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.
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).
- 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.”
*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 people 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 luck day though, because we have a free copy of our popular e-book, 101 Words You’ll Never Learn in School, exclusively for members of the RLE community. You can sign up here for our newsletter (it’s free) to get your free copy, and we encourage can join over 4,100 members from 50+ countries for free in the RLE International Facebook group here for daily tips and community support!
And if you liked this, you’ll love 23 ways to greet/ say hi to somebody in English! I gotta jet now. Take care!
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