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.

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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

  • Hey Ethan Zinho.

  • Nikitha Roy says:

    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.

  • Good tips, thank you!

  • Hafiz Hizers says:

    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,.

  • Rocker Black says:

    goood! thanks!

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

    • Justin says:

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

  • Fabian Keya says:

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

  • Asim Khan says:

    nice greetings…………………………thanks

  • Nice,thank you Ethan!!

  • lakkshana rajkumar says:

    really awesome to greet my enemy

  • ricky young says:

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

  • ricky young says:

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

  • Senaka Bandara says:

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

  • Sreemukha Siddanthi says:

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

  • komathi says:

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

  • Dylan Ells says:

    very useful & helpful. thanks.

  • well done man hanks alot

  • i can get enough

  • Rifendtia Cindy Olavita says:

    I hate my english teacher

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

  • 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".

  • Why do you hate your english teacher?

  • Justin says:

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

  • mustafa says:

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

  • mustafa says:

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

  • Sofia says:

    Very very helpful

  • Julia Schouw says:

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

  • Julia Schouw says:

    I’m a native English speaker.

  • Shehu says:

    They are good. But what do you say when you return home from somewhere? Like when someone at home says welcome or before they do.

  • NAN says:

    That was one of the best videos I have ever watched.

  • Abdirashid says:

    it is my pleasure to be among the member of this interesting page and i hope i will my role

    • Justin says:

      Aww yeah, Abdirashid. Great to have you with us! Thanks for saying hi.

  • Abdirashid says:

    i am not a native and i want learn English in short period

  • Justin says:

    Our pleasure!!

  • aluwani says:

    I’m joyously unrestrained and enthusiastic , for that help

  • Mariz says:

    It’s better to answer Hi.

  • marcos says:

    Definitly , the tips of yours are awsome!

  • Mohammed Ezzati says:

    I’m an English teacher in Iran, I use your lessons in classes, they are useful and interesting. Thanks so much for all your lessons.

  • siska says:

    could you tell me the source of book (reference) that you read to make this article?

    • Justin says:

      Our own native brains!

  • Juan Manuel says:

    that was funny jajajajajajajaja

  • Nursultan says:

    How is it going?

  • Jussára Spader says:

    I can’t understand why people usually say “they don’t teach you this/that at school. I used to teach in different public schools and I taught them different ways to greet such as What’s up? How’s everything? What’ve you been doing? How’ve you been? Inclusive gonna, wanna,…. I think that people could teach different ways to day something but not necessarily mention schools.

    • Agnieszka from RealLife English says:

      Jus, I believe you were an awesome teacher!