There are many other ways of simply saying HELLO.
But for most English students, they learn the word hello and think that is the only word they can use.
This is not true! There are so many other ways to express a simple greeting in English.
And by using all these different words and phrases, your English will sound so much better. People will think you have more fluency and expressing yourself in different ways you will become more confident.
I have outlined below 41 ways to say hello in English. They are divided into three parts:
- and Very Informal
Are you ready to start learning them today?
Good — let’s get started!
Formal Ways to Say Hello
This is the standard opening word that everyone knows. This is used in formal situations, but it can be used any time you greet someone.
2. Good Morning
This is a very polite greeting. Of course, only use this when you are greeting someone in the morning. You can use it any time from early in the morning to before midday.
In English-speaking countries, colleagues say Good Morning to each other as they arrive at work. You can also use this when you see your neighbours in the morning. Or anyone else, for that matter.
3. Good Afternoon
This is the same as Good Morning, but of course, said in the afternoon.
Any time you meet or greet someone for the first time that day, you can say Good Afternoon. When you go to work in the morning, there is no need to say Good Afternoon to your colleagues after lunch.
Just remember that this is like saying Hello but you only use it between the hours of 12:00pm and 5:00pm and you’re good.
4. Good Evening
And this is the same as Good Morning and Good Afternoon, except you use it in the evening. Any time after 5:00 or 6:00 is fine.
You might say this as you meet people for dinner — or as a greeting to anyone that you meet in the evening.
You will find that service staff will use this expression to greet you as you enter a restaurant or hotel in the evening.
5. It’s Nice to Meet You
You can use this for the very first time you meet someone or you are introduced to someone. It is usually used with Hello.
So you might say — Hello, it’s nice to meet you.
You could also use this when making a presentation to people you don’t know. It could be your opening line — Hello, it’s nice to meet you all. My name is John and today I am going to talk about…
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6. It’s a Pleasure to Meet You
This is the same as the phrase above, but more polite.
7. Greetings/Greetings and Salutations
These expressions are very old-fashioned. But sometimes people use them as a kind of little joke.
You could meet your friends in a bar for example and when you see them, you might say: Greetings! It might make them smile when you say it.
People very rarely use this expression these days in a serious manner. It is used today in a light-hearted, slightly humorous way.
But years ago, it was a very formal way of saying Hello.
8. Good to See You
Another greeting that can be used in a wide number of situations.
It is a formal expression, but can be used also to greet friends and other associates. It literally means that you are happy to see the person you are talking to. Who doesn’t want to hear that?
You can just say this and replace the word Hello.
Mark! Good to see you!
9. Great to See You
This has the exact same meaning as above but is more polite — great being better than good.
10. What’s the Word?/What’s the Good Word?
This means — How are you? There is no real difference between the first or second version, they both have the same meaning.
I think it is like saying — What good news or information do you have to tell me?
Usually, when people see each other, they like to share news. And people usually like to hear good news, not bad news.
You can precede the expression with Hello, How are you? Or any other greeting.
Hello Jack, what’s the word?
Hello Mike, well, I suppose you heard about me going to Manchester?
11. How Have You Been?
This greeting means How has your life been recently? Or How are you these days?
It is a very polite greeting that can be used in any kind of context.
Hello Stan — how have you been?
12. Good Afternoon, Sir. How Are You Today?
This is a very formal and somewhat old-fashioned greeting expression.
It is no longer seriously used today, but can often be used in a slightly humorous way to greet friends or people we know.
I have a friend who uses this to greet me most times when I speak to him.
13. Good Day to You
Another very formal and old-fashioned expression.
And again, it could be used in a humorous way rather than in with any serious intent.
Informal Ways to Say Hello
This may be one of the most common expressions that people use to greet each other in English these days.
Originally, it is American English but now used all over the world.
15. Hi There
Just a slight variation of the expression above. The word ‘there’ implies the person you are talking to.
A more informal way of saying Good Morning. It can be just as polite as long as you say it with a happy, cheerful tone.
This is Australian English and is short for Good Day.
It is common across most of Australia as an informal greeting.
And this is a greeting from America. More commonly used in the Southern States.
It is an abbreviation of the phrase How do you do? But now just means Hello.
19. Hey, What’s Up?
This is a very informal greeting from America. It can be translated as — Hello, how are you? What is going on in your life?
There should be a defined rising tone at the end of the phrase.
20. What’s Going On?
Another greeting of American origin. Roughly translated, it means: How are you? Or What is going on in your life?
21. What’s Happening?
Also from America. This means: What is happening in your life?
It’s a very friendly greeting that can be used to greet friends, family, colleagues or acquaintances.
22. What’s New?
A greeting that means: What is new in your life?
Can be used to greet friends, family, colleagues or acquaintances. It is a little more casual than the two expressions immediately above.
23. What Have You Been Up To?
You can say this immediately after saying Hello. It is an invitation for the other person to talk about their life and any news they may have.
You should use this to greet someone who you have not seen for some time.
24. It’s Good To See You
Another expression used when you haven’t seen someone for a long time. This is very polite and friendly.
25. Hey! There She/He Is
This is an expression that you should really only use for someone you know well.
Could be a work colleague or a good friend, but it only works if you have known this person for a long time as it is very familiar.
If said in the right way, it can be quite humorous. You should say it with a strong rising tone at the end.
It means: Here comes a person that we all know.
26. How’s Everything?
A greeting that means: How is everything in your life?
It can be used in a wide variety of contexts and can be used at work or in a social setting with friends.
27. How’s It Going?
A very common greeting. It means: How is your life going? What is the news in your life?
Use it with friends, family and colleagues.
28. How Are You?
Everyone knows this universal expression!
It can be used practically anywhere and in any situation.
29. How Are You Doing Today?
Maybe a little more formal than the others in this list. You can also just say: How are you doing?
30. How Are You Feeling Today?
Maybe less used than others, but still used here and there.
31. How Are Things?/How Are Things With You?
When people say things, they mean your life. It is like saying How are you? How are you doing?
You can use this with friends, colleagues and family.
It is quite a common English phrase to use.
32. Long Time No See
This is of Chinese origin but now used by English speakers all over the world.
It means: It has been a long time since I have seen you, how are you?
Use it in all situations with any person you meet.
33. Look Who It Is!
Only use this with people you know very well.
It is a very personal and familiar phrase, but when people say it, it can be used in a very humorous way.
Roughly translated, it means that you recognise the person approaching you and you know them very well. It also means that you are very happy to see them.
34. Nice To See You/Nice To See You Again
This is a very polite phrase that means you are happy to see the person you are greeting.
You can use this in any situation and with any person in any context as it is so polite.
Very Informal Ways to Say Hello
This is a very common way to greet people. Use this with close friends and people you know very well.
Not to be used when greeting someone at a business meeting or your teacher.
36. Hey There
A variation of the above greeting. The word there refers to the person you are talking to.
This is a variation of the previous greeting expression What’s up? An abbreviation for a more relaxed way of saying hello.
This is very common with young people.
This became very popular in the eighties. Maybe not as popular today, but still widely used.
It is very informal so only use it with close friends and people you know very well.
39. Look What The Cat Dragged In!
This is very informal, and it is very familiar. Only use it with close friends and associates!
It is a small kind of joke referring to the person that you are greeting that your cat caught this person and brought it into your house.
Do not use this to greet your boss or teacher!
40. Oh No, Look Who It Is!
Another funny expression. You can say this as if to say you do not wish to see the person you are greeting — but in fact, you are very happy to see them.
This is very familiar and very relaxed, so use it only with your good friends.
41. Oh, Look Out!
Very similar to the above expression. Another jokey greeting.
It means that you are shocked to see the other person, and you are concerned about seeing them. But this is just the humour of it. In fact, it means you are happy to see them.
So there you have it. 41 expressions you can use to greet friends, colleagues, business associates, teachers, fellow students and your family.
You don’t just need to use Hello — you can use a very wide array of expressions, depending on the situation and context.
Practice them today and use in your own life.