English people are known for their formality, politeness and respectful interactions. This stereotype like most, is often quite true, but English native speakers get creative with their greetings when they know someone well.
If you’re planning on spending time living, studying or just travelling in the UK in the future, this article will give you some formal, informal, and slang greeting expressions. You’ll be armed with a greeting for every occasion and every mood!
At RKA Valencia, we love to bring modern, relevant and practical English teaching into our classes. We teach grammar and all the foundational elements but focus on communication and spoken fluency above all!
Formal greetings – these are polite and can be used in almost any circumstance
“Nice to meet you” – This greeting is ideal for the first time you see someone and is often used when another person introduces you.
“Hi, nice to see you again” – This greeting is perfect for the second or third time you meet someone, when you know them, but not well. It’s a good option if no-one introduces you and you want to greet someone.
“Hello, how are you?” – This greeting works whether you know the person or not. You can use it the first time you meet someone, or with closer colleagues and workmates. It’s probably a bit too formal to use with friends.
Informal greetings - mostly for social situations
“Hey, how’s it going?” – This greeting is perfect in every social and informal situation. You can also use it in more formal situations as long as you know the person and understand them.
“Hi, what’s up” – This greeting is great for closer friends, whose lives you know all about. When you greet someone like this, they might just reply “Nothing, I’m good” or they might give you an update about what they have done recently.
“Morning, how’s it going?” – This relatively informal greeting is ideal when you don’t quite know whether you use a formal or informal greeting with someone. We remove the ‘good’ from ‘good morning’ to make it faster and create a nicely balanced greeting.
Slang greetings - usually for social situations and close friends and family
“Ahoy there” – This greeting goes back to ships and sea travel, as this is the traditional greeting on boats! It’s known by Native English speakers and using it can be a fun and unusual way to greet someone. If you have a good relationship and often joke around, this greeting is great.
“Hello stranger” – This informal greeting is great when you haven’t seen someone for quite a long time. It’s quite a familiar and close greeting, and is best used for friends and family you want to reconnect with.
“Hey, s’up” – This is a very informal greeting, taking half of the expression ‘what’s up’ which is a way to ask, ‘how are you?’ in a friendly way. We remove the first part of the greeting and simply say “s’up”.
Make sure you measure your relationship with the person before you greet them with a fun slang expression. You might see a look of surprise on their face if you don’t have a developed relationship.
It might be better to stick to the formal and informal greetings and use the slang greetings with your friends and closer relationships.
If you’re looking to improve your English, prepare for international work or pass a Cambridge exam, you won’t find a better English academy in Valencia.