the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English

Greetings in Passing audio icon

It is polite to greet a person you know. However, you don't always have time to stop and have a conversation. Just remember to smile as you say hello. A small wave is also polite. Sometimes you pass the same person a second time on the same day. You can say "hello again" or just smile.


  • Slow down to greet someone you know. You don't have to stop what you are doing (walking, working, shopping).
  • Say an appropriate form of hello.
  • Smile and wave.

Useful phrases

Listen and read:
  • Hello
  • Hi
  • Good morning
  • Good afternoon
  • Good evening *
  • Hey, John
  • How's it goin'? **

* Good night is a farewell (goodbye) phrase. It is NOT a greeting to use at night time.

** Native speakers often shorten going to goin' in casual speech.

Slang greetings in passing

Using slang in a greeting is typical between close friends. Teens often use slang when they greet each other. Certain English speaking countries also have their own popular form of "hello".

Listen and read:
  • Howdy
  • Hiya
  • Whazzup?
  • Yo
  • G'day (Australia)