17 New Ways to Say Goodbye in English

Aug 31, 2016 | 12 comments

Has this happened to you:

You’re talking to an English-speaking colleague after a meeting. You have a meeting in 5 minutes and you need to leave now or you’ll be late. But you don’t know how to end the conversation politely. You’re not sure how to explain why you must leave. The only word you can think of is, “Goodbye.” It feels awkward.

Is it okay to end a conversation like that?

So what should you say?

If you’re not sure, then today is for you! With this lesson, you’ll learn 17 ways to say goodbye or end a conversation in English in any situation, whether you’re at work or talking to your neighbors.

And that means no more awkward goodbyes in English!

Find out how native speakers say goodbye and end conversations.

Lesson by Annemarie

Formal Professional Ways to Say Goodbye in English

These expressions are best for formal or professional situations when you’ll need to end a conversation and say goodbye in situations such as:

  • Leaving a business meeting
  • Finishing a job interview
  • Saying goodbye to senior management at the end of the day/week
  • Ending a conversation with your elderly neighbor or your friend’s parents
  • Communicating with new clients, high-level clients, angry clients

In these situations, we use more formal or professional language to show respect or to keep a professional tone. Use the example words and expressions below to appropriately end a conversation and say goodbye.

Have a good day!

Wishing someone a good day, good evening, or good weekend is always a kind gesture. This expression is used both in spoken and in written form, which means you can use it to end a conversation face-to-face, on the telephone or at the end of an email.

 

It was wonderful to talk with you. I must be going. I’ve got to _____.

If you are chatting with someone or talking on the phone, this is a very polite way to end a conversation. Everyone is busy and there is always something else to do (another business meeting, a phone call, children to pick up from school, etc.), so, of course, you cannot talk all day.

“I’ve got to ___” is an easy way to give a reason for ending the conversation. For example:

“It was great to talk with you but I must be going. I’ve got to ___

  • join a conference call in 5 minutes
  • pick up the kids from school
  • share this information with my boss
  • get to a meeting
  • finish running my errands*

You can use any reason you might have but make sure it’s true!

*To run errands = to make a short, quick trip to do something such as go to the post office, go grocery shopping, buy some milk, pick up the dry cleaning, etc.

 

It was great to talk with you. I look forward to seeing you again soon (or talking with you again soon).

Instead of simply saying “goodbye,” use this kind expression to end the conversation on a positive note.

You can use it for face-to-face conversations or for the telephone – just be careful about using “seeing you again soon” vs. “talking with you again soon.” We use “see” for face-to-face conversations and “talk” for the telephone.

 

It was great to see you again. Have a good day/weekend/evening.

Similar to the previous expression, this provides an alternative expression for saying goodbye in professional settings. And it’s particularly nice to hear because everyone is happy at the end of the work day or end of the work week.

Casual at Work Ways to Say Goodbye in English

With colleagues you know well, clients you have developed a relationship with, or people who are acquaintances of yours (not close friends or family, but people you are friendly with), it is appropriate to be a little more relaxed with the language. These expressions are more informal but are still professional and friendly.

You can use the expressions below to end a conversation or say goodbye in situations such as:

  • The office with your team and colleagues
  • A meeting or a lunch with a regular client
  • Networking events
  • Trade show or job fair
  • Conferences
  • Talking with neighbors
  • Seeing an acquaintance unexpectedly (for example, seeing someone you know at the grocery store or in a restaurant)

Take Care

A simple alternative to goodbye. You can use this expression in speaking situations and at the end of emails.

This expression is not normally used with people we see every day, such as colleagues or close friends. We use this to say goodbye to someone we don’t see often.

 

I’ll see you soon. / We’ll talk again soon.

When we are certain that we will see or talk to someone soon (in a few days or within the next couple of weeks), this is the perfect way to say goodbye.

 

Have a good one.

This is similar to “have a good day” but is more informal so is best used for people that you are close to or in casual situations.

In the United States, for example, this is commonly used when saying goodbye to colleagues at the end of a work day. It’s also used in casual speaking situations such as talker to the cashier at the grocery store or coffee shop.

 

Good seeing you. / Good talking with you.

These expressions are a great way to end a conversation with someone who you haven’t spoken to or seen for awhile. For example, if you unexpectedly see a client or an acquaintance in a grocery story. We wouldn’t use this for someone we see every day.

“Have a good one. This is short for “have a good day” but is more informal so is best used for people that you are close to or in casual situations.”

Casual and Slang Ways to Say Goodbye in English

These goodbyes are very informal and should be used with people you know well such as close friends, family, or long-time work colleagues.

While you may use some of these greetings with English-speaking work colleagues you know well in an everyday situation, these greetings might not be appropriate for a work meeting or to use at official work events.

Good example situations include:

  • Colleagues you see every day and know well
  • Friends and family
  • At a bar or party
  • Seeing an old friend

Bye!

Short and simple. A short form of “goodbye” and used often at the very end of a conversation.

 

Later! / See you later! / Catch you later!

Later is short for see you later or catch you later. This is perfect for saying goodbye to a friend you will see again very soon. For example, maybe you will see your friend later today or tomorrow, but sometime in the very near future. This a very casual, informal goodbye so save this for friends and family.

 

See ya!

Similar to using later above, “see ya” is short for see you later and you should use the same rules for using this expression.

 

I gotta run / I gotta take off / I gotta split / I gotta head out

If you are in a hurry and you need to go somewhere quickly, this is a very casual, informal way to take leave fast. These are slang forms of the expression, “I have to get going. I’ve got to ___” from the section on formal goodbyes.

Note: gotta comes from got + to. While we don’t often write “gotta,” this is how the two words are pronounced when spoken together in a sentence.

 

I’m off! / I’m outta here!

And finally, I’m off! This is perfect for a casual way to say that you are leaving or departing from a place. For example, if you are at a friend’s party or talking to a friend at work at the end of the day, you might say, “I’m off” or “I’m outta here” to say that it’s time for you to go home.

Note: outta comes from out + of. While we don’t usually write “outta,” this is how the two words are often pronounced when together in a sentence.

And now I would love to hear from you! Review the questions below and share your answers in the comments section below for feedback.

  1. What alternative expressions for goodbye do you often use in English? Share some of your examples from your work life or from everyday conversations.
  2. Are any of the expressions in this list new to you? If so, I’d love to know which ones. Which expressions are your favorite?

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Have a fantastic week! ~ Annemarie

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