Greetings - The What's Up Issue

Phrases and Reading Activity

There are many ways of greeting people in English, both formal and informal. you need to be careful about using informal expressions with people you do not know well or those with a higher rank than yours.


Hey, how's it going?
What's up?
Good to see you.
How are things (with you)?
How’s it going?
How’s life been treating you?


Good morning
Good afternoon
Good evening
How are you?
It's good to see you.

How come I never see you?
Such a long time!
Long time no see.
Where have you been hiding?
It’s been ages (since we last met).
What have you been up to (all these years)?


How have you been?
It has been a long time.
It’s been too long.
It’s always a pleasure to see you.
How long has it been?
I’m so happy to see you again.


Read the article and answer the questions that follow.

Modern etiquette: international greeting customs
By Pamela Eyring (Reuters Life!)

 In business, the first thing we do when we meet someone is shake hands.
While it seems simple enough, this "first impression" greeting sends a powerful message about you and your respect for others.
For the most part, the western-style handshake is the accepted form of greeting in the international business world. However, the manner in which it is performed varies from country to country.
When doing business outside the United States, make sure you shake hands with everyone you greet and greet everyone in the room. Failure to do so is considered a rejection of those you omitted, and will be noticed.
Also, be sure to shake hands upon arrival and departure.
When meeting associates in the U.S. a firm handshake is preferred but when traveling abroad it's a different story. Here are a few ways you might be greeted by others when doing business abroad:

JAPAN - Both handshaking and bowing are accepted forms of greeting in international business circles so take your lead from the person you are meeting. If shaking hands, do so lightly. If you are greeted with a bow, respond by bowing in kind.

RUSSIA - Russians usually use a firm handshake when meeting a guest. If you've met the person before don't be surprised if the greeting includes a hug. Russian men customarily kiss their guest's cheeks (men and women alike) while women reserve such intimacies for other Russians and simply shake hands with foreigners.

EUROPEANS - While their handshake is the western style, eastern and western Europeans re-shake hands whenever they are apart for a period of time. For example, it is considered polite to shake hands when you leave for lunch and when you return.

ARAB COUNTRIES - Male friends may embrace and kiss each other on both cheeks following a light and lingering handshake. They also stand very close to one another when talking. If you are a non-Arab woman traveling to an Arab country, let the man offer his hand first because some Muslim men do not shake hands with women. Many Arab business women who often travel to Western countries shake hands with men and women. Let her offer her hand first.

Adapted from


  1. Which of the following forms of greetings is not mentioned in the article?

  1. Is it common for everybody to kiss in Russia?

  1. Where is bowing a custom?

  1. Do business people hug in the US?

  1. What is the international business greeting?

  1. Where do people tend to stand very close to one another?

  1. Do Russian shake hands again if they are apart for a while?

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