Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

21 Ways to Say Hello and Goodbye in American English

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 @ 07:11 AM

American English greetings- girl saying goodbyeThe other day I was speaking with a woman who came to the United States from Japan about 7 years ago.

I was completely impressed with her English. I could hardly tell she was a non-native English speaker!

I told her how well she spoke and she thanked me, but she said that even though she spoke great "textbook" English, when she came to the U.S. from Japan, she struggled every day with casual greetings.

One day, someone said to her, "Have a good one!" and she had no idea that they were saying goodbye!

Are you struggling with greetings also? In today's video lesson, I will teach you 21 ways to say "hello" and "goodbye" in American English. Watch the video below to get started!



21 ways to say "hello" and "goodbye" in American English





12 ways to say "hello"


American English greetings, girl saying hello to dog1) "Hey there" : This is casual, friendly, and familiar. It could be used between good friends or romantic partners in spoken English, text messages, voice mail messages or emails.


2) "What's going on?" : This is casual and could be used between friends or acquaintances in an informal situation like a party.


3) "Hey! What's up?" : This is casual and could be used between friends, colleagues, siblings, etc.


4) "Good morning" or "good afternoon" : These greetings are generally more formal and are often used in restaurants, hotels, shops or at work between colleagues.


5) "How are you doing today?" : This is formal and might be used between a professional and a client or customer or between colleagues or a boss and his or her workers.


6) "Hey! There she is" : This is usually used in situations when you know the person well and it implies that you have been expecting to see the person or that you are very happy to see the person. Emphasis with pronunciation is placed on "there."


7) "How's everything?" : This is simply another way of saying "how are you." It is usually used casually.


8) "How are things?" : This is very similar to "how is everything?" and is perhaps more casual than "how is everything?"


9) "Good to see you," "great to see you," "nice to see you" : These could all be used informally or casually between business colleagues, friends, or family members. These phrases are often used when you haven't seen the person in a while.


10) "What's happening" or "What's happenin'?" : This is mostly used by young people (college age or younger). They might use the phrase to greet their friends when they arrive at a party or when they see each other in class.


11) "How's it going?" : This is casual, especially when you shorten it as in "How's it goin'?"


12) "Good evening": This is formal and is often used in upscale (expensive) hotels or restaurants to greet guests.



9 ways to say "goodbye"


goodbye1) "See you later" or "see ya later" : This becomes more casual when you use "ya" instead of "you."


2) "See you soon" or "see ya soon" : This is similar to the example above. It can be used to indicate that you want to or plan to meet with the person again soon.


3) "Take care" : This could be formal or casual, but is usually used with people you know or care about. You might use this in an email or written letter.


4) "Take it easy" : This is not used now, in 2013, as much as it was used in the 1980's and 1990's. However, it is casual and means "take care."


5) "Gotta go!" This is used in casual situations when you want to escape the conversation quickly and you don't want to go through a longer or more sentimental goodbye.


6) "Talk to you soon" : This is used more often in writing emails or on the phone than in daily spoken interactions. It is usually casual.


7) "See you next time" : This is used when you know you will be returning to a specific place and you will see the person when you come back.


8) "Catch ya later" : This is used very casually between friends or acquaintances.


9) "Have a good one" : This means, "have a nice day" and is used casually, but it could be used between strangers, friends, colleages, or family members.



Remember, in English there is more than one way to "hi" and "goodbye" !

So now that you know 21 alternatives, try to use them as much as you can.

If you want to make them a part of your vocabulary, try to also listen for them in your daily life.

By hearing them often, you will understand when and how to slip them into a conversation.


Good luck and remember to practice every day!


 free video lesson 7 simple secrets to connection in English





Photo credit: midiman,   Official U.S. Navy Imagery,   Magnus Brath,

Topics: English Lessons, English Conversation, Vocabulary Workshop, Video Lessons

Speak with Confidence

practice English now with native English speakers

Monthly Newsletter


English Podcast


American English conversation listening podcast

Nominated Top 100

Top 100 Language Lovers 2012

1. Top Language Lovers   Top 100 Final

Business English


Subscribe to this Blog

Free Trial Lesson



"Every day I read the English and Culture blog and I love it."

-Student of English and Culture

Connect with Us

Free Practice Guide


Latest Posts

Resources for You


Student Testimonial

business English student Boston

"My classes with English and Culture have been awesome. I have been taking the classes for almost two months, twice a week and I am really happy about my improvement. Now I feel more comfortable and secure when speaking English and more fluent, too."

-Elkin, Colombia