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.

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