4. Greetings and Inquiries about health, etc.

When you already know someone, the following greetings should be used:

Good morning – until lunch time (12-2 p.m.), formal

Good afternoon – until 5-6 p.m., formal

Good evening – until 10-11 p.m., formal

Remember about the difference in tone. For formal greeting, we use the low fall. For less formal and warmer greeting we use the low rise. The most friendly tone for greeting is the fall – rise.

Note: Good night is not a greeting but a wish. Good day is hardly ever-used nowadays, either as a greeting or on parting.

Morning/ Afternoon/ Evening – semi-formal. Used, for example, to neighbours, colleagues and other people whom one sees regularly but does not know well.

Hello – semi-formal, informal

Hi - informal, used mainly in America. The name of the person greeted is often added.

However, no form of address is generally used when greeting groups of people. Such forms as Good morning, all and Hello, everybody occur but are rare and not to be recommended.

Greetings are often followed by an inquiry about the other person’s health. The answer may be:

(I’m) very/ fairly/ quite/ well, thank you – formal, semi-formal

Note that quite and fairly are synonymous here (meaning moderately). But quite is now more common.

Fine, thanks – semi-formal, formal

Not too/ so bad (thank you/ thanks) – semi-formal, formal

All right, thank you/ thanks – semi-formal, formal

OK, thanks – informal, familiar

A bit tired, otherwise all right – semi-formal, formal

Avoid saying simply Thank you or Thanks in this situation. These replies are usually followed by an inquiry about the other person’s health. The most common forms are:

And how are you? - logical stress on you

And you? - logical stress on you

These inquiries are answered in the same way as the first one.

If the answer to an inquiry about someone’s health is unfavorable, I’m afraid (meaning unfortunately) is often used, for example:

Not very/ too well, I’m afraid.

I am afraid I am not feeling very/ too well today.

Possible reactions to such replies are:

Oh, dear.

I am sorry to hear that.

If you know someone fairly well (or at least if he is more than an acquaintance), you may ask a more general question, such as:

How are you getting on? - semi-formal, informal

How’s life? - informal

How are things (with you)? - semi-formal, informal

If you want to express pleasure at seeing someone, for example, when you welcoming a guest, you may say: Hello, nice to see you. A common reply to this is: Nice to see you, too. (With stress on both you and too.)

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