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Common Greetings in English

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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