You might know two or three ways to say “Hello” to someone, but there are actually dozens of different expressions.
Why do we need so many different ways to say “Hello”? One reason is that English speakers like to avoid repeating words. If one person says “Hello”, the other person might not want to repeat “Hello”, but might use one of the following instead:
This is the plain, everyday expression that you should probably use most.
Say this the first time you see someone in the morning. It sounds nice, though a little formal.
This is a more casual version of “Good morning”
Good afternoon / Good evening.
These are more formal than “Good morning”. You might say “Good afternoon” to a customer that you don’t know well, or on stage when giving a speech or lecture.
Use “Hey” with people that you know well. It’s not exactly rude to use with strangers, but it might be confusing. The person that you say “Hey” to might think, “Huh? Do I know this person?”
This sounds casual and cool. Even though it looks like a question, it doesn’t need to be answered.
This is a slang version of “What’s up?”. Use it if you’re a teenager or want to pretend that you are one 🙂
How’s it going?
“How’s it going” looks like a question, but sometimes it’s not. You can say this to someone instead of “hello”, even if you’re only passing them by and don’t intend to wait to hear their answer.
This is a Southern way to say “Hello”. You might sound like you’re pretending to be a cowboy if you use it.
Say “Hi” this way when you’re surprised to see someone, or if you haven’t seen them in a long time. It makes you seem excited.
Why hello there.
A man might say this to a beautiful woman, including his own girlfriend or wife if she’s wearing something sexy. When you say this with the correct intonation, it makes you sound attracted to the person you’re talking to.
This is hiphop slang from the 1980’s and 1990’s. When you say this, you sound either tough and cool, or silly. It all depends on your personality.
This is an extremely formal greeting. Robots on TV and movies say “Hello” this way. You can use it to be funny if you’re tired of using other phrases.
Look who it is!
You can use this when you see someone that you haven’t seen in a long time. It sounds really excited.
Look what the cat dragged in!
This is an energetic, teasing way to say “Hello” to someone that you haven’t seen in a while. It’s a kind of joke. You’re saying that the person looks like a dead mouse or some piece of trash that a cat has found and carried inside. Of course, it’s not serious. You only say this to tease the person. But not everyone thinks this joke is funny.