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Conversational Language (#9), by Dennis Oliver

 

 Conversational Language (#9):
Greetings

 

There are many ways to greet people in English. Generally,
greetings vary according to the situation--from casual or
very friendly to very formal.

Use casual or very friendly greetings when you are among
friends--particularly friends your own age. Casual or very
friendly greetings are not appropriate in any very polite
situations. If you use them in very polite, formal situations,
the results could be embarrassing. 

Polite greetings can be used at any time except in the most
formal situations.

Very formal greetings are appropriate when you want to
show your very best behavior--both in actions and in the
language that you use. Use formal greetings when you meet
important people or older people.

Here are some typical greetings grouped by degree of
formality and politeness:

 

Casual / Very Friendly Greetings

 

Hi!
Hi, _____ (name)
Hey!*
Hey, _____ (name)!
Howdy!*
Howdy, _____ (name).

 

Polite / Friendly Greetings

 

Hello.
Hello, (name).
Hello there.

Good _____ (morning / afternoon / evening)*.
Good _____ (morning, etc.), _____ (name).

 

Very Polite Greetings

 

How do you do?*
How do you do, _____ (title)*?
How do you do, _____ _____ (title + name)*?

Good (morning, etc.), _____ (title)*.
Good (morning, etc.), _____ (title + name)*.

 

_______________________________________________

 

Special Notes:

1.   People often use "Hey" as a way to get the
attention of another person, but "Hey" is also
used as a casual, very friendly greeting.
     
2.   "Howdy" (a very casual "abbreviation" of "How
do you do?") is common in some dialects in the
U.S., but it is considered uneducated and
unsophisticated in others.
     
3.   "Good night" is not a greeting. It's a way of
saying "goodbye," not "hello." People usually
say "Good night" when they are leaving an
activity at night or when they are going to bed.
     
4.   The response to "How do you do?" is usually
the same: "How do you do?" In the U.S.,
people generally do not respond with
"Well, thank you" or "Very well, thank you."
     
5.  

Titles used without a name include sir
(for a man),
ma'am (for a woman), and
professional titles (Doctor, Professor,
Reverend, Father, etc.)

Do not use "Mister" or "Lady" as a title.
Both of these are considered disrespectful.

     
6.  

Titles used with a family name) are Mr.
(for a man),
Ms. (for a woman--general),
Miss (for a young, unmarried woman),
Mrs. (for a married woman), and
professional titles (Doctor, Professor,
Reverend, Sister, etc.)

In most dialects of U.S. English, titles are
not used with given names (Mr. Dennis,
Miss Mary, Mrs. Anna, Doctor Bob, etc.),
but titles are used with given names in
some dialects.

     
7.  

Responses to greetings are normally the same
as the greeting or a variation on it (such as with
or without a name). Responses normally match
greetings in terms of formality:

A:

B:

 

A:

B:

 

Hi.

Hi. / Hi, _____ (name).

 

Hi, _____ (name).

Hi.

     

A:

B:

 

A:

B:

 

Hello, _____ (name).

Hello.

 

Hello.

Hello, _____ (name).

     

A:


B:

 

A:

B:

 

Good afternoon, _____ (name) /
(title) / (title, name)

Good afternoon.

 

Good afternoon.

Good afternoon, _____ (name) /
(title) / (title, name)

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