This article is published in the monday issues of Times of India.This article was written by Dr V Saraswathi.
There is a beautiful poem of Alan Maley’s , entitled “Good bye” .
“Don’t lie,” she said,
“I try,” he said.
“My life,” she said,
“Don’t cry,” he said.
“I’ll die, “she said,
“Oh , my!” he said.
“Goodbye ,” she said.
Goodbye according to F.T. Wood is used between people on familiar terms when they are parting from each other.
For example, a man to his family or vice versa, as he leaves home to go to work; close friends or relatives, after a visit, or after an outing together; one person seeing another off on a journey.
Cheerio and So long are slang terms for goodbye. They are used only on the most informal occasions by very close acquaintances. Farewell is used instead of goodbye but very rarely.
Do you remember the famous song in The Sound of Music
So long, farewell, auf wiedershchen, goodbye!
Bye is an informal version of goodbye. Children often use bye-bye . Other greetings common while parting on informal occasions are: Cheers, Take care, See you; It was nice meeting you, etc.
We use goodnight on several occasions: when retiring to bed for the night; on parting from someone in the evening; on taking leave of colleagues at the end of the day’s work, whether it be late afternoon or early evening; Remember, we use goodnight, only when we leave, not when we meet people. Here’s a poignant poem by Richard Hill on Mrs O’Neill :
Before she went to bed
Mrs. O’Neill said
Goodnight To the nice announcer On her small T.V. Because she was eighty And very much alone. And when she died He never even went To her funeral.
What should we say when meeting people In formal contexts, we could say Good morning/ afternoon/evening, depending on the time of the day. If you would like to be informal say hello. And for very informal occasions, Hi would be appropriate. Make sure you do not use hello with your superiors When we meet people we know, we often ask politely about their health or their general situation. For example: How are you /How are things / How is it going . The proper formal answers for such greetings would be: Very well. Thank you. And you / Fine, Thank you. Informal responses would be: Fine, thanks/OK/All right/ Not too bad So-so / (It) Could be worse/Mustn’t grumble. We also use some French greetings like bon voyage, adieu and au revoir.
Nit: During the hols I learnt French, Spanish and Algebra.
Wit: Say goodbye in Algebra!