In service industry, the value of the company is in its people. We provide customised English courses for service staff. We can help them to build up their confidence and proficiency in their English communication skills. The following notes are designed for English speakers of Elementary level.
Greetings are used to say hello in English. It’s common to use different greetings depending on whether you greet a friend, family or a business associate. When you meet friends, use informal greetings. If it’s really important, use formal greetings. Formal greetings are also used with people you do not know very well.
Greetings also depend on whether you are saying hello, or you are saying goodbye.
Learn the correct phrases using the notes below, and then practice using greetings with the practice dialogues.
Formal Greetings: ARRIVING
- Good morning / afternoon / evening.
- Hello Mr Yeo, how are you?
- Good day Sir / Madam (very formal)
Respond to a formal greeting with another formal greeting.
Lin: Good morning Mr. Smith.
Smith: Hello Ms. Lin. How are you today?
Informal Greetings: ARRIVING
- Hi / Hello
- How are you?
- How are you doing?
- What’s up? (very informal)
It’s important to note that the question How are you? or What’s up? doesn’t necessary need a response. If you do respond, these phrases are generally expected:
A: How are you? / How are you doing?
B: Very well, thank you. And you? (formal)
Fine / Great (informal)
A: What’s up?
B: Not much.
I’m just (watching TV, hanging out, cooking dinner, etc.)
Informal Greetings – AFTER A LONG TIME
If you haven’t seen a friend or family member for a long time, use one these informal greetings to mark the occasion.
- It’s great to see you!
- How have you been?
- Long time, no see.
- How are you doing these days?
Formal Greetings: DEPARTING
Use these greetings when you say goodbye at the end of the day. These greetings are appropriate for work and other formal situations.
Good morning / afternoon / evening.
It was a pleasure seeing you.
Note: After 8 p.m. – Good night.
Informal Greetings: DEPARTING
Use these greetings when saying goodbye in an informal situation.
- Nice seeing you!
- Goodbye / Bye
- See you later
- Later (very informal)
Here are some short example conversations for you to practice greetings in English. Find a partner to practice and take a role. Next, switch roles. Finally, make up your own conversations.
GREETINGS IN INFORMAL CONVERSATIONS
Anna: Tom, what’s up?
Tom: Hi Anna. Nothing much. I’m just hanging out. What’s up with you?
Anna: It’s a good day. I’m feeling fine.
Tom: How is your sister?
Anna: Oh, fine. Not much has changed.
Tom: Well, I have to go. Nice seeing you!
Maria: Oh, hello Chris. How are you doing?
Chris: I’m well. Thanks for asking. How are you?
Maria: I can’t complain. Life is treating me well.
Chris: That’s good to hear.
Maria: Good to see you again. I need to go to my doctor’s appointment.
Chris: Nice seeing you.
Maria: See you later.
GREETINGS IN FORMAL CONVERSATIONS
John: Good morning.
Alan: Good morning. How are you?
John: I’m very well thank you. And you?
Alan: I’m fine. Thank you for asking.
John: Do you have a meeting this morning?
Alan: Yes, I do. Do you have a meeting as well?
John: Yes. Well. It was a pleasure seeing you.
Greeting someone when you are introduced.
Once you have been introduced to someone, the next time you see that person it is important to greet them. We also greet people as we leave people. In English (as in all languages), there are different ways to greet people in formal and informal situations.
One of the most important tasks in English is ordering food at a restaurant. In general, use the form “I’d like …” when ordering food in a restaurant.
A common question for someone taking an order is “What would you like for …”.
Kim: Hello, I’d like a table for lunch please.
Waiter1: Certainly, right this way.
Kim: Thank you. I’m really hungry! (sits down)
Waiter1: Enjoy your meal!
Waiter2: Hello, My name is Joyce. How can I help you?
Kim: Yes, I would like to have some lunch.
Waiter2: Great. Would you like a starter?
Kim: Yes, I’d like a salad.
Waiter2: What else would you like?
Kim: I’d like some spaghetti. Is it good?
Waiter2: Yes, it’s very good. Would you like something to drink?
Kim: Yes, I’d like a glass of root beer, please.
Waiter2: Certainly. Is there anything else I can do for you?
Kim: Yes, I can’t read this menu. How much is the spaghetti?
Waiter2: It’s $5.50, and the salad is $3.25.
Peter: Thank you.
Notice how the waiter2 asks: “What would you like?” and Kim responds: “I’d like …”
“Would like” is the polite form used when asking and requesting. “Would like” can be used in the question form to make an offer:
Would you like a cup of tea?
Would you like something to eat?
“Would like” can also be used to make a request.
I’d like a hamburger, please.
I’d like something to drink, please.
We make suggestions when deciding what to do with our friends, or giving them advice on what they might do in a certain situation. Imagine that you would like to go out for an evening with some friends. Which suggestions would you make?
There are a number of formulas used when making suggestions in English. Here are some of the most common:
- Why don’t we go to the movies tonight?
- Why don’t you try our fresh salmon today?
- You could visit New York while you’re / we’re there.
- Let’s go to the travel agent’s this afternoon to book our ticket.
- What about asking your brother for help?
- How about going to Hawaii for your vacation?
- I suggest you/we take all the factors into consideration before we decide.