Hello / Hi / Good morning/evening

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Shark, Dec 18, 2004.

  1. Shark

    Shark Senior Member

    France - French
    I have a problem since I'm in England for my studies, I never know what to say when I meet someone.

    To my friends, I always say "Hi". But I would like to know if "Good morning" would sound too formal? Once, I said to a girl: "have a good evening", and she told me it sounded a bit posh.

    The same problem with people I don't know. I was shocked to hear the cashiers at Tesco telling me "Hi ya" or something like that. Should I say "Hi" to a cashier? In French, I would never say "Salut" to a supermarket's cashier, but "Bonjour"!

    Another thing is the word "cheers". Is it much less formal than "Thank you"? Can I say "thanks" to my teacher? Can I say "cheers"? Once, my teacher (who is quite young and even put his feet on the desk!) send us an e-mail with "cheers guys" at the end. Is it common between teachers and students?

    Last thing: is "How are you" quite formal? Because I don't hear young English people saying that. They would say something like: "You're alright?". What about "How are you doing?"

    As you can see, after 3 months in England I'm still a bit confused! Thanks for your help!
  2. avalon2004 Senior Member

    Merseyside, England
    UK- English/Spanish
    "Good morning" in my opinion sounds far too formal to say to friends though you could probably abbreviate it to "morning". As for "have a good evening", I wouldn't necessarily say that sounds posh. You would probably just replace 'evening' with 'night', although that wouldn't make it sound much different.
    To be honest, you can say "hi" to more or less anyone other than people who are in a noticeably much higher position than yourself.
    "Thanks" and "Thank you" are pretty much interchangeable I'd say, although if you're trying to emphasize your gratitude you'd probably use 'thank you'.
    I would refrain from saying 'cheers' because it sounds a bit too informal other than with people who you'd probably address using "tu" in French.
    I always use "how are you" and I wouldn't say it's formal, the other phrases are just more informal. Being a 16 year old student, I'd never go up to an adult and say "You alright?" or "How are you doing?" as that sounds a bit too informal. You'd maybe use it with friends but I personally prefer "how are you".
    Hope that helps, sorry for rambling! :)
  3. RTB

    RTB Junior Member

    England, English
    Boys/men often just greet each other with 'alright' or 'you alright?' One generally finds that girls/women do not.
    'How are you?' is fine in all circumstances and most people use it. If it sounds a little too affected, you could change it to 'how are ya?', 'how ya doing' or something like that.
    'Have a good evening' is perfectly normal, as is 'have a good weekend' or 'have a nice night'.
    'Cheers' is another word that is used widely and by both sexes. A boy/man could say it to a teacher/lecturer, but it probably wouldn't sound quite right if a girl did so. Then again, the teacher probably wouldn't hold it against you!
    'Good morning' is also perfectly fine, but as avalon2004 says, it sounds a little less formal as 'morning'.
    I think in the social circles that most people move in, informality is the order of the day. A French friend of mine has commented on the informaility that exists between lecturer and student at university - calling by first names, etc.
    Best of luck.

  4. Shark

    Shark Senior Member

    France - French
    Thank you very much the both of you! I'm wondering about "Bye", "Goodbye" and "Bye-bye", but maybe I'm worrying too much...!
  5. RTB

    RTB Junior Member

    England, English
    'Goodbye' and 'bye' are both perfectly normal; 'bye-bye' may, perhaps, be considered a little childish.
    'See you later', 'see you tommorrow/next week/on Monday etc' are what most people tend to use. In the cities most kids/adolescents might just say 'later', but I've never actually heard it used in a university/adult environment.
    'Catch you later' and 'see you around' are Americanisms and are probably best avoided when in England, though I'm sure nobody will hold them against you!
    Oh, and most people often slip a 'take care' in there somewhere - whether they mean it or not!

  6. scandalously in love

    scandalously in love Senior Member

    Canada - English
    This is true, and i agree with the whole post, but I just wanted to add that while "bye-bye" is a little childish, some people shorten the first "bye" and say the word very quickly, so its sounds like "buhbye" ("daDUM" kind of rhythm). That's a common way to say goodbye as well.
  7. Shark

    Shark Senior Member

    France - French
    Oh Really?! Thank you very much, I tend to use it sometimes! And they always tell me that at the supermarket or in some shops! But it's true that I look younger that I really am... they consider me as a child so! ok, it's embarrassing now!

    About "buhbye", I think it's the version I heard. So maybe it's not that terrible...

    Thanks for your help!
  8. Petrie787 Senior Member

    English, United States
    i find that generally, English-speaking people (especiall in America) are very informal most of the time, and tend to greet even people who they don't know well (even like a cashier) with a "Hi!" or any informal greeting. Obviously there are times when this woudlnt be appropriate, but usually you can say "hi," "thanks," or "how's it goin?" to almost anyone. Also, i dont think that "how are you?" sounds too formal at all, and you should know that "good evening" is very formal and i don't think i have actually even said it. With english, i find that anything really goes ;)

    ...it must just stem from that fact that there is no "formal" way to say words and conjugate things like in other languages like french, spanish, etc. so in effect EVERYTHING is kind of informal...
  9. "kikou" ou "coucou"...bien aussi...(pour familier parlant, non?)
  10. Guiwald Junior Member

    In Australia, lot of people said "See ya mate" to say goodbye. Even in shop, or by people I don't know.
    Can I use the same in England ?
    Otherwise, like you just said, most people said "take care" when you leave them.
  11. Nicosito Senior Member

    French and UK English, ferpectly bilingual
    I agree that, in many situations, there is a far stricter distinction between what is "formal" and what isn't in France than in England.

    (Both places have their own niches in hypocritical salutations, etc. they have just invented different rules.)

  12. funnyhat Senior Member

    Michigan, U.S.A.
    American English
    Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with saying "Good morning." I'm more likely to say "Hi" (or "Hey") with someone I'm close friends with, though. On the other hand, "Good evening" is very formal - it's the sort of thing that a waiter at a fancy restaurant might say to you, and that's about it.

    As for cashiers, you can just nod your head and say "Hi."

    I can't really comment on "cheers" (it's used much less often here), but the only real difference between "thank you" and "thanks" is that the former conveys more of a deep sense of gratitude. If you drop a pencil on the ground and someone picks it up, you might say "thanks," but if someone loans you some money, it would be more proper to say "thank you" (or "thank you so much").

    "How are you?" isn't all that formal, but "How are you doing?" or "How's it going?" are probably a bit more casual.
  13. Procuradorman New Member

    Soyo, Angola
    RTB, Funnyhat, and Petrie787, Your posts helped me a lot.

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