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  1. #1
    enthink is offline Junior Member
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    Default American English: Is "Hello" more formal than "Hi"?

    Hello,

    Can a native American English speaker (English is your first language) answer this question:

    Is "Hello" more formal than "Hi"?

    In American movies, I've seen quite a lot of (adult) people who didn't know each other saying "hi" to each other in a formal situation (and they were not rude, they were polite)... Can an American clarify this? Thanks.

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: American English: Is "Hello" more formal than "Hi"?

    'Hello' is more formal, but 'hi' isn't impolite - there are many coarser geetings (for example, you wouldn't say "How are they hangin?" to your prospective new father-in-law the first time you met!)

    b

    PS I'm not American, but the same applies in British English.
    Last edited by BobK; 08-Feb-2009 at 12:50. Reason: Added PS

  3. #3
    Ouisch's Avatar
    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: American English: Is "Hello" more formal than "Hi"?

    Even though "Hi" seems informal, it has become the standard accepted greeting in all situations in AmE. In fact, unless you are answering the telephone (which, in the US, the standard greeting is "Hello?") "hello" in a face-to-face situation seems a bit stilted. You'll find that even at the most formal diplomatic functions in the US, "Hi, how are you?" or "Hi, so nice to meet you" are standard greetings.

  4. #4
    enthink is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: American English: Is "Hello" more formal than "Hi"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouisch View Post
    Even though "Hi" seems informal, it has become the standard accepted greeting in all situations in AmE. In fact, unless you are answering the telephone (which, in the US, the standard greeting is "Hello?") "hello" in a face-to-face situation seems a bit stilted. You'll find that even at the most formal diplomatic functions in the US, "Hi, how are you?" or "Hi, so nice to meet you" are standard greetings.
    That's exactly what I thought. Thank you very much!

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