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How to Say Hello & Goodbye Correctly

You might discover that saying goodbye and hello is not the same as you expected. Use these English social phrases to say goodbye and hello appropriately.

Ways to Say “Hello”

When you see someone or when you start a conversation by phone, email or text message, you can use the expressions “good morning”, “good afternoon” and “good evening”, depending on the time of the day to represent saying “hello” to them.

For example, if you enter your workplace in the morning and see one of your coworkers, you can say: “good morning”, or if you email someone in the afternoon, you can start the email by saying: “Good afternoon”.

Ways to Say “Goodbye”

When you want to finish a conversation in-person, by phone, or electronically, you can use the expression “have a good (time of the day)” or you can just say: “have a good day” to represent saying “goodbye” to them.

  • Have a good morning – this is usually when you say goodbye to someone earlier than 10am.

  • Have a good afternoon – this is usually when you say goodbye to someone between 12pm and 3pm.

  • Have a good evening – this is usually when you say goodbye to someone between 5pm and 7pm.

  • Have a good night – this is usually when you say goodbye to someone after 7pm.

  • Have a good day – this is usually when you say goodbye to someone earlier in the day (before 5pm).

The times that I have described above are not an exact rule, but it will help you get an idea of what you would say depending on the time. The main point is to avoid an expression that doesn’t suit the time. For example, it would be strange to say: “have a good morning” when the morning is ending (ex. 11:30am) or when it’s already over (12pm), and it would be strange to say: “have a good night” if it is only 5pm in the day.

“Good Evening” vs. “Good Night” vs. “Have a Good Evening/Night”

The expression “good night” is often used at the very end of the day, when you know that you or another person is going to sleep. For example, if you are going upstairs to bed, you can say: “good night” to the people that are in your house, or if you are at a hotel bar and you are deciding to return to your hotel room to end the night, you can say to other people that you know in the bar “good night”.

On the other hand, as you learned above, the expression “good evening” is used when you greet someone in the evening time (usually after 5pm or so), so if you return to your apartment building at 6pm and see one of your neighbours in the hallway, you could say: “good evening” to them.

However, if you stop and talk to that neighbour in the hallway for a few minutes and want to say goodbye after the conversation, you would say: “have a good evening” instead of “good evening”, which is basically the difference between saying “goodbye” and “hello”. You wouldn’t say “hello” at the end of a conversation, so you wouldn’t say: “good evening” either.


What would you say in the following situations?

a) You are saying goodbye to your customer and it’s 2pm.

b) You are entering a store and greeting an employee at 7pm.

c) You are finishing a phone call with someone and it’s 9am.

d) You are leaving a party at 10pm.

e) You are ending a text message conversation because you want to sleep.

f) You are entering an elevator and see someone that you recognize at 10am.

g) You are leaving your workplace at 6pm.


a) Have a good afternoon / Have a good day

b) Good evening

c) Have a good morning / Have a good day

d) Have a good night

e) Good night

f) Good morning

g) Have a good evening


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