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Common greetings in English

Making a good first impression is crucial, and you don’t want to make any missteps at the very beginning of an oral or written conversation. Lingoda breaks down the different English greetings and their meaning for you!

Learn More About the English Greetings

One of the most crucial elements of learning a new language is developing an understanding of different greetings and the way in which they are used. After all, there are so many different opening and closing greetings to choose from, and one that is completely appropriate in one setting may be inappropriate or even offensive in another.

This is because some greetings are considered to be formal, or professional, while others are much more informal, or casual. Moreover, some greetings are intended for both oral and written usage, while others are only suitable for one or the other. Therefore, understanding how and when greetings are used is essential.

For instance, the greeting you opt to use at the beginning of a formal job application would likely be very different from the way you would begin a casual email to a close friend. At the same time, the greetings you would use for those examples may be completely inappropriate when verbally greeting your boss within the workplace.

To help you out, we have separated popular opening and closing greetings within the English language into two tables below, complete with explanations of how they are used and whether they are formal, informal or neutral.

Opening Greetings

Greeting Usage (Oral / Written) Language Register
 Dear Sir / Madam Written only Very formal
Dear Mr. X / Mrs. X / Miss X / Ms. X Written only Very formal
Pleased to meet you / It’s a pleasure to meet you Oral Formal
How do you do? Oral Formal
Good morning / day / evening Written and Oral Formal – Neutral
Hello (+ Mr. X / Mrs. X / Miss X / Ms. X) Written and Oral Formal
Hello Written and Oral Neutral
Hello (+ First name) Written and Oral Neutral – Informal
How are you? Written and Oral Neutral
Hi! Written and Oral Neutral – Informal
Hey / Hey man! / Hey guys! Written and Oral Informal
How’s everything going? / How are things? / How’s life? Oral Informal
Long time, no see! Oral Informal
What’s up? Mostly oral Informal
Hiya! Written and Oral Informal
Yo! Mostly oral  Very informal
Howdy! Oral Very informal
‘Sup? Oral Very informal

Closing Greetings

Greeting Usage (Oral / Written) Language Register
Yours Sincerely / Yours Faithfully Written only Very formal
Kind Regards Written only Formal
Farewell Written and oral Formal
All the best Written and oral Neutral – Formal
Goodbye! Oral Neutral – Formal
See you later / tomorrow / in the morning Mostly oral Neutral
Take care Written and Oral Neutral
From (+ name) Written only Neutral
Bye! Oral Neutral – Informal
See ya! Oral Informal
Love / Love from Written only Informal (used with close friends and family)
Lots of love / Much love Mostly written Informal
See you around Oral Informal
Catch you later Oral Informal