Beginner · Eikaiwa · Uncategorized

初級英会話 レッスン1

Daily Greetings          初級英会話          English Conversation for Beginners: Lesson 1
Please keep in mind that this is about American English. I don’t know much about English used in other countries like New Zealand, Australia, or England, so I cannot speak for those countries.

Why are informal greetings important to learn?
We like to be informal in the States, especially on the west coast. If you come to the States as a tourist, you won’t need to use a lot of formal speech. For daily conversations, you will need to know how to understand and use informal speech. It’s important to know how people actually greet each other in daily life. This helps your English sound more natural, and it can help you if someone uses these phrases with you.

When can we use informal greetings?
Informal greetings are used in almost all of our daily interactions. English does not have strict formal language like Japanese has with 敬語. If you don’t know the best or most formal word for a situation, as long as you are polite and respectful, people won’t mind. No one is going to be mad at you for saying hi instead of hello.

Who can we use informal greetings with?
3) You can use informal greetings with just about anyone: your coworkers, your host family, your neighbors, your friends, and sometimes even cashiers or waiters! These expressions are very common, and if you come to America, you will hear them a lot.

Let’s look at some examples.

Dialogue 1:
A: Good morning!
B: Good morning! How are you?
A: I’m fine, thanks. And you?
B: I’m fine, thanks.

What do you think of this conversation?
Does this sound formal? Does it sound informal?
Do you think this is how people talk in daily life?
The first conversation is what you would find in a textbook. This is not how we talk.

Dialogue 2:
A: Good morning!
B: Morning! How are you?
A: I’m well, thanks. How are you?
B: I’m pretty good, thanks.

What do you think of this conversation?
Does this sound formal? Does it sound informal?
Does it sound very different from the previous conversation?
Do you think this is how people talk in daily life?
You might hear a conversation like this in a formal setting, but this isn’t very common for daily life.

Dialogue 3:
A: G’Morning!
B: Morning! How are you?
A: Good, thanks. How are you?
B: Not bad.

Dialogue 4:

A: Hey, how’s it going?
B: It’s going. How about you?
A: Pretty good, thanks.

What do you think of these two conversations?
Do these conversations seem formal or informal?
Does one conversation seem more informal than the other?
Which one do you think is more casual?
Why do you think that?
Who do you think might be talking in these dialogues?
Maybe friends or coworkers? It could also be a customer and a cashier or waiter they see often.

Quick Note: Some people will say thanks after you ask how they are. This is polite. Some people might not say thanks, and that’s okay too.


Common Greetings:
Hello – We use this, but it feels formal.

Hi – This is the most common greeting. It works for any situation, formal or informal. It works for any time of day.

Hey – This is very casual. You can use this with friends, family, and coworkers you get along with. You might be able to use this with your boss, but it depends on their personality and how formal/informal they like to be.

Good Morning – Used in the morning (when it’s AM). It can be used in formal or informal situations.

G’morning – More natural. A contraction of Good + morning.

Morning – The most natural.

Good morning is the only greeting with specific rules for when you can use it. Good afternoon and Good evening are used during the afternoon and evening, but when exactly afternoon and evening begin and end depends on who you ask.

There are a few possible reasons for this: Not everyone agrees on when afternoon ends and evening begins, or when evening ends and night begins. You’re more likely to say “good evening” than “good afternoon” when the sun is setting. So, if the sun sets at 4:30, some people might say “good evening” because it feels like evening to them. If the sun sets at 8:30, they might say “good evening” at 8:30.

Good Afternoon – Used during the afternoon. Maybe 12 PM – 3 PM? It depends on the person. We don’t use this much because it feels too formal.

Afternoon – Some people might use this.

Good Evening – Used during the evening. This is most commonly used maybe between 5 PM – 7 PM? We don’t use this much because it feels too formal.

Evening – Some people might use this.


When in doubt, just say Hi.
Hi is the safest greeting to use. It’s easy to remember, easy to say, and it works in every situation.

Why is Morning informal, but Afternoon and Evening are formal?
I’m not sure about the reason for this. We don’t hear afternoon and evening very commonly, so that could be part of why it feels formal. Usually, we prefer to say hi, hello, or hey, especially in the afternoon and evening.

 

What about G’afternoon and G’evening?
We never say G’afternoon/G’evening. When we say G’morning, we pronounce the “g” from “good” with a short “u” at the end, kind of like グッ.

However, with G’afternoon and G’evening, it’s hard to go from that oo sound in good to ah in afternoon or ee in evening. This is why we never say it.

Also, we never say it like “Gafternoon” or “Gevening.” That just sounds silly.


Greetings (Questions)

How are you? – This is fine to use. You can use it in casual or polite conversation.

How are you doing? – (How ya doin’?) Casual form of How are you?

How’s it going? – Casual greeting meaning How have you been recently? or How has life been?


Common Responses

Awful/Terrible – You’ve had a bad day and you want others to know about it.

I’ve been worse/I’ve been better – You’ve had days worse than this and days better than this, but today isn’t a good day. You can also say Could be worse/Could be better.

It’s going – We say this when things aren’t going well, but we’re trying to be positive about it. Only use this in response to How’s it going? It doesn’t make sense when you use it in response to How are you? because How are you? is a question about how you are feeling. It’s going refers to how life is going for you.

All right/Okay – Things aren’t bad, but they’re not great. It’s kind of in the middle.

Pretty good – Common, casual response.

Good – Probably the most common response.

Great – Better than good!

Fantastic – Better than great!

These are not the only responses you can use. You can use several other responses such as I’m tired, I’m excited, I’m confused, I’m bored, I’m hungry.


Cultural Note:
Even if we aren’t doing good, we still say I’m good, especially to people we don’t know or don’t know very well.

Why do you think this is?

There are a few reasons.

1) How are you? is a kind of extension of hello. We ask it to be polite, but we don’t really care about how the other person is feeling unless they are close to us.

2) We might not feel like sharing what problems we are having, so we will just say I’m good, thanks as a response. The problem might not be a big deal, or it might not be a good time to bring up the problems. For example, if you’re paying for groceries, it might not be a good time to tell the cashier who asked how you are that you’re having a bad day.

3) It makes people very uncomfortable when you tell them about your problems, especially if they don’t know you.

4) Many of us assume that others don’t care about our problems, or they don’t want to hear about things that make them feel bad. Imagine this: You greet a coworker who you aren’t close with. You ask them how they’re doing, and they tell you they’re feeling terrible because they just had a bad breakup, they lost their keys, and their phone is broken. You’re probably not going to feel very good hearing that. If you care, or even if you don’t care, it changes the mood of the conversation very quickly from happy to sad.

About I’m fine and So-so:
I’m Fine – You’re better off not using this, especially ladies. Some people do use this, but you have to be very careful. If you use the wrong tone or have the wrong facial expression while saying I’m fine, it sounds like you’re saying you’re not fine. We joke all the time that if a girl says I’m fine to you, it means you did something wrong and she’s angry at you.

So-so– We know what this means, but we don’t really use it. Instead, you can just say I’m okay, or I’m all right. Some younger people will respond with just eh or meh.


Follow-Up Questions: It’s polite to follow-up when someone asks how you’re doing. After you answer, ask the question back to them.

And you? – We don’t use this. Ever. Not even in formal settings. It doesn’t sound natural. If you want a short and casual version, just ask, You? If you want the most natural version that can be used in casual or formal situations, you can say:

How about you? – (How ’bout you?)

What about you? – Same as above.

How are you? – Or you can simply ask this. It works just fine.


Review:

Informal Greetings: Hello, Hi, Hey, G’morning, Morning

Questions: How are you? How are you doing? How’s it going?

Responses: Awful/Terrible, I’ve been worse/better, Could be worse/better, It’s going, All right, Okay, Pretty good, Good, Great, Fantastic

Follow-Up Questions: How about you? What about you? How are you? You?

Can you think of anything else to add to this list?


Practice: Come up with at least 3-5 different conversations using the above phrases. If you want to use your own phrases, use those too! Try to make each conversation different.


If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, feel free to leave a comment or contact me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s