How To Say Hello in Italian

Weilà weilà raga! This blog post correlates with the first episode of my Traveler's Italian series. I've found it helpful to have a written version of something I learn in a video. I hope this post will serve that very purpose for you. Feel free to take a look around my website to learn more about what I do on YouTube, including my private tutoring sessions.

Before we get into everything, let's cover the difference between Formal/Polite and Informal speech in Italian:

  • Formal or Polite language is used with anyone you want to show respect for or to be polite with. (i.e. people who are older than you, your teacher, your boss, people you meet for the first time, etc). 
  • Informal or Casual language is used with anyone you already know or with anyone that you don't have to be formal with. (i.e. people your own age, little children, your friends and family, your classmates and colleagues, etc). The reason why I say people your own age is because I've found in my experience that even when I don't know someone, if we're the same age we tend to use the informal with each other. Same goes with little children, sometimes you don't feel the need to be formal with them. But this really depends on the situation, every situation is different.) 

Let's now jump into the words and phrases I went over in the video:

Saying "Hi/Bye"

  • Buongiorno - Hello (formal), Good morning, Good day
  • Buon pomeriggio - Good afternoon
  • Buonasera - Good evening (the appropriate Hello when it's night time)
  • Buonanotte - Good night (you'd only say this before going to sleep)
  • Salve - Hello (alternative, formal. Comes from Latin.)
  • Ciao - Hi / Bye (informal)
  • Arrivederci - Goodbye (formal)

Saying "How are you"

  • Come sta? - How are you (formal)
  • Come stai? - How are you (informal)
  • Come state? - How are you (all/guys)
  • Sto bene, grazie - I'm good, thanks
  • E Lei? - And you? (formal)
  • E tu? - And you? (informal)
  • E voi? - And you (all/guys)?

Saying "Thank you & Please"

  • Grazie - Thank you
  • Grazie mille - Thank you very much
  • Prego - You're welcome
  • Di niente - It's nothing / No problem (informal)
  • Per favore - Please
  • Per piacere - Please
  • Piacere! - Nice to meet you / Pleasure to meet you

Saying "Excuse me"

  • Mi scusi - Excuse me (formal)
  • Scusa - Excuse me (informal)
  • Scusate - Excuse me (to a group of people)
  • Mi dispiace - I'm sorry

Saying "Goodbye"

  • Arrivederci - Goodbye (formal)
  • Ciao - Bye (informal)
  • Ci vediamo - See you soon
  • A presto - See you soon (informal)

Whether you're a new student of Italian or are about to embark on an amazing trip to Italy, have a great time! Buon viaggio!

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