How many different ways with words do you know? Start your FREE email English course now!

Find penpals and make new friends today!
institution for saving and borrowing money; cashier
full quiz correct answer

FREE email English course

Get FREE English course via e-mail

newsletter archive 
ESL/EFL Newsletter Archive 2011
ESL/EFL Newsletter Archive 2010
ESL/EFL Newsletter Archive 2009
ESL/EFL Newsletter Archive 2008
ESL/EFL Newsletter Archive 2007
ESL/EFL Newsletter Archive 2006
ESL/EFL Newsletter Archive 2005
ESL/EFL Newsletter Archive 2004
ESL/EFL Newsletter Archive 2003
ESL/EFL Newsletter Archive 2002
Number of subscribers: 292031
Keep in touch with us and learn new English words and idioms through our newsletter. Every month Alan Townend will send you a short essay on a particular topic such as advertising or money. The texts contain a lot of expressions and idioms related to the theme in question. With our newsletter you can both learn and smile as Alan writes his texts in a unique and humorous style. Explore the English language in a very amusing but informative manner and see just what fun learning can be. If you are concerned about the privacy of your email address, you can browse through the back issues of our newsletter before you sign up for it. Still got questions? Contact us on our forum. See you soon.
Unsubscribe from English course

English Language Exercises 2206 English Exercises
This English grammar test package will help you learn new phrases, idioms, expressions and grammar structures every single day. And you won't even have to cram any grammar rules or vocabulary words into your head. Instead, you will be absorbing bits and pieces of the English language almost without realizing it.
English as a second language
Pimsleur Russian Pimsleur Russian
Learn English through this unique audio course! No grammar exercises, no boring English classes. How did you learn your native language? You can learn English the same way! Try this EFL/ESL audio comprehensive program and you will make progress fast.
Newsletter December 06 - 2003FREE email English course

Listen to this essay (English audio, MP3)

Please activate Javascript for view MP3 player

What do you think of this audio recording?

Greeting expressions or "Well, hello!"

Not so long ago the word "cheers" was reserved for when you raised your glass and drank to someone''s health and the other person or the others if it was a group responded with another "cheers". A variation of the word also crops up in the word "cheerio", which is a friendly way of saying "good-bye". And of course they''re all related to the word "cheer" - which has a very old meaning of "comfort" as in the archaic expression "be of good cheer" - roughly meaning "be happy/comfortable". Again we can try and "cheer someone up" - help them to feel "cheerful/happy".

English Grammar through Stories (PDF)Improving your grammar is much easier than you think
Printable, photocopiable and clearly structured format
For use in a classroom, at home, on your PC, or anywhere

And also if we''re watching our favourite tennis player or team, we can "cheer" them by shouting out enthusiastically when they''re doing well. So as you can see it''s a busy little word and as you can''t keep a good word down, it''s come back in force as "cheers" and in the UK you might think it was the most popular word in the language because you hear it endlessly. When a sales assistant hands you something to sign it is used, when you sign it and hand it back, it''s used again. If you hold a door open for someone, up it comes. Even if you accidentally knock into someone in the street and step aside, the recipient of your accidental knock will probably say it and just to show you meant no harm you say it too. To someone of the older generation returning to the UK after a long absence it might seem every member of the population was spending their time drinking.

That''s the trouble. There is a very limited vocabulary used for the ordinary day-to-day salutations and certain words seem to do all the work. The strangest thing of all is when you are introduced to someone. A says "How do you do?" And then B says "How do you do?" as well. The result is that two questions are left hanging in the air and unanswered. But then the English tend to be reticent in other forms of typical conversation. A says "Thank you" and B just grins and says nothing. If the thanking is very effusive and goes on, there are one or two expressions you can employ: "You''re welcome" or "Don''t mention it" and if you really don''t feel too talkative you could simply say "Not at all". Now in many languages this just isn''t good enough and there are set expressions that you use in your response.

More problems come in the business of what you say when you meet someone out in the street. Of course if you are a coward, you could "cut them dead" - totally ignore them - but then that is a bit rude and isn''t a good idea. "Hi" is becoming a firm favourite in the street, on the telephone and of course as a way of starting your email. "Hello" is a close runner up and both are clearly informal. More formal ways of greeting come in the following way: "Good morning/afternoon/evening". But again people tend to use these expressions when addressing a group or an audience. If you are very surprised to see someone in an unusual place there is another expression. You might be taking a stroll through the Gobi desert and suddenly you meet your next-door neighbour. Now "Hi" or "Hello" would be inappropriate and it would be better to say "Fancy seeing you here!"

In the countryside where everybody is not so busy rushing about as in the town meeting a stranger in a lane would probably require a "Good" something just to be polite even if the recipient is a total stranger. That reminds me of a student of mine some years ago when I was teaching in central London. She was a young and very sociable girl from the West Indies. At home she lived in a very small village where everybody knew everybody else. What she couldn''t understand at first was why nobody reciprocated her bright "Good morning" to everybody she met during the rush hour on the London underground stations. She soon learnt that people in big cities hurrying to work aren''t a friendly lot.

Then of course there are words you use when you part, go away, leave. In a previous century you might use the very dramatic "Farewell" but please don''t say that when you''ve just bought a newspaper and are leaving the shop - they might start talking about you. "Good-bye" or simply "bye" are the favourites. "See you" is popular too and one that intrigues me because in most cases it is never fulfilled "See you later". Becoming even more common and perhaps this is a sign of the dangerous times we live in is "Take care".

Following up a question raised in our ESL Forum recently to do with "last night" and "yesterday evening" where the former is very late and possibly after bedtime and the latter is prior to that, what do we say as a salutation at the end of the day particularly if it''s dark? You can of course fall back on "Hi" and "Hello" but somehow darkness seems to call for formality and "Good evening" would be right and if it''s very late, "Good night" would be fine. And now I''ve got to find a way to finish this newsletter - oh I know "CHEERS!"

Alan Townend

Dear Friend,
If you have any questions or comments regarding this essay, please post your answers on the forum here: Sociability.
Many thanks.

African American entrepreneursService in Germany?
Are you email literate?How do you use your words?
English more importantAlan Townend starts!
Mobile phones in Germany?Mobile crazy
Change your habitsInternational School Leipzig
Backing the baccalaurate (1)Backing the baccalaurate (2)
Feedback?German greetings
An Irishman in SaxonyEnglish more important
Harry Potter''s motherMayday again
TOEIC for your successQuestions on TOEIC
Update on english-test.netPeople from all over the world....
Whitsun holidayFrustrated by spam?
The Internet is getting multilingualChina is waking up
Sea expressionsFrench or English?
Are you fancy free?A new season
A rhapsody of wordsRead the signs...
Party conferencesGuy Fawkes Night for you
Well, hello! 
If you have any English grammar or vocabulary questions,
please post them on this English Grammar Forum.

The Berlitz English Pronunciation Program introduces sounds, stress, rhythm, and intonation in Standard American English.

The Rosetta Stone English Learning Software uses native speakers, dynamic speech recognition tools, real-life images, and spelling and syntax correction.

English Grammar through Stories (PDF)
English Grammar through Stories could be your saviour — it shows you a completely new way of learning. Forget about old-fashioned text books with difficult explanations and boring sample sentences. You can improve your grammar very fast if you know how. The answer is a few clicks away: Read these unique short stories by Alan Townend and absorb the patterns of English grammar automatically. You can only learn if you enjoy what you are doing. You will love the funny characters in English Grammar through Stories because they show the strengths and weaknesses of human nature. On top of all that, each story concentrates on one particular grammar item so all you have to do is read the book and have fun. You will be amazed at how easily you can improve your grammar.

    copyright © 2003—2023