What Hello Do I Use? - English Speaking Practice Ep 545

A photograph of a lady holding an umbrella in a rain storm. This podcast teaches you the polite greetings used in everyday UK life and gives you the opportunity to practice them in a fun way.

📝 Author: Hilary

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Authentic Everyday British Greetings - Hello English Speaking Practice

Authentic everyday British greetings: This is a fun English Speaking practice podcast that teaches you the polite greetings used in everyday UK life. It’s broken into sections, each one focusing on a different scenario. In every section, there are a few “Hello” focused conversations designed to let you hear these practical everyday greetings in action! And if you're from the USA or “Down under”, I do some awful impressions at the end of the podcast!

When we start out using a new language, we lean on words and sometimes overuse them. They are safe words. We have a good understanding of these words and they get the job done. There is nothing wrong with this approach, but at some point you will want to move on to a more expressive and nuanced way of speaking, which takes into account who you are speaking to.

In today’s English speaking practice lesson, we take a very common event “greeting someone”, and through examples we show many examples of how this might change depending on who you are talking to and your relationship with them, even what time of day may change what you choose to say.

I love meeting new people; I think everyone has a story to tell. We should all listen sometimes.
⭐ Kim Smith

I hope this podcast gives you the courage to move on from certain go to easy and safe words. It’s really important that once you have a solid grasp of one area that you take a risk and start experimenting with the richness of your speech and vocabulary choices.

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Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

The mp3 audio and pdf transcript for this lesson is now part of the Adept English back catalogue . You can still download and listen to this lesson as part of one of our podcast bundles.

Transcript: What Hello Do I Use? - English Speaking Practice

Today, let's practice some simple English, but let's make it relevant. And in particular authentic. What does 'authentic' mean? It means it's what English speakers actually say. So today I'm going to talk about how to say 'hello' - greetings in English. And we're going to make it authentic. Happy listening.

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

Reminder of our Most Common 500 Words Course

Speaking of authentic English just before I start that, a reminder of one of our courses. If you're at the point where you have pretty good understanding, you can understand the podcasts, but you're finding it difficult to start speaking English, then our Most Common 500 Words Course can really help you.

Boost Your Learning With Adept English

It's available on our website at adeptenglish.com. This course makes sure that you've got all the relevant, basic and authentic English vocabulary to start speaking. So go to our website and our courses page and have a look at that today and make that step from being able to understand English, to being able to speak English.

'Hello' is universal, always useful - and a different use of 'hello'

OK. The basic greeting that you learn in English is 'hello', H E L L O. And this is really a safe one because all the different contexts that I'm about to talk about - 'hello' works. It's OK in every situation. But if you're trying to understand English speakers, you'll find that they greet each other in many different ways than a simple 'hello', so it's good to be able to understand these too. You may not be aware also that 'hello' is used in a slightly different way.

It's used sometimes to express surprise. Someone might say, 'Hello, his girlfriend's really pretty!' Or 'Hello? It looks like I'm having problems with my car' or 'Hello. I think my car's having a problem!' Or 'Hello, I felt a raindrop - it's starting to rain!' So 'hello' in that context is really, as though you are greeting a situation. You see something or you perceive something, which is a bit of a surprise. You're saying 'Hello, situation. I didn't realize it was going to be like this!'


A photograph of a two old friends saying hello. Today’s podcast teaches you the polite greetings used in everyday UK life. With lots of original examples, with practice, you can use yourself.

©️ Adept English 2022

Meeting new people

Now, if you're meeting someone for the very first time, you might say something like, 'Hello, it's a pleasure to meet you.' Or 'I'm really pleased to meet you'. That's very polite. So it's in polite situations that you would use that one.

You might be familiar with a very old fashioned way to greet people - 'How do you do?'. 'How do you do?' is something that people in the 1950s, the 1960s might have said to one another, and sometimes you still hear elderly people say, 'How do you do?' when they're introduced to someone in a very formal context.

It's the kind of thing that the Queen would have said. But I think even the Queen these days, doesn't say, 'How do you do?". That's what you might hear though.

A bit more casual than 'A pleasure to meet you', you might hear 'Good to meet you'.

And if it's someone with whom you've communicated for a while, so it might be that you've emailed this person through your work and at last you're meeting them. You might hear, 'Oh, it's good to meet you at last'.

You would tend to say these sentences after you've been introduced to someone. So 'to introduce', that's I N T R O D U C E. That means when you say, 'Oh, Johnny, this is Paul and Paul, this is Johnny'. That's an introduction. That is introducing two people. When you've been introduced to someone, that's when you might say 'It's a pleasure to meet you'.

More informal greetings

What would you say if it's less formal, if it's a more casual context, if it's a friend or a member of your family? Well you might say 'Hi' or 'Hiya', 'Hi there, how are you?' You might say 'How's it going?' Or simply 'Good to see you', meaning 'It's good to see you'.

If you've not seen the person for a long time, you might say, 'Wow, how long has it been?' That means 'How long has it been since we last saw one another?' You might hear 'Long time, no speak!'. That means 'It's a long time since I've spoken to you'. Or 'Long time no see!' - it's a long time since we've seen one another.

'Long time, no, see!' - that's a strange way to put it, isn't it?

You might then have a conversation about when it was that you last saw one another or when it was that you last spoke to one another.


Talking about the weather

If the person that you're meeting is someone that you don't know very well, and you're in the UK, you might find yourself talking about the weather. This is called 'passing the time of day'. So it's with people that you don't know very well, but it's a form of politeness and a way of making conversation.

You might hear 'Hi there, it's a lovely day, isn't it?' Or 'Hello, what terrible weather we're having!'.

This sort of thing is much more common if you're an older person. And it goes back to an era where people did used to use the weather as a means of making formal conversation with people that they didn't know very well. Probably today we find different topics to talk about most of the time. It's a very British thing though, to talk about the weather.

Questions as a way of greeting people

Other things that people may ask you, as part of a greeting, 'How are you? How's it going? How are the kids, how is the family? So they may ask about other people in your circle.

'How's everyone?' Is another one. That means 'How is everyone in your family doing?'.

Sometimes with people, it might be 'Hi there. How's your job going? How is your work going?' That again is another common topic of polite conversation with people that you don't know very well.

'How are things?' Is another general greeting. It means ' How is everything in your life going at the moment?'

You might also hear 'How are things going?'

Passing the time of day

Another way of 'passing the time of day' with somebody - that means 'giving them a polite greeting', even if you don't have a full conversation - you speak about the time of day and you 'wish them well' for that time of day. You might say, 'Good morning' or 'Good afternoon' or 'Good evening' or 'Good night'.

'Good morning', 'Good afternoon' and 'Good evening' can be used as a way of greeting someone, a way of saying 'Hello', but you can also use that as a way of saying 'Goodbye' as well. Wishing them a nice part of the day or wishing them a positive experience in that part of the day.

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

If you say 'Good night' to someone, that's usually saying 'Goodbye'. That's because you're probably 'turning in for the night', you're probably going to go to bed, when you say 'Good night'. And even the person that you share a bed with, if you say 'Good night' to them, it probably means you're going to turn over and go to sleep. So it is another 'goodbye'.

Sometimes you also find that this greeting is reduced to 'Morning' or 'Evening'. People don't even bother to say the 'good' in it, but it's still wishing you well for the morning or for the evening. It's like Americans might say, 'Have a nice day!'. The French would say 'Bonne journee'.

Other greetings which mean 'hello'

If you're wanting to use less formal greetings, then you might hear, 'Hey!' Or even 'What's up?' 'What's up?'

'Howdy. Howdy!'. I can't say this with an American accent! 'Howdy' is common in the U S which is a bit the same. 'How are you?' And if you're thinking of an Australian greeting, you might hear 'G'day, mate. G'day, mate!' That's like saying 'Good day, friend'! That's probably enough to be going on with. And it stops me getting onto any more dodgy accents.


Listen to this podcast. A number of times to brush up on your greetings, on how you say 'hello' to people.

And you'll be good at selecting the appropriate greeting for the situation, for the context.

Enough for now, have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.




The voice of Adeptenglish, loves English and wants to help people who want to speak English fluently.
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