As in any language, there are many ways of saying “hello” in English with different levels of familiarity (closeness) and meaning attached to them. Learning how to say hello in English is a necessary (essential) part of learning the language and will help you out immensely (a lot).

Here are some of the most common ways to say hello- and when you should use them.

Good morning/afternoon/evening

This is a greeting that can be formal or informal, which is great because it means that it’s versatile (usable in many situations).

Coming into the office? Meeting someone for the first time? Going to the checkout counter at the grocery store? Whip out (use) a handy “Good morning!” and you’re good to go!


There’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned “hello.” While I don’t say hello to close friends so often, I use it with strangers (people I don’t know) all the time. It’s a great greeting if you’re unsure (don’t know) of what to say.

It’s always good to open a conversation or introduction with a “hello!” You definitely can’t go wrong with that.


“Hey” is very informal, and should probably only be used with friends. At the office, it’s best to stick with “hello,” but when meeting friends after work, saying a nice “hey” will set the tone for a laid-back (casual) evening full of laughs.

How are you?

It’s extremely common to follow up any greeting with the question “how are you?” Asking someone how they are is simply a matter of formality (something required of you), more than looking for a detailed description of how someone is doing.

If you ask someone how they are right after a greeting, don’t be surprised if they answer with “Fine, and you?” Once you really get into (are deeper in) the conversation, they’ll probably ask you how you’re doing again, and expect to find out how you’re actually doing.

Have you ever used any of these ways of saying hello in English? Do you know of any other common greetings in English? Share them with us in the comments below!

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Check out these other popular blogs: Taboo words in English7 Synonyms for Being Drunk7 American English Slang Words, or these Sports Idioms used in English!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and will always ask how you are!

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