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  1. #1
    Alex_D is offline Newbie
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    Arrow How to say hello and goodbye?

    Hi everybody.
    I have a simple, but very interesting for learners question. How do native speakers say hello and goodbye in different situations? What words do they use in formal writing, in informal emailing and instant messaging. There are clear differences between formal and informal communications, but I am often confused with choosing appropriate words while informal emailing when it's ok while IM'ing, and especially while writing semiformal emails (e.g. to my teacher). I would appreciate if you describe how you, your friends and anybody else write emails and instant messages. I suggest the following pattern of answering:

    • Formal EM beginnings/endings: ...
    • Informal EM beginnings/endings: ...
    • Informal IM beginnings/endings: ...
    • Your comments on using some of them.

  2. #2
    Alex_D is offline Newbie
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    Default An example of the answer

    • Formal EM beginnings:


    1. Dear
      1. Dear Mr Powell
      2. Dear Ms Mackenzie
      3. Dear Frederick Hanson
      4. Dear Editor-in-Chief
      5. Dear Valued Customer
      6. Dear Sir or Madam
      7. Dear Madam
      8. Dear Sir
      9. Dear Sirs
      10. Dear Gentlemen

    • Formal EM endings: yours sincerely, yours faithfully, best regards, best wishes
    • Informal EM beginnings:


    1. Honey (child, romantic partner, or younger person)
    2. Dear
    3. Sweetie
    4. Love
    5. Darling
    6. Babe or Baby (romantic partner)
    7. Pal (father or grandfather calls male child)
    8. Buddy or Bud (very informal between friends or adult-to-child; can be seen as negative)
    • Informal EM endings: sincerely yours
    • Informal IM endings:


    1. bye, bye-bye, good bye, bye now, bye for now, see you, see you soon/tomorrow
    2. good luck: 'I hope this is helpful. Good luck with your studies' (quote).
    3. see ya:
      1. Well, I gotta go. See ya!
      2. See ya tomorrow. Have a nice day (AmE, infml)
      3. See ya, man. Keep on trucking (AmE, sl)
      4. See ya. Time to cruise (AmE)
      5. Time to trip. See ya (AmE, Bl)

    4. ta-ta (BrE, infml):
      1. See ya later. Ta-ta!
      2. Ta-ta! Take care

    If began 'Dear Mr. ...', end "Yours sincerely"; if 'Dear Sir', "Yours faithfully" (quote). Informals were taken from Lingvo 'Informal' dictionary. Beginnings were offered by a teacher.

    What do you think of acceptability of using beginnings like 'Dear HR specialist', when there is no info about the name on an employer's website?
    P.S. A question to native speakers. My teacher told me, that 'Best regards' is used only in informal letters. Is it really so? Before this talk I've sent an email to an employer with such an expression and now is doubting whether it is correct.

  3. #3
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    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: An example of the answer

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex_D View Post
    [LIST]
    A question to native speakers. My teacher told me, that 'Best regards' is used only in informal letters. Is it really so? Before this talk I've sent an email to an employer with such an expression and now is doubting whether it is correct.

    In the US, at least, "Best regards" is used as more of a formal complimentary closing. Certainly it is used more in business or academic correspondence than in informal correspondence between friends or co-workers. However, "Best regards" would not be traditionally used in the very first communication with a business person. First letters are more formal and should be signed either "Sincerely" or "Sincerely yours" or "Very truly yours." Then, once you've received a reply to your first communique, or you've spoken to the person on the phone, or met him in person, you can sign your letters with "Best regards." It is friendly but still formal.

  4. #4
    Alex_D is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: How to say hello and goodbye?

    Thank you for your explanation. Now I see the difference. The reason why I used 'Best regards' is that it seems to be more neutral than 'Yours sincerely' and 'Yours faithfully'. In Russian they are rather personal. Well, what about using 'Best wishes'? Is it used the same way as 'Best regards'?

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: How to say hello and goodbye?

    I would only use 'Best wishes' in a personal letter. (British English speaker).

    BTW I do use 'Regards' or 'Best regards' in emails when replying to people, even if it is the first time.

  6. #6
    gauri_agr is offline Member
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    Default Re: How to say hello and goodbye?

    What is EM and IM mean here?

  7. #7
    Alex_D is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: How to say hello and goodbye?

    E-mail and instant message. I thought it is obvious.

  8. #8
    gauri_agr is offline Member
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    Default Re: How to say hello and goodbye?

    Thanks :)

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