what to answer to all the greeting. What to answer to : How’s life been treating you?
    What’s cracking?
    Or many others.
    Thanks. 🙂

  28. Neela Kanteshwar on May 12, 2015 at 9:56 am

    You seem like english teacher!!

  29. mustafa on September 2, 2015 at 11:08 am

    thanks really helped me, and all of them was good ways
    thanks alot

  30. mustafa on September 2, 2015 at 11:08 am

    thanks really helped me, and all of them was good ways
    thanks alot

  31. Francesco de Vincentis on April 16, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Really useful for a chimpanzee (like me) who are learning English. Thanks …… BRO!

  32. Crixies Lucius Gauis on April 18, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    Hello? And then you respond like hello, how are you?

  33. Crixies Lucius Gauis on April 18, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    I mean. Hello? Then you repond like, hello. Is this correct?

  34. Ram Puri on April 26, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Good reservoir

  35. Sofia on September 13, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Very very helpful

  36. Julia Schouw on February 28, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    I’m British so I know most of these things or greetings.

  37. Julia Schouw on February 28, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    I’m a native English speaker.

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