Formal and Casual Greetings in German

As you have learned before, there are two ways of addressing someone in German: a polite or formal way using “Sie” and a more casual way using “du”. The same concept applies to greetings. Nowadays it is quite common to use English greetings, like “hi” and “bye bye”, but these are considered to be casual.

Saying Hello the Formal Way

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Guten Morgen
Good morning
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Guten Tag
Good day/ good afternoon
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Guten Abend
Good evening
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Gute Nacht
Good night

Saying Hello the Casual Way

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Hallo
hello
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Hey
hey
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Hi
hi
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Sei gegrüßt
"be greeted" (addressing one person)
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Seid gegrüßt
"be greeted" (addressing more than one person)

Regional Differences:

In the south of Germany, in Bavaria, it is very common to say

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Grüß Gott!
"greet God"

You won’t hear “Grüß Gott” anywhere else, it really is a Bavarian thing. It’s the same with "Moin", which is short for "Guten Morgen" and is used in the northern parts of Germany.

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Moin!
Good Morning (North Germany)

which is used in the northern parts of Germany.

Another greeting you will only hear in the south of Germany is:

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Servus
hello (South Germany)

Saying Good Bye the Formal Way

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Auf Wiedersehen
good bye

You have probably heard “Auf Wiedersehen” before. It literally means “until we see each other again”.

Saying Good Bye the Casual Way

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Tschüß
bye
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Bis bald
see you soon
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Bis später
see you later
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Bis dann
see you then
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Mach’s gut
“make it good”

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