The words “hello” and “goodbye” are perhaps one of the first words you learn when embarking on a new language, aren’t they? I mean, I even know how to say “hello” and “goodbye” in languages I don’t even speak. These two words have just somehow become the basics or “need to know” words when learning a new language, usually followed by “thank you,” “how much is it” and “where’s the bathroom?”, am I right? This is what I would call survival English. You’re going on a trip to… let’s say, New York, but you know zero English, and you need to get by somehow, so you learn a few survival words and phrases. I 100% guarantee that “goodbye” will be one of those words; its just easy to learn. Now, let’s say you are more of an advanced English language learner, you go on a trip to New York, you tell the waiter goodbye, and he says “see you later”. Wait what? What did he just say? Why would he say that? I probably will never be here again…Is he expecting me to come back? Oh no! Is this American culture? Must I come back to this same place later? For what reason? Why is this waiter telling me that he’s going to see me later? Well…. How about you keep reading to find out all the many ways we Americans say goodbye in English. It may save you from some really awkward situations in the future.
Master English Tips Pack
Have a good day
- This expression is kind of formal, and is usually used whenever you are talking with people you are not close with. So, for example, you could say/ hear “have a good day” from colleagues, people in the elevator, waiters, cashiers, etc…
Susan: Thank you so much for the haircut, I look great.
Hairdresser: You’re very welcome, have a good day!
See you later
- This way of saying goodbye is extreamly common, so do not take it literal. If you hear it out and about from employees of the businesses you frequent, it may just be their way of being friendly. However, it is more common amongst friends and family. No, it doesn’t mean you will see them later that day or even that week, it just means that, eventually, you will see them later.
Shirley: So, the party is at 9pm. Do you need help setting up?
Julie: No, I can do it, just be there by 9.
Shirley: Cool, I’ll see you later!
- Okay, so this one is more common among the younger crowds. I would say, teens to early 30’s? Nevertheless, it’s a fun and friendly way to say goodbye in English.
James: Hey Mike, be sure to tell your dad I said hi, okay? I will see you later.
Mike: Sure thing, peace out.
- “Take care” is most commonly used among the older generations. It can be used in almost all types of situations: with family, friends, and strangers alike. It doesn’t matter, it’s just a friendly and kind way of saying “goodbye”. By saying “take care” it applies that we care about their well-being and we wish them well.
Samantha: I need to run by the store, so I will be heading out soon.
Greg: Alright, take care.
Master English Tips Pack
- Farewell is a way to express that you are leaving, or maybe someone else is leaving and you’re biding them farewell. Nonetheless, I should warn you that this is most commonly acceptable to use with older people, as it is a type of old English and quite formal. In my opinion, this would not be very common among friends or the younger generations.
Lisa: Oh no! I’m late! I should get going.
Lisa’s grandmother: Okay honey, I understand. Farewell now.
Catch you later
This phrase is technically slang, but it is extremely common, especially among friends and family. Now, I will say, I wouldn’t necessarily use this in a business setting. It may be awkward for you to say “catch you later” to your boss.
Eric: You want to meet me for dinner? Say 6 o’clock.
Joy: Sure, that sounds great. I’ll catch you later then.
Have a good one
- This phrase is really similar to the before mentioned “have a good day”. It just means that you hope the other person has a nice day/ days until you both meet again. However, it is strange to say this in the beginning or middle of a conversation. You may think like “well, I do hope they have a good day”, and that may be the case, but you wouldn’t say “have a good one” until the very end of your meeting/ conversation.
Cashier: The total is $32.00. Would that be cash or card?
Customer: Cash, please. gives cash to cashier
Cashier: Thank you, have a good one.
Customer: Thanks, you too!
- This is by far the most common way to say goodbye in English. “Bye” or “bye-bye” is not very formal, but trust me, it can be used with anyone and everyone. So, as an ELL, I highly recommend remembering this one. It is so versatile, and when all else fails, you can always count on “bye bye” when you need to say goodbye to someone.
Mom: I’m leaving for work, please be good today. I love you!
Sons: Bye bye mom, we love you too!
- Okay, so I think that out of all of the examples that will be on this list, this one in particular, is the only one that implies that you are not going to see someone for a pretty long time. So, it’s best used when you’re saying goodbye to someone who may be moving, going away for college, or maybe even on a long vacation.
Katrina: Alright, it looks like the moving truck is fully packed. I’m ready for college! One last hug goodbye?
Katrina’s mom: Of course! hugs We love you, so long dear.
- Okay, so, I’m not going to lie, my little brother taught me this. I guess I’m getting to the age where I no longer learn new slang words easily. I’m old now. However, this word is extremely popular these days. I hear it in videos on social media, on the streets, and of course, from my younger brother. This is urban slang, and it’s sort of like an abbreviation of “see you later”. So, instead of saying that, you can simply just say “late”.
Davis: Hey bro, I need to go, mom is calling me.
Dennis: Alright, late.