Greek Language Blog

Basic English phrases translated in Greek Posted by on Jun 30, 2019 in Vocabulary

Γεια σας! When speaking or writing in a foreign language, one of the biggest challenges is to avoid the direct translation of common expressions. In this post, there is a list of common English phrases translated in Greek.

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  1. Until next time. The direct translation μέχρι την επόμενη φορά makes no sense in Greek. It’s better to say θα τα πούμε σύντομα which means “we’ll talk soon”.
  2. I can’t wait (in the sense of “I look forward to something”). In Greek, we don’t say δεν μπορώ να περιμένω because this means literally I can’t wait. It is better to use Ανυπομονώ, which means “I am impatient”.
  3. Let me (help you). Never say άσε με να σε βοηθήσω because it sounds strange. We say  να σε  / να σας βοηθήσω.
  4. Take it easy (meaning “relax”). We say ηρέμησε (calm down) or χαλάρωσε (relax).
  5. I need (to be there at 7). We would say πρέπει να είμαι εκεί στις 7 (I must be there at 7) or χρειάζεται να είμαι εκεί στις 7 (literally, it needs for me to be there at 7). The verb χρειάζομαι (to need) is followed by a noun. Example: Χρειάζομαι ένα ποτό (I need a drink). / Χρειάζομαι έναν γιατρό. (I need a doctor). If we want to use the verb χρειάζομαι with a verb, we put it in the third singular person (χρειάζεται).
  6. Take your time can be translated as με την ησυχία σου (don’t rush, do it at your own pace).
  7. What’s up can mean τι κάνεις; (how are you?) or τι νέα; (what’s new?)
  8. It was nice talking to you can be translated as χάρηκα που μιλήσαμε or χάρηκα που τα είπαμε.  We can use these phrases when talking to someone we know but they are too formal to use when talking to a close friend.
  9. Poor John! / Poor Mary! Poor in Greek is φτωχός but in this context it is translated as ο καημένος / η καημένη: Ο καημένος ο Γιάννης! Η καημένη η Μαρία!
  10. Have a nice day. In Greek we say καλή σου μέρα (informal) / καλή σας μέρα (formal).


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About the Author: Ourania

Ourania lives in Athens. She holds a degree in French Literature and a Master’s degree in Special Education for Children. Since 2008, she has been teaching Greek to foreigners.


  1. Dora:

    Thank you Ourania, these are so helpful.

    • Ourania:

      @Dora Thank you, I’m glad this helps 🙂

  2. Kyriakos:

    Γεια σου, Ουρανία
    I visited Greece as a young teenager in the late 70s.
    ο καημένος reminded me of the lovely Grigoris Bithikotsis/Theodorakis song that our Greek friends often played:
    Ευχαριστώ για το post σου

    • Ourania:

      @Kyriakos Yes, I know the song 🙂
      Εγώ ευχαριστώ για το ενδιαφέρον σου!