Greek for beginners- Γεια σου!

Greek expressions

Saying hello, goodbye & how are you

In Greece and Cyprus people tend to be informal with each other and seldom use each other’s surnames. You may well hear people addressed as, for example, Mr George (κύριε Γιώργο) or Mrs Anna ( κυρία Άννα), which expresses both respect and friendliness.

KEY PHRASES/ saying hello and goodbye

Kαλημέρα (σας)!                         Good morning/ day ( to you)

Κaleemehra (sass)


Γεια σας!/ Γεια σου                       hello! (formal &plural/

 Ya sass/ ya soo                                    Informal) Goodbye!

The letters in bold in the transliterated words denote the stressed sounds in the Greek words.

Notice the accent ΄ indicating which sound in a word is stressed.


  • In general, γεια σου is used to address one person, and γεια σας is used for more than one person. However, to address one person more formally, e.g. a business contact, use γεια σας. The σας at the end of Καλημέρα makes the greeting more personal. The same rule applies to Kαλησπέρα (σας) Kaleespeara (sass) Good evening to you.
  • Γεια σας & Γεια σου can also be used to mean Alternatively, you can say αντίο andeeo or, more formally, αντίο σας, goodbye to you

KEY PHRASES/ how are you?

Τί κάνετε;/Τί κάνεις;           How are you? (formal & plural/ informal)

Tee kaneteh/tee kaneece

Πολύ καλά!                           Very well!

Pollee kala

Και εσείς;/  και εσύ;               And you? ( formal & plural/ informal)

Keh eseece/keh esee

Έτσι κέτσι                                            So-so.

Etsee k’etsee

  • When talking to a person you are familiar with or wish to address less formally, e.g. a child, use the informal form, Τί κάνεις;, instead of Τί κάνετε; and εσύ instead of εσείς. The formal form is also used to address more than one person, formally or informally.

Let’s practice!

  • Which of these Greek phrases would be appropriate when talking to:
  • Two children
  • A business associate
  • Stavros, a friendly waiter?
  1. Καλημέρα σας!
  2. Τι κάνεις;
  3. Γειά σου!
  4. Εσείς;
  5. Tί κάνετε;
  6. Γεια σας!Εσύ;

You can also read: How well do you know Greek slang

Interested in taking Greek lessons with a professional tutor? Take a look at our Modern Greek course!

click here:Modern Greek Language courses

You can choose either face to face lessons – if you live in Manchester- or online courses.

144 Comments. Leave new

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.