You’re about to learn 20 new words for goodbye in English. Also check out 27 Different Ways to Say Thank You (And How to Reply).
What’s wrong with this conversation?
SONIA: Goodbye, Eric.
ERIC: Goodbye, Sonia.
SONIA: Goodbye, Yasemin.
YASEMIN: Goodbye, Sonia.
SONIA: Goodbye, Ranjit.
RANJIT: Goodbye, Sonia.
No one in this conversation seems to know that there are lots of different ways to say goodbye in English.
I mean LOTS of ways!
Well, at least 19.
But first …
How to end a conversation in English
OK. It’s very useful to know how to say goodbye in English.
But how do you fit it into a conversation?
I mean, can you just drop a “bye bomb” in the middle of a conversation?
I don’t think so. That would be pretty rude, right?
I’ve noticed that we usually have what I call “pre-byes” — phrases we use to show that we’re about to leave the conversation.
We use them just before saying goodbye.
Here’s how they look:
|OK ...||Nice talking with you.|
|Right ...||I’ve gotta go / run / split!|
|So …||I’m off!|
|All right, then ...||Great to see you.|
Then we can say goodbye …
Standard ways to say goodbye in English
There are fun ways to say goodbye.
And there are more standard ways to say goodbye.
Just like dessert, I like to save the fun things for last.
So here are some standard ways to say goodbye in English.
It’s like “goodbye” but shorter!
It’s efficient and sounds good.
Is “bye” just too … short?
Well, why not just say it twice?
But three times?
No. That would be mad.
Be careful with this one!
It’s often used with kids if you pronounce both words equally.
If you use it with adults, remember to only stress the second “bye” so that it sounds more like “bu-BYE.”
OK. Obviously, you only say this if you’re going to see the other person tomorrow.
If you say this to someone you’re never going to see again, like an air stewardess or a taxi driver, then that might be a bit confusing.
If you say it to your favourite actor when you meet him at a book signing, then that would even be creepy.
The good news is that you can change “tomorrow” for whenever it is you’re going to see them again.
So you can say “until next week” or “until Friday” or even “until later.”
This one’s nice — it shows you care but isn’t too informal or close.
We also often mix this with one of the other words on this list.
So we might say something like, “Bye. Take care!”
OK, a couple of things here.
This is, obviously, only used late in the evening. You know, at night.
It’s also the only “good” + time of day structure that also means “goodbye.”
“Good morning” and “good afternoon” just mean “hello.”
More creative and fun ways to say goodbye
OK. Time for dessert!
When you’re with your friends, you might want to use some of these more fun ways of saying goodbye.
See you later
I like this one.
It kind of means “Don’t worry — this isn’t the end! We’ll meet again!”
When I was a kid we would also say, “See you later, alligator.”
Sometimes, we’d even get the reply, “in a while, crocodile.”
Oh, how we laughed.
We can also say, “see you soon” or “see you tonight” or “see you on the 14th” or “see you after work” or … well, you get the idea.
It’s short for “see you later.”
Sometimes we’d extend this with “See ya! Wouldn’t wanna be ya!”
Because people who like each other sometimes like showing that they like each other by saying bad things to each other.
I don’t know. Humans are weird.
This is very casual.
It’s got a friendly, light-hearted feeling to it.
Some people also like just saying “later.”
Catch ya later
OK — so “see you later” is getting boring?
Change the verb!
Take it easy!
And why not?
Easy is good, right?
Have a good one!
This one’s rather British and is one that I use quite a lot.
I like it because it sort of means “enjoy yourself.”
You can also say, “Have a good day,” “Have a good evening,” “Have a good flight,” “Have a good holiday,” “Have a good afternoon,” and so on.
Ciao (for now)
OK. Not technically English.
“Ciao” is Italian and can be used to mean either “hi” or “bye.”
It rhymes with “now.”
It’s quite funny to mix the Italian and the English like this, right?
So we do.
Yep — this one definitely isn’t English.
But it kind of is because more and more people are using it to mean “goodbye.”
Maybe one day all the languages in the world will come together and become one massive mega-language.
But probably not.
OK. This one is very, very British and a little old fashioned.
But because it’s quite old fashioned, when we use it, we lighten the mood.
It gives us a sense of nostalgia and feels quite ironic.
OK. That’s it — 20 ways to say goodbye in English.
Which words for goodbye are your favourites?
Let me know in the comments.
But for now, I’m saying “cheerio.”