Usage of "Guten Tag" at different times of the day

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Liam Lew's

Senior Member
Hello,

when do you think is the expression "Guten Tag" appropriate?
Can it be used all day long or only at noon for example?

I, for one, usually treat it as a time-independent expression and use it throughout the whole day, exept maybe if the day has only a few hours to go. I regard switching among greetings as optional, what is your take on it?

Best,
Liam
 
Last edited:
  • Frieder

    Senior Member
    I, for one, usually treat it as time-independent expression and use it throughout the whole day
    So do I :thumbsup:.
    I regard switching among greetings as optional, what is your take on it?
    From about five o'clock a.m. till noon it's always "Guten Morgen".
    Then it's "Guten Tag".
    From sunset till around midnight I say "Guten Abend".
    Between midnight and 5 a.m. I rarely talk at all :D.
     

    Frank78

    Senior Member
    German
    From about five o'clock a.m. till noon it's always "Guten Morgen".
    Until noon? That's pretty unusual, I think.

    For me it's:

    midnight - (roundabout) 10 a.m. = Guten Morgen
    10 a.m. - 6 p.m.* = Guten Tag
    6 p.m. - midnight = Guten Abend

    * sunset might play a slight role but I wouldn't say "Guten Abend" in winter at 5 p.m. or "Guten Tag" at 9 p.m. in summer.
     

    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    Guten Tag! <possible at all times>

    Guten Morgen! <possible till noon, but usually only till late morning around>

    Guten Abend! <usually approx. after 6 p.m. till midnight>

    I agree with @Frank78 in #3..
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Hi,
    in my opinion "Guten Tag" is a kind of default form. Like Frieder I think you can use it the whole day.
    It is the counterpart to "Auf Wiedersehen!"

    There are other forms restricted in time, like "Guten Morgen!", "Guten Abend!" or in meaning and time "Gute Nacht!"

    And there arme regional forms, like "Moin, Moin!", "Mahlzeit!" and others for different times.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    In contrast to the other greetings this is not a greeting but the wish to sleep well, though.
    Exactly. In German language "Gute Nacht" is an "Gute-Nacht-Gruß" (to say "Good night").

    "Mahlzeit" is a greeting in the noon time in Saxxony, not only for lunch "Guten Appetit" but also for "Guten Tag".

    "Grüß Gott" replaces "Guten Tag" in many of the Southern German countries, but depending on age and religion.
    In earlier times when I was young I never used it, but now I use it as symmetrical answer.

    New is the phrase Hallo! It replaces Guten Tag more and more in coll. Languages, but spoken in a German way.
     

    Liam Lew's

    Senior Member
    Thank you all for your insights and for confirming my assumptions. I had people trying to correct me when using "Guten Tag" in the evening. To me it seemed like a pedantic case of hypercorrection.
     

    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    Since it is used at noon time, how can you distinguish between the two meanings of what people say to you?
    When you are exactly before starting your meal, then it means "Guten Appetit!". You obviously have met and greeted before starting to eat.

    At all other times it is a greeting like "Guten Tag!". I regard the usage as very colloquial, sometimes jokingly, sometimes lower-class style.
     

    Kajjo

    Senior Member
    I had people trying to correct me when using "Guten Tag" in the evening. To me it seemed like a pedantic case of hypercorrection.
    Yes, it appears to be hypercorrection. There are situations where natives would simply used "Guten Tag!" even in the evening.

    "Guten Abend!" considers the time of day and the evening situation. It is more idiomatic in most evening situations. It might not have been a correction but an attempt to provide you with a more idiomatic greeting formula.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    If they say "Mahlzeit" in the house or on the street, it means "Guten Tag".
    If you sitting at the table in order to start your lunch, it means "Guten Appetit!".
    The style is colloquially and informal.

    Cross-posted with Kajjo
     
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