ESL Greeting Words

Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a master's degree in both Literacy and TESOL.

In this lesson, English as a Second Language (ESL) students will learn some key vocabulary words and phrases for greeting others. This lesson will also discuss the appropriate type of language to use in different contexts, such as when greeting a friend or your boss.

Greeting Others

How do people greet their friends? Would those same greetings be appropriate for a teacher? A supervisor? A distant relative? The mailman?

How we interact with others affects their perception of us, so it's important to learn the various types of greetings that are appropriate in different social situations. Let's take a look at some common greetings that are used in the United States when meeting others in informal and formal contexts.

Informal Greetings

Informal language is language that is used with people you see regularly and know well. You would use informal language with family members, co-workers, friends, classmates, peers, and neighbors.

Informal Greeting Words and Phrases

  • Hey.
  • What's up?
  • How's it going?
  • Not bad.
  • Pretty good.
  • How are you doing?
  • What's new?
  • Not much.
  • What's going on?
  • How's life treating you?
  • What have you been up to?
  • Long time, no see.
  • It was good seeing you. (Farewell phrase)
  • See you later. (Farewell phrase)

Let's look at a sample informal conversation between two good friends, Alex and Jessie, who meet each other at the shopping mall.

Sample Informal Conversation

Alex: Hey, what's up?

Jessie: Not much. How's it going?

Alex: Pretty good.

Jessie: Cool. Do you want to get some lunch?

Alex: Yeah, sounds good.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account