How to Greet People in English
Greet People in English

How to Greet People in English

Greetings! They are the first interaction between people; but how do we greet people in English?

Whether it’s the first time for two business people to meet, or it’s a meeting of old friends over a cup of coffee; the way in which we greet people in English will leave a lasting impression on how they think of us.

Therefore, it is important to greet people in a certain way depending on the occasion or event.

In this blog, we will be looking at the different ways in which we can greet people in English, depending on the social purpose. Here we go!

1 - Formal Greetings in English

Formal Greet People in English

A formal situation means that we need to hold a certain level of politeness and a high standard with our language.

For instance, a formal meeting of people usually occurs when the people involved have not met each other before; or they are holding an important meeting together.

Formal language is also used in situations where people are trying to make a very good impression of themselves, for example, in an interview as mentioned below.

Here are some examples of situations that require formal greetings;

  1. A business meeting or a high-level management meeting.
  2. A job interview.
  3. Communicating with clients or customers.
  4. Communicating with managers or higher-level associates.
  5. Elderly people.
  6. People that we are meeting for the first time.

Now that we know who we should use formal greetings on, let’s take a look at how we should greet them! These are great examples of how to greet people in English using formal language.

For example, we could say;

  • Hello, nice to meet you!
  • Good morning / Good afternoon / Good evening!
  • It’s nice to see you again! (If you have met the person before)
  • It’s a pleasure to meet you / Pleased to meet you! (These examples are used when you have met someone for the very first time)

2 - Informal Greetings in English

An informal situation means that it is more casual and relaxed than a formal meeting, therefore, we can use a more relaxed language.

For example, informal situations could be between co-workers or people that we see regularly.

Have a look at the situations in which it is appropriate to use informal language to greet people in English;

  1. When we are talking to our colleagues and co-workers.
  2. Clients or customers that we know very well.
  3. Networking fairs or events.
  4. Neighbors or people that we may interact with often, such as at the local coffee shop or supermarket.
  5. If you are a parent, the other parent’s from your child’s school.

Now that we can see the correct context in which to greet someone informally, let’s see how we should greet them!

  • Hi! / Hey! / Hello!
  • Morning! / Afternoon! / Evening!
  • Good to see you!
  • Long time no see! / It’s been ages! **You can use these greetings if you have not seen the person for a while**

As well as this, you could also follow up these greetings with an open question such as;

  • How are things?
  • What’s new?
  • How are you?
  • What have you been up to? (This means what have you been doing recently)
  • How have you been?

3 - Very Informal (Slang)

Greet People in English

Slang is a very informal language used between people who know each other very well.

A very informal situation is one that is very relaxed and easy-going.

In other words, it is probably the most comfortable situation to be in as we don’t need to worry about being overly-polite in our language.

Take a look at some of the situations where it is OK to greet people in English using slang. For instance;

  1. When we are talking to our family.
  2. When we are talking to our friends.
  3. If we are talking with close co-workers.
  4. When we interact with people at a party, bar or other very laid-back social settings.

**We may use slang when we first meet someone, but only when it is in a relaxed social setting. When we meet someone new at work for example; the greeting should be kept formal. **

Now that we have learned who we can greet using slang, let’s learn how we can greet them using slang!

  • Hey there!
  • How’s it going?!
  • What’s happening?!
  • Yo!
  • Whassup!

Here you can view the top 10 slang words in English of 2019.

How many of these ways to greet People in English did you already know?

That’s it! So; do you think you can start greeting people using these phrases, depending on the social situation?

These phrases are all appropriate to use, but it is important that they are used in the correct conditions!

For instance; When you go to visit your Grandma; will you greet her by saying “Good afternoon Grandma! It’s nice to see you again!” Probably not. It’s more likely to be; “Hey Grandma! Good to see you! How have you been?”.

Similarly, if you are at an interview for a new job, it’s probably best not to greet the interviewer by saying; “Yo, what’s happening?”. You will likely not get the job!!

To sum up; it’s about learning what to say in what situation, and all you need to do is learn it and practice it. 

So, what are you waiting for; go greet people in English!

If you want to learn more great expressions; be sure to check out our bookstore!

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Are you working on your English listening skills? Have a look at our 14 Tips to improve your English listening skills.

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