Hey - hi - hello

Antonio

Senior Member
Mexico/Spanish
Hi Group,

"Hey" is the same thing as "Hi or Hello", right? I mean, in the informal way of speaking. And example would be:

Hey Antonio, what's up?
Hey Kate, how it going?
Hey Matt, what's going on?
Hey Lianne, how are you doing?

If am right or if am wrong, please let me know.
 
  • Mr X

    Member
    Australia, English
    Yes, Antonio, 'hey' is used instead of 'hi'. All those examples were correct (as you said, in an informal setting).

    'Hey' can also be used to draw attention to something in speaking.
    eg. Hey, look at that!
    Hey, what's going on?

    Mr X.
     

    Antonio

    Senior Member
    Mexico/Spanish
    ok, now I know that is very informal to say it. Normally you would say it to your friends or the people you get along to, right? But what about the other way around, if you don't know the guy or in a meeting, how you address to people in that kind of situation?
     

    VenusEnvy

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    Antonio said:
    But what about the other way around, if you don't know the guy or in a meeting, how you address to people in that kind of situation?
    Antonio, I think you already know the answer. By now, you should already know informal, and formal greetings.

    Formal:
    Hello.
    How are you today?
    How have you been?

    Informal:
    Hey.
    What's up?
    How ya doin?
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Also, when hey is used to get someone's attention, like "Hey, Antonio, where are my books?", you wuld say more formally, with someone you don't know "Excuse me, but where are my books?" Or you would not say anything but "Do you know where my books are, Antonio?"
     

    jrundin

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Hey is used like Spanish "oye" or "oiga" to get someone's attention. In very informal English (particularly around young people) it can mean "hello." However, it would be rude to use it in a formal setting.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Is it possible to say 'Hi' to your boss or any adult who you don't call by their first name? Or should I definitely go for 'hello'?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It depends on a lot of different factors. This is a question of etiquette rather than of English.

    "Hi" is casual, breezy, and informal. Some people (especially older people) might feel offended if the other person (especially a younger person) seems to lack due respect.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I agree with Velisarius about “Hi”. It’s breezy, informal and might not go down well with people who are senior to you in age or status.

    Since this thread has popped up again, I’d like to add that I think saying “hey” instead of hi or hello is not very common in the UK. Maybe it is done in certain social groups, but it’s not something I hear.
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I don't know where I picked it up, but when I was in high school (in England) I had a habit of greeting my friends with "Hey", at which they would invariably answer "Straw":rolleyes:. I never used it after that.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    To greet someone I see on the sidewalk, I say "Hey". That means the same as "Hi" or "Hello". Which word you use is personal style or regional style. Mine is "Hey". Some people say "How you doin' " as their greeting.

    Those are all "walking by, not starting a conversation" greetings.

    To start a conversation: if I have the person's attention, I just start speaking. If not, I say their name to get their attention. If I don't know their name, I might say "Excuse me". For example:

    Arthur...do you know what time it is?
    Excuse me...does bus 13 stop here?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I do agree with the adverse remarks about 'Hey!' as a civilised greeting in the UK, even nowadays. It's what I'd shout after somebody who grabbed my handbag and ran off with it.
    'Hey, lady!' or 'Hey, missis!' is what the winos and potheads hanging around our high street leeringly mumble as they lurch towards you, filthy hands outstretched.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    greeting my friends with "Hey", at which they would invariably answer "Straw":rolleyes:
    My grandmother was the kind of person who, if she heard someone using Hey! to get another's attention (no-one would ever dare use it to her), would say, "Hay is what horses eat, Ewan ~ say Excuse me":)
     

    AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    Is it possible to say 'Hi' to your boss or any adult who you don't call by their first name? Or should I definitely go for 'hello'?
    It's normal in American English or, more precisely, in American etiquette.
     
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