By Paola Pascual on Jul 12, 2022 4:25:50 PM
What is the best way to say goodbye?
If the conversation has gone too long, or you just need to leave, here are some great ways to end a conversation and say goodbye in a polite way.
Ending a conversation politely is sometimes not easy. How do you put an end to small talk with a colleague? And how do you say bye to a potential client and indicate that you hope to see them again? These tips will help you avoid awkward situations and understand when to use each phrase.
How to Say Goodbye in English in 3 Steps
The first thing you learn when studying English is "hello" and "goodbye". For a good reason –they are very common words we use every day. However, there is more to it. Especially in business English.
When you want to put an end to the conversation, follow these three steps: (1) signal, (2) transition, and (3) goodbye. You may do something similar in your native language but let’s take a look at what that sounds like in English.
Use a signal word to subtly tell your conversation partner that you are about to leave. Here are some examples:
- Alright then…
Then, use a transition phrase to let them know that you are leaving. This transition phrase should be short and positive.
- It was nice talking with you.
- It was nice seeing you.
- It was nice to see you (again). / It was great to see you! / Nice to see you.
- Nice chatting with you.
- I’ve got to get going.
- I should get back to work.
- I know you’re busy so I won’t keep you any longer. (*Great for calls with customers and vendors)
- I’m off! (*Very informal)
Once you've signaled that you're leaving and used a transition phrase, you're ready to say goodbye. Here are some great ways to do it.
Goodbye. This is the most common way to say goodbye. It is a neutral (and pretty safe) way to end a conversation. If you're looking for different goodbye alternatives, keep reading.
Bye. This is also the standard goodbye, although more casual than 'goodbye'. It is short, simple, and you can use it in most situations. It’s appropriate for friends and family, as well as co-workers and business partners.
Bye-bye. This expression is mostly used with kids. It is sweet and babyish expression, less common in the workplace. Occasionally, adults will say “bye bye” to each other, but only if they know each other very well and they’re trying to be cute. If you do use it with adults, remember to only stress the second bye so that it sounds more like buh-bye.
Bye for now! This version is much more polite and used when you want to say goodbye in a very nice way. You can use 'Bye for now' when you know (or hope!) that you will speak to that person again very soon.
See you! / See you soon! / See you later! You can use it if you plan on seeing the person again but don’t know when. 'See ya' is a more casual version of these phrases. If you know when you will see them, you can add "then" ('See you then') or the specific time ('See you tomorrow' or 'See you on Thursday').
Have a good day. Have a good evening. Have a good flight. These expressions are verypolite ways to wish a good day/evening/flight to the other person. They are very standard and polite and you can use them anytime (even in business emails).
Have a good one! This expression is used to say goodbye and to wish someone a nice day/afternoon/evening. It is more casual but still commonly used. You will hear it at a New York clothing store, at the end of a status update meeting with your team, or when you cross paths with you neighbor in the hallway.
Take care! It is used to wish someone to be safe while they are gone. Take care can be used informally among friends, but it is also common to hear it between strangers. It is friendly and conversational and, if said sincerely, it gives a personal touch to the conversation.
Keep in touch! / Talk to you later! These are friendly ways to indicate that you expect to see or talk to the other person again sometime soon. They are casual but you may use them at work without a problem with colleagues, customers, and managers.
Keep me posted. / Keep me in the loop. This last expression is a way of requesting the other person to keep you informed and let you know if there are any news or updates. It is also a very common farewell in emails and Slack channels.
These highly informal goodbyes are childish ways to signal that a person is leaving or a conversation has come to an end.
- See you later, alligator!
- See you soon, raccoon!
- In a while, crocodile.
- Adios, Amigos!
- Bye, Felicia!
Avoid these informal goodbyes at work and save them for your little nephew or cousin.
Next time you want to end a conversation, remember to combine all 3 steps:
- Alright, I need to get going. Have a good one!
- Well, I know you’re busy so I won’t keep you any longer. It was nice talking to you. Bye for now.
Did we miss any? Tell us in the comments below. Oh, and have a good one!
This article works as supporting material for our podcast episode 55. You can read the transcript below. Make sure you check out all our other Talaera Talks episodes and subscribe to get new episode alerts.
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Talaera Talks - Transcript Episode 55
If you are learning English, including new English words and expressions will help you with effective communication. Remember to check out our other episodes on how to make small talk, how to deliver engaging presentations, how to speak English fluently, and many more: visit the podcast website. Listen to it on your favorite platform.
Welcome to Talaera Talks, the business English communication podcast for non-native professionals. My name is Paola and I am co-hosting this show with Simon. In this podcast, we're going to be covering communication advice and tips to help express yourself with confidence in English in professional settings. So we hope you enjoy the show!
Paola Pascual 0:24
What is the best way to say goodbye in English? Hi, my name is Paola and I have a new Talaera Bit for you today. So if a conversation has gone too long, or you just need to leave, here are some great ways for you to say goodbye in a polite way. Right. The structure we often use in English consists of three very simple steps: SIGNAL, TRANSITION, and GOODBYE. I'm sure you do something similar in your native language. But let's have a look at what that sounds like in English.
Paola Pascual 0:58
So as we said, signal word transition and goodbye. Signal Words are: All right, All right then, So, Right, Okay, Well... And they signal –they don't really say goodbye, but they do signal that the conversation is coming to an end, or that you would like for the conversation to end at least soon.
Paola Pascual 1:23
Then we tend to use it transition phrase, for example, It was nice talking to you, or It was nice seeing you, or It was nice to see you againm Nice to see you, Nice chatting with you, or Great to see you. Right. Other transition phrases are, I've got to get going, or I should get back to work. Or this one's very common in business meetings. I know you're busy, so I won't keep you any longer. Right. So we have the SIGNAL word, and the TRANSITION, and we tend to combine them together, for example. All right, I should get back to work. Or, Well, I know you're busy, so I won't keep you any longer. See? Perfect.
Paola Pascual 2:10
Now the third step is to say GOODBYE. The most standard version, or like the standard goodbye is to say, Bye, right? It's short, simple, and you can say it to absolutely anyone. It could be you know, it's appropriate for friends and family, but also for coworkers and business partners. So even if you use any of the other expressions on, you know that the ones that we're covering today, you can still say bye as well afterwards. Then you also have bye-bye, we usually use this one with kits, it's more used for children. But if you do use it with adults, remember to only stress the second bye. So it sounds more like buh-bye. Right. The third one that I would like to share with you the third goodbye word is Bye for now, I use this one quite a bit in meetings. And, you know, it's it's a very polite way of saying you know, I need to go but I would like to see you again. Right. That's it for now. Bye for now. We also say Take care. It's not too informal or too close. And as we said you can combine it with by Alright, take care. Bye. Bye, take care. We'll also have the "See you" phrases. See you tomorrow. See you later. See you soon. See you on Thursday. See, ya.
Paola Pascual 3:44
You can also say Have a good day, Have a good evening, Have a good flight, and also Have a good one. Have a good one is a very general way of saying Have a good whatever the time of day it is.
Paola Pascual 3:58
You can also add Keep in touch, Talk to you later, or Keep me posted. Keep me posted is what you use if you would like the other person to keep you updated. Right? Keep keep me posted or keep me in the loop means let me know how things are going; give me an update.
Paola Pascual 4:19
And then the last ones I've wanted to share with you are super informal. So do not use them for work! They're only for kids we have See you later, alligator. See you soon, raccoon, in a while, crocodile, Adios Amigos, and Bye Felicia. Again, do not use the last few. They are definitely only used for kids.
Paola Pascual 4:42
So quick recap. When we want to say goodbye in English, we tend to use the three step structure that we talked about today. Signal Word such as. Right, so right. Okay, well And we tend to add a transition phrase like, I've got to get going, or It was nice talking to you, or I know you're busy, or I wouldn't keep you any longer. And then the goodbye. Bye, the most common one that you can combine with everything. Bye for now is great for meetings or when you're talking to a client. And it means I really hope to see you again. And then Take care, See you tomorrow, See you soon, See ya, Have a good day, Have a good one are very, very common once. And then if you would like to stay in touch, or you would love the other person to give you an update, you could say things like, Keep in touch. Keep me posted, or Keep me in the loop. All right. I'll talk to you later and have a good one.
And that's all we have for you today. We hope you enjoyed it, and remember to subscribe to Talaera Talks. We'll be back soon with more! And visit our website at talaera.com for more valuable content on business English. You can also request a free consultation on the best ways for you and your team to improve your communication skills. So have a great day and keep learning!