26 Dynamic Ways to Say Goodbye

by Justin on January 16, 2013

How many ways do you know how to say “goodbye” in English? Do you abuse and overuse them? This is your chance to expand your repertoire of farewells with a lesson on the 26 most dynamic, fun, and essential ways to say goodbye in the English language.

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Let’s face it, “goodbyes” are complicated, they are full of difficult to convey thoughts and emotions, subtle messages and pressures, and they are often pretty important. It’s awkward in your native tongue, but in a second language it can be painful.

It’s one of the most fundamental yet underestimated aspects of the English language, and it’s how people remember us.  This is all the more reason to be prepared with the right expressions, and to make them a permanent part of your repertoire.

5 Basic Goodbyes You Probably Know Already 

  • Goodbye/ Bye: Goodbye is rarely used and often as a definitive goodbye (I will not see you again) while bye is more relaxed and informal.
  • See You Later/ See you/ Later: In see you later and see you, the “you” is pronounced as ya (with the same sound of the “u” in fun).

6 Essential Goodbyes to Add to Your Repertoire

  • It Was Nice to See You Again is one of the most effective and important things you can include in your goodbye to a person you already know. If you just met them, most everybody knows the standard “nice to meet you,” but few English learners know how to say “It was nice to see you again.”
  • Take Care is one of my favorites because it’s good to use in both informal and formal situations, with friends and strangers, and always seems to have a sincere feel to it.
  • Take it Easy is another one of my favorite greetings, and it is what I use in informal situations. While a lot of people use “Take it easy” to say “calm down” (which is another use of it, as exemplified in the Eagles song “Take it Easy”), the goodbye communicates that I hope you have the chance to relax and enjoy whatever it is you do. 
  • Have a Good One is another awesome American greeting that basically wishes the other person well. You can say have a good “day” or “week” or “trip” or “vacation,” but “have a good one” communicates the general intention without focusing on the specifics of any one event.
  • Have a nice ___________  is another common greeting that you can use in many situation. Similar to the above example, we’re always saying “have a nice day/ week/ vacation/ meeting, etc.” It’s one of the most universal and respectful ways to say goodbye to another person. This is a goodbye we well as a way to say good luck.
  • Until…. This is not as common of a greeting as it used to be, but it is used when you know you’re going to see the person (until tomorrow/ until Saturday, etc). 

15 Cool Slang Goodbyes You’ll Never Learn in School

  • Peace (Out) was really popular a few years back, but is still pretty common in some circles. It comes from the universal expression of “Peace,” has become a verb (I’m going to peace out now. See you later!), and is often accompanied by the two fingered peace sign. This is a semi-hip-hop informal goodbye, so make sure you don’t use it in a business meeting. I still use this one with my friends.
  • I’m out of here (“I’m ouda here) or a simple “I’m out” is a quick and informal way to announce that you will be leaving amongst your friends.  A friend of mine from Boston used to joke around with this and say “I’m outa hair like a bald man” (here sounds like hair, and “out of” also means no more- i.e. “the car is out of gas.”).
  • (I’ll) Catch You Later/ Catch You On The Flip Side: While Catch You Later is still in popular use, Catch You on the Flip Side is a bit more rare. While, “Catch You Later” is pretty self-explanatory, The Flip Side basically means on the other side of things, when things come back around.
  • I gotta* go / I gotta* get going: See note below for explanation on “gotta.” These are both easy ways to delicately let somebody know that you need to leave and start to say goodbye. The get from “get going” means to move toward (going). Example: “Look, Jack, I gotta get going. It was nice to see you again. Take care.”

We Recommend You Watch This Awesome Video, “15 Goodbyes in English!” 

*Grammar & Pronunciation Note: “I gotta” is not technically correct  grammar, but it’s very commonly used in the United States in both informal and formal spoken English. I gotta go (gotta is pronounced “godda”)= I’ve got to go = I have to go. Note: I Gotta = I Need To

  • I Gotta Jet- “Jet”, which is literally a huge passenger aircraft, has been made into a goodbye that means that you are leaving promptly (like a jet)!
  • I Gotta Take Off- Similar to “Jet,” take off is another word that comes from aircraft terminology. Take off is when the plane leaves the ground, so when you say that you’re taking off, it means that you’re leaving.
  • I Gotta Roll- While “roll” literally is used for things with wheels (car, skateboard), it means to make movement, so when you say “I gotta roll,” it means that you need to move.
  • I Gotta Run- This one seems pretty self-explanatory. Although you’re not really running, “I Need to Run” indicates more hurry in your goodbye.
  • I Gotta Split- “Split,” which means “divide” in many cases, here means to leave quickly, or to head in the other direction. 
  • I Gotta Make Tracks – “Tracks” are the footprints you leave on the ground, so when you say “make tracks,” it means to leave a trail of footprints and leave.
  •  I Gotta Hit The Road- “Hit” in this sense means to “get on” or “start” on something, so “Hit the Road” mean to leave/ start moving on the road.
  • I Gotta Head (Out) – “Head”/ “Head out” is another cool way I announce my departure regularly. Head as a verb is to “go in the direction of.” It makes a lot of sense because when you move directions, you always start with your head (physically and intentionally).

Head Out is literally to “go away from here,” and then some peobounceple just started dropping the out altogether.

  • I Gotta Bounce- “Bounce” is what a basketball does when you dribble it with your hand, and it represents the initial conscious effort/ push you make to leave (it’s often not easy to bounce yourself away from a party).

Now that we’ve covered 26 ways to say goodbye, it’s time to learn how to use them. Remember, it’s one thing to read an article, but quite another to apply them in real life. Today is your lucky day, because we have a free copy of The Top 5 Resources For Learning English Online For Freeexclusively for members of the RLE International Community.

You can sign up for our newsletter for free here to get your free copy. We also encourage you to join the RLE International Facebook Group here for daily tips and community support. If you liked this article, you’ll love 23 Ways to Greet / Say Hi to Someone in English. I gotta Jet Now!

Return  from 26 Ways to Say Goodbye to Fluency Essentials

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Instituto Cambridge Villa Dolores January 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Great. Very useful indeed. Thank you. Prof.Marcos Mendelson-

Marcos Raúl Mendelson January 23, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Very useful indeed. Thanks for sharing . Sharing is caring.
Prof.Marcos Raúl Mendelson
Director Instituto Superior de Cultura Inglesa CAMBRIDGE
Colegio Privado Bilingue El Manantial

Yelena Puzyreva January 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Thanks a lot! It is really useful both for teachers and their students. Btw, can I share it and use at the lessons?:)

Ethan January 27, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Great article Justin! What a great article to share with my students so they can sound a little more fluent.

One thing I would comment on is that I’ve mostly heard Californians say “Peace (out)”. In Boulder, Colorado, I think a lot of people say it because of so many Californian students study at the university, so they’ve influenced local language. Just an observation I’ve had.

Justin Murray January 29, 2013 at 5:17 pm

I appreciate your comments! If you haven't already, we encourage you to join our international community! http://www.facebook.com/groups/reallifeenglish/

Justin Murray January 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Hey Yelena, I really appreciate your comment! Of course you can share it and use it with your students! That's what we are here for. Here's a link to our international Facebook community http://www.facebook.com/groups/reallifeenglish/
and we have a free e-book if you (and your students are interested) http://reallifebh.com/subscribe
Thanks again and have a good one!

Javier Azócar March 8, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Thanks for this article. It was really nice for me to learn new ways of saying goodbye! Most English learners only know like two or three ways of saying goodbye, so it's good to learn new things everyday! :)

Leong Shen Lim March 25, 2013 at 11:04 am

Hi Justin. I'm Shen from Malaysia. Currently living in Japan.
I appreciate your posts and sorry that I introduced it in my blog http://naruhodo.jp.net in japanese language, as I thought it'd be very useful tips for Japanese English learners ^^ thanks and looking forward to your awesome posts.

Leong Shen Lim March 25, 2013 at 11:05 am

*sorry that I introduced it in my blog without your permission

Elton April 16, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Hello Justin! How are you?
I appreciate your post and I always hear your podcast! :)
Oh, talking about that… I swear!!! I’ll make a review about you on iTunes, Hahaha!
I just need time to do that! Cuz you know, people that study english through Podcast, usually don’t have much time. :P

Now, about this article, could you help me to clarify something?
I went to Canada in the last month and once a man (who sold a hotdog for me) said:
“Goob bye, buddy! THE BEST FOR YOU!”
I’ve never hear this expression before, neither in movies or the rest of time that I spent in Canada.
Just this man said to me. So… this expression is common?

Regards!

Justin April 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Hey Elton, Thanks for the cool comment. That was nice of you. As far as what the guy said, I would say “all the best,” or “Best of luck,” but do you think he might have said “all the best for you”? I’ve never heard “the Best for you.” That would be more like if you buy a nice dinner for your girlfriend and you say “only the best for you.” What do you think?

Elton April 16, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Hi Justin!
Well… perhaps he said “ALL the best for you” and I understood just the end of phrase, cuz you know.. I’m a english learner, what means that sometimes I can’t hear contractions perfectly well. :P
But I’m sure that he said “…the best for you!”.
Anyway… I remembered when I heard this expression there were some friends from Japan, Germany and South-Korea with me (all of them were english learners too), then… I asked them if they knew what this expression means or if they heard this before, and like me… nobody knew.

A interesting thing is that his accent was a little bit different, like old western movies, you know?! Hahah! :P
Like if he were from Texas or something like that…
What do you think? Is it possible? :D

Justin April 18, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Hey Elton, I’m sure you heard right! I think it’s definitely possible. There are a million accents out there and I’m still learning. Thanks for sharing!

Mani Chaaras April 24, 2013 at 7:50 am

hiiiiiii, thank you very much……………..now I will use new ways to say goodbyes to my friend……….i really like your article bcoz I always learn new things here…thanks.

mani negi April 24, 2013 at 4:59 am

hiii, i really appreciate your article…………..& thank you very much for this awesome tips & with the help of ur wonderful article i will try to improve myself always…………………..it was nice to see you here again……………

Natavia Guerra May 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Nice site. Good suggestions!

Solange Guerra May 11, 2013 at 4:20 am

I will check it.

International English Institute June 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm

We've reblogged your post. http://wp.me/p11QFO-gI Thanks so much for the great information.

Justin June 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Thank you! It’s an honor!

Imane August 20, 2013 at 3:02 pm

This lesson is awesome, I’ll share it to my students

Ola El Masry August 20, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Excelllent….thank u

Justin Murray August 21, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Thank you so much! That's awesome. I hope it's useful to your readers!

Justin Murray August 21, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Thanks Ola!

Justin Murray August 21, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Hey Shen, Sorry, I just saw your message. That's fine that you translated it and posted it. I'm gonna link it to this page too to give our readers that option. Your blog looks really cool by the way.

Justin Murray August 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I'm glad it's useful. Thank you for commenting!

João Leite August 28, 2013 at 10:58 pm

It’s never too late to go deep inside of a language.
Guys, you really made me feel speechless every time I read something from you.
Congretulations.

Justin August 29, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Thanks João, I appreciate your nice comment. Good job on your English and thanks for reading.

Erja Mononen September 29, 2013 at 8:34 am

GREAT, I love this, a new angle to teaching greetings and importantly: GOODBYES, which is even harder many times. My students have been asking for this kind of info so now I'm able to provide something new for them. Keep up the good work!

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