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12 Dynamic Ways to Say Hello (Part II) Posted by on Dec 17, 2012 in Intermediário

Yo, What up, English learners?  How’s it goin’ with your dynamic greetings? How fluent and relaxed do you feel with your greetings?  This is your chance to have some fun with some formal and informal greetings, and learn a few things.

In part 1 of this article, we gave a deeper and modern interpretation of traditional ways to say hello:

(1) hey,
(2) hi/ hello
(3) how are you?
(4) how ya’ doin?
(5) good morning/ afternoon/ evening.

Today we’re going to learn even more dynamic ways to say hi and connect with people.

As we mentioned in the first article, the way you greet and connect with people will determine not only their perception of you as an English speaker, but also the quality of the connection you create with the person, and your own confidence in speaking English.

So here we go. Let’s do this!

Dynamic Greetings (formal and informal)

6. HOW’S IT GOIN’?— In American English, both informal and formal, this is asking “how is IT going?” The “it” is your life, your day, your energy (third person singular), but NOT YOU.  Correct response: IT’S going well. (The response, “It’s going,” implicitly communicates that “things could be better).

People often make the mistake of saying “I’m going well.”  You can also replace “IT” with any other thing, such as “your day” or “your job” or anything. (Note: Australians contradict this, using “How are YOU going,” which demands a response of “I’m going well.”)

7. WHAT’S GOIN’ ON?/ WHAT’S GOIN’ DOWN?— This is generally informal, but it’s still pretty common. Both of these questions are asking “what is happening,” which, similar to “What’s up?” (#9) it doesn’t ask for a long or informative response.  While “What’s Goin’ Down” is a big more slangy and informal, both of these are used with people you know.

8. HOW’VE YOU BEEN (LATELY)?—This one is confusing for some intermediate learners because they confuse the verb tenses (the present perfect with the present perfect continuous) and are not familiar with the expression.  The lately is implicit in the expression.

The correct response is, “I’ve been well,” but a lot of native speakers say “good.” Even though “I’m good” is not technically a correct response, it’s popular to use.

9. WHAT ARE YOU UP TO?/ WHAT’VE YOU BEEN UP TO?— Most non-native English speakers don’t understand this question because few people know that “up to” means “doing.” It’s asking “What are you doing”/ “What have you been doing.”

The pronunciation is another challenge to recognize because Americans pronounce any “T” that is between two vowels as a D. (i.e. better= “bedder”).

Pronunciation Notes:

  • What are you up to = “Whad-ir-u-up to”
  • What’ve you been up to= “Whaduv-ya’ been up to?

10. LONG TIME NO SEE— Is a common expression to greet people you haven’t seen in a long time. Although it’s very popular amongst natives, the funny thing is that it’s actually not even close to correct English, as it was introduced by Chinese immigrants as a direct translation of the Chinese expression, “Hao jiu mel jian.”

Note: Latin Americans who say “How long” are incorrectly translating “quanto tempo/ cuanto tiempo” and they should use “Long time no see.”

Dynamic Informal/ Slang Greetings

11. YO— A relaxed, slangy social greeting amongst people who are friends/ close (often young people). The origin of this is Sylvester Stallone in the movie Rocky, when he says “Yo, Adrian.”  This is definitely informal.

After Rocky, it was popularized by rappers and then picked up by the white American middle class.  This is also used to get somebody’s attention (just like “hey”), and also as a slang expression for your (Yo, how’s yo’ English?). “

12. WHAT(‘S) UP/ WAZZUP/ SUP?— “What’s up?” literally asks what you are doing, but the asker is often using it as an informal greeting that doesn’t ask for more than a brief response.  You should respond with “nothing” or if it’s appropriate, briefly tell them what you’re doing. “What up”/ “Wazzup” and “Sup” are all variations of this.

Here’s a popular Budweiser commercial that uses it not only “Wazzup” in a humorous way, but also other greetings.

If you wanna learn more about “dynamic English skills” and haven’t yet, be sure to read Part 1, and I invite you to download a free copy of the popular Real Life English e-book, “101 Word You’ll Never Learn in School.” We’ve also written a great article on greetings called “23 Ways to Greet Somebody in English.” See you guys next time!

Justin Murray was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, but he currently lives in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He is the founder of the hot new ESL blog, Real Life English. Real Life English also has a free international language learning community on Facebook, with nearly 4,000 members from more than 50 countries.

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About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.