Good Morning / Afternoon / Evening / Night

Discussion in 'English Only' started by riglos, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. riglos Senior Member

    Argentina - Spanish
    Hi there!

    Since I have to give a presentation, I was wondering whether any of you could give me some clear guidelines on how to determine when to say "Good morning / afternoon / evening / night everyone", i.e. what time each one begins and ends. I suppose (an hope) I won't have to use "night" at all. Here's my assumption:

    Good morning:5 AM to 12 PM or 00:00 to 24:00
    Good afternoon: 12 PM to 6 PM (?)
    Good evening:6 PM to 10 PM
    Good night: 10 PM onwards (or when you go to sleep, in fact ,or say goodbye for the rest of the day)

    Thank you!!!

  2. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
  3. quitejaded

    quitejaded Senior Member

    English, USA (texas)
    Here's another thing.

    If you stay up ALL NIGHT LONG with friends and you find that it is 2 AM (or still dark) you can still say "Good Night".
    It may be funny. The person may say "Good night" and look at their watch and laugh and say "or good morning!" It happens all the time!

    Here's another thing! (edit: Oh, I think the person above me already covered this)

    Do not leave somebody and say "good evening". Good Evening is a GREETING. Even if it is 10 PM, when you greet someone you greet them with "good evening" and when you leave you say "good night".

    Good afternoon is tricky. Usually I don't hear good afternoon at all. If someone says it, it is usually 12pm - 4 pm. But I don't think it really matters. In America atleast, people just say "hey" or "what's up" haha
  4. TLGeorge Member

    Kent, UK
    English, UK
    I'd agree roughly with what you said originally. Good Morning is from when you wake up (assuming you wake up before noon local time!) until noon, afternoon does exactly what it says on the tin, until about tea time. Afterwards, I would say good evening.

    Good Evening becoming good night, well it's quite sketchy. It's like in Spanish, I never know exactly when to use Buenas Tardes and Buenas Noches. I'd say the transition is probably comparable.

    I think really, the transition between the latter two can take place at any point between 9-12pm.
  5. quitejaded

    quitejaded Senior Member

    English, USA (texas)
    TL, "good evening' and "good night" is easy. You use "good evening" to greet someone and "good night" to dismiss them. It doesn't matter how late it is.
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum <<PongoMod>> EO'Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I can't find the previous thread on this topic.

    Ignore the clock.

    If it is before lunch, say good morning.

    If it is after lunch, but before whatever kind of break happens between 4 and 7, say good afternoon.

    After that say good evening.

    Only say good night at the end if you said good evening at the beginning.
  7. riglos Senior Member

    Argentina - Spanish
    Thanks to all for your insightful answers!! Panj, I agree with you mostly, but don't you think it'd be better:

    If it is after lunch, but before whatever kind of break happens between 2 and 7, say good afternoon.

    One question: What if the presentation plan is as follows?:

    7 AM to 12 PM: Presentations. 'Good morning'
    12 PM to 2 PM: Lunch break.
    2 PM to 4 PM: Presentations. 'Good afternoon'
    4 PM to 4:30 PM: Break.
    4:30 PM to 12 PM: Presentations When greeting the audience: 'Good evening' even if it's 4:30 in the afternoon???? / 'Good evening' even if it's 11PM???
    At the end of the presentation or when you leave a place (gral): 'Good night' even if it's 4:30 PM???


  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum <<PongoMod>> EO'Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Sorry, Mara, I was assuming a typical UK conference schedule.

    7 AM to 12 PM: Presentations. 'Good morning':tick:
    12 PM to 2 PM: Lunch break.
    2 PM to 4 PM: Presentations. 'Good afternoon':tick:
    4 PM to 4:30 PM: Break.
    4:30 PM to 12 PM: Presentations When greeting the audience: 'Good evening' even if it's 4:30 in the afternoon????
    That is a bit unlikely, but for this session I would indeed begin with Good evening.
    / 'Good evening' even if it's 11PM???
    There is very little chance of any presentation beginning so late. If it did, I would still say Good evening. Good night is a parting.
    At the end of the presentation or when you leave a place (gral): 'Good night' even if it's 4:30 PM???
    No, at that time of day good night would not be appropriate. Good evening would perhaps be OK. More likely it would be a normal end of presentation statement like "Thank you for your attention."
  9. Tresley

    Tresley Senior Member

    Yorkshire / United Kingdom
    British English
    Hello Riglos,

    Good morning = 0:00 - 12:00 (Good-bye when leaving) (Good night if going to bed)
    Good afternoon = 12:01 - 17:00 (Good-bye when leaving)
    Good evening = 17:01 - 24:00 (Good night when leaving)

    Hope this helps.
  10. blindsay Member

    CANADA - English
    Good morning -- wake-up time until 11:59 am
    Good afternoon -- 12:00 pm until dinner, unless you eat later in the evening like many Europeans.

    I disagree with Panjandrum that 'Good evening' is appropriate for 4:30 pm. To me it is a clear 'Good afternoon'.

    Good evening -- I'd say that "good evening" can start at 5:00 pm, though

    Yes, generally say "good night" as a goodby. You can also say 'Have a good night' to someone who is heading out to do something for the night.
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum <<PongoMod>> EO'Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I'm gently amused by the assumption inherent in much of this thread that we can set explicit time boundaries for these things. And I particularly enjoy the thought of the follow-on discussion with blindsay in which we amicably negotiate our way to a definition of the point at which afternoon becomes evening - probably at around 4:53:27:D

    On the other hand, being serious, I agree with blindsay about 5 - there is definitely a "watershed" point at 5, the end of the traditional 9-5 working day.
  12. giladong New Member

    I know that this is an old discussion. But, I am still confused. I am trying to summarize, correct me if I am wrong:

    1. Good Evening is only used when we greet someone. Good Night is only used when we leave someone.

    2. The problem is when to start using Evening. Sometimes we still have to use Afternoon. Or, sometimes we have to start using Evening. It depends on the situation.
  13. Æsop Banned

    Suburb of Washington, D.C.
    English--American (upstate NY)
    I would certainly say "Have a good evening" when departing from someone after dinner, and I'm not at all sure that I've never said "Good evening" when departing. I don't remember ever learning a rule that "Good evening" = greeting only. If I had been with someone for some time, and he or she was getting ready to leave, I don't think the other person would interpret "Good evening" to mean that I meant to prolong the encounter. I think of "Good evening" at departure as more formal than "Good night," sometimes used facetiously.

    On the other hand, there is, as far as I know, no "Good evening kiss."
  14. giladong New Member

    So, we can use Good Night when we greet or leave someone. Also, we can say Good Evening when we greet or leave someone.

    I am still confused about how to use Good Evening or Good Night. Especially, Good Evening.
  15. MenteECuoreProgressista Member

    Florida, USA
    English - United States
    There is obviously a lot of disagreement over certain time distinctions, as can be seen even on these forums. The few that are pretty much always agreed upon is that 12 PM (Noon) start the afternoon, and 12 AM (Midnight) starts the morning.

    One thing I will also say is that I agree with many of the other members of the forums is that "good night" should only be used when parting for the night, and never as a greeting. During "nighttime" I would use the greeting "good evening."
  16. giladong New Member

    So, it is correct to say "Good Afternoon" when starting a meeting on 16:00 (or 4:00 PM). And, it is still ok also if we say "Good Evening" at that time.
  17. Babel3000 Member

    Babel tower
    Wow.. impressive number of answers... I always teach my students:

    05.00 - 12.00 = morning
    12.00 = noon
    12.00 - 18.00 = afternoon
    18.00 - 21.00 = evening
    21.00 - 05.00 = night (with midnight at 00.00)

    The light has nothing to do with it since there is no precise time for dusk and dawn (they change according to seasons).
  18. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English
    << Moderator note: Merged with an earlier thread>>

    What do other native speakers think is the time of day that divides afternoon and evening.

    Example: I walk into a restaurant and the waiter says:

    Good morning sir.
    Good afternoon sir.
    Good evening sir.

    Clearly morning gives way to afternoon at midday. When does afternoon become evening?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2011
  19. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    My vote is for 1800 hours local time.
  20. Gwan Senior Member

    Indre et Loire, France
    New Zealand, English
    That sounds roughly right, but I don't think there's one definite answer (as I'm sure you realise). Generally, if I were to refer to the "evening" (I don't think I ever have call to actually say 'good evening'), I'd probably mean after work (as in when *I* finish, which depends on my mood :)). (Then of course you get into when does night start - when it's dark? What if it's dark at 4.30, etc...?)

    (Are we sure this hasn't been discussed before? EDIT: It has been discussed before.<<..>>)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2011
  21. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)

    And as has been said (but not always heard) Good morning, Good afternoon and Good evening are greetings (= hello); Good night is a farewell (= goodbye).
  22. robyn6cp New Member

    keep it simple there are 3 categories morning, afternoon and evening. you can call it morning after 12 midnight until 12 noon. then it is the afternoon obviously until 6 o'clock, when it becomes the evening up till 12 midnight...night and day are something different again, usually meaning when its light and when its dark. therefore say good day to someone when its clear, and you can see them without a light hehe and goodnight when you need some form of illumination to find day and night should not be mixed up with morning, afternoon, and evening...simples...
  23. Phil-Olly Senior Member

    Scotland, English
    I've always thought it amusing that we can be so picky about the time watershed for morning and afternoon.

    For example if I phone somebody about lunchtime, and haven't realised that it's not yet midday, I might say "good afternoon", which frequently provokes an bemused comment from the other party along the lines of, "actually, it's still morning!" But why on earth shouldn't I express a wish that somebody has a good afternoon in advance of it actually being afternoon? (After all, we wish people a 'Merry Christmas' several days before the actual event.) And what's the point of extending good wishes for their morning, when that morning has only five minutes left to run?
  24. Lamourie New Member

    American English
    I grew up in New England using the convention that "afternoon" changed to "evening" around 6:00 PM but there was no exact definition. But when I lived in Louisiana I was surprised that many people, store clerks for example, would bid me "good evening" in saying goodbye, when it was as early as 3:00 PM! Most commonly they would say "Have a good evening". This was a frequent occurrence and more common than "have a good afternoon".

    In describing noon and midnight, there are some who would quibble that noon and midnight are exact dividing lines between AM and PM, and thus 12:00 AM and 12:00 PM do not exist. They would prefer 12:00 Noon and 12:00 Midnight. As an example, Amtrak train timetables use the abbreviations "A" for AM, "P" for PM, "N" for noon and "M" for midnight.
  25. Copperknickers Senior Member

    Scotland - Scots and English
    It depends entirely on daylight hours. Here in Scotland, 'evening' begins around 16.30 in early December.
  26. edpwiggins New Member

    Clarksdale, MS
    12:01 am to 11:59 am good morning/12:00 pm to 5:59 pm good afternoon and 6:00 pm to 12:00 good evening is how I have always taught my student to tell time. Ed Wiggins:)
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2013
  27. Evanthia Nakou Senior Member

    afternoon Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
    According to Cambridge Dictionary
    Afternoon period starts at about twelve o'clock or after the meal in the middle of the day and ends at about six o'clock or when the sun goes down.
    All the above considered we say from 12-18 or after meal or when the sun goes down "Good afternoon" and from 18.01 and onwards "Good evening".
  28. velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    I don't say "Good afternoon" from as early as midday. That would be rather strange in BE, I think. As others have said above, "good afternoon" is usually said after the midday meal; for me that would mean starting from about 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon. It may depend on one's routine - if you start work very early in the morning and eat around midday, then 12: 01 may feel like the "afternoon" to you.

    When I first came to Greece I was surprised to hear people saying "Good afternoon" to me - at about 12.30, when I still had a couple of hours to go before lunch. If I tell someone "See you this afternoon", I usually have in mind a time after about 3 or 4 o'clock, and it's the same with "good afternoon" - it isn't literally "after noon" for me.
  29. Evanthia Nakou Senior Member

    We don't say " kalispera" the equivalent to "Good afternoon " at 12.01 either in Greece berore lunch, it's considered rather unnatural.We usually say it after lunch.I thought that you say this in England but I guess "Good afternoon" is used the same way as it is used in Greece. So we say say Good afternoon at 12.01 because we think that this is what you say in England which is proved to be a misconception.
  30. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    This is all a bit over-complicated. How do you know if the other person has had their lunch or not? How do they know what time you eat? What if you're on a diet, do you say good morning right through to teatime? And what about Muslims during Ramadan?

    No, let's be sensible; these terms are divided, approximately, by the stroke of the noonday bell, but nobody's going to report you to the language police if you get it up to an hour late.
  31. extremesinger New Member

    As a multi-lingual speaker in a multi-cultural home, I have always taught my children:
    Good morning: 5 AM to 11:59 AM or 05:00 to 11:59
    Good Day: @ (Noon) 12 PM or @ 12:00
    Good afternoon: 12:01 PM to 5:59 PM (?) or 12:01 to 17:59
    Good evening: 6 PM to 8:59 PM or 18:00 to 20:59
    Good night: 9 PM onwards (bedtime) or 21:00+
  32. Raaz Lama

    Raaz Lama New Member

    Excuse me sir,
    Actually I also want to know more about it because, we usually say : Good morning from 03:00 Am to 11:59 Am, if we are greeting a person for the first time of that day. But New day will start from mid night at 12:00am.
    Similarly, Good afternoon from 12:00 Pm to 04:59 Pm & from 05:00 Pm we start saying Good Evening. But still I don't know the exactly time to how many O'clock I can say Good Evening when I meet them.
    I know we can use Good Night word but I think it's better to say Goodnight, Only when we are leaving.
    At the time of greeting, what should we say at night time Sir ?
    If we meet somebody at the night time like, at 11:00pm or midnight at 12:15 Am then what should we say ?
  33. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    To get back to the original question, which was about someone giving a presentation:
    • If the presentation starts before lunch, "Good morning."
    • If the presentation starts during or after lunch but before dinner, "Good afternoon." This even applies to a 4 pm presentation in Reykjavik in late December. (If you've never been to Iceland in late December: it's dark then. Trust me.)
    • If the presentation starts during or after dinner, "Good evening."
    • "Good night" is never appropriate as a greeting or opening line.
  34. Raaz Lama

    Raaz Lama New Member

    12:00 Am to 11:59 Am= Good Morning
    12:00 Pm to 04:59 Pm= Good Afternoon
    05:00 Pm to 07:59 Pm= Good Evening
    It's all are used at greeting the people.
    But what we should say after 08:00 Pm if we are greeting a person for first time on that day or night moment ?
    We cannot say Good Evening because evening time has been past already.
    I saw, here some of our friends have written Good Night. Yes Of course we say Goodnight at night time but it should be used only when we are leaving. Suppose I meet One gentleman at midnight 12:10 Am, then if I say "Good Night gentleman" then start the it true ? I don't think so.
    So please some body give me the good suggestion........
  35. Juhasz Senior Member

    English - United States
    In American English, you say "good evening" when greeting someone between afternoon and morning. As Egmont says, "good night" is only ever used when saying goodbye.

    American English speakers (at least the American English speakers everywhere I've lived) use "good evening" only in formal contexts, or when the speaker is attempting to be polite. Among friends, coworkers, family, etc. this phrase is generally not used. If you meet a friend at 12:10 AM, you say, "Hi."

    If you meet a gentleman (I'm imagining him to be wearing a top hat and twirling a cane - that is to say, you are very unlikely to meet a gentleman in contemporary America) at 12:10 AM, you'd say "good evening." If you met a gentleman at 3:30 AM, you'd say, "What's a gentleman like you doing out at 3:30 in the morning?"
  36. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Yes, we do say good evening.

    The point is that good evening = hello, and good night = goodbye.

    Both are used from (approximately) sunset to midnight.

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