5. Leave-taking

When you want to take your leave of someone it is often necessary to use some introductory sentence such as:

(Well,) I must be going (now).

Go (now).

I’m afraid I must be going (now).

It’s time I was going/ off.

I’d better be going.

I must be off now.

When you actually leave, you may say:

Good-bye - formal, semi-formal

(Good-) bye for now - semi-formal, informal

Bye (then). - semi-formal, informal

Bye now. - semi-formal, informal

Bye-bye. - semi-formal, informal

Cheerio - semi-formal, informal

See you – very colloquial. Used mainly by young people to their friends. This phrase does not refer to a later meeting, in contrast to those, which follow.

See you later/ tonight/ tomorrow/ on Saturday/ next week, etc

See you at the theatre/ concert/ party, etc

(I’ll) be seeing you. – this means simply some time in future. The phrases All the best and Good luck are used only in certain circumstances. All the best is appropriate when seeing a friend off for a long time or when leaving someone who is going for interview (for a job, etc), or in some similar situation. Good luck may also be used in the latter case or when someone is going to take an examination.

Good night – when leaving someone late in the evening or before going to bed.

Note: that Good morning/ afternoon/ evening are no longer used when taking one’s leave.

Farewell – is now confined to poetry and is not longer used in conversation, even when parting someone for ever. Good-bye is used.

The reply to Good-bye and the alternatives listed above is either the same or one of the other expressions of the same degree of formality.

When leaving someone we sometimes want to be remembered to some member(s) of his family or a mutual friend or acquaintance. The following phrases are used:

Please, give my (kind) regards to… - formal

(Please) remember me to... - semi-formal, informal

Give my love to…- informal, for close friends and relations

The person addressed usually answers as follows:

Than you, I (certainly) will.

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