English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Suppose I'm walking in my school corridor and there are 4–5 teachers standing in the hallway. How can I greet them all at once?

Anything better than "Greetings, teachers"?

share|improve this question
'Greetings', though perfectly recognizable, normal English, is too formal. – Mitch Jul 22 '11 at 13:45


That usually works for me.

share|improve this answer

I am not sure how prevalent it is in other parts of the world, but "Good Morning/Afternoon" ma'ams seems ok.

share|improve this answer

If they are all women, it is not necessary in informal speech to refer to them by their profession; "Greetings ladies" would be perfectly acceptable.

For a mixed crowd, you can infer the noun and simply say "greetings".

share|improve this answer
Careful with "Greetings ladies" (or gentlemen) in the US. It could appear condescending or disrespectful if the party you are addressing is older than you. – HaL Jul 22 '11 at 13:30
Depends on your position. A pupil greeting teachers would not say "Greetings ladies". Another teacher might greet them that way. – GEdgar Jul 22 '11 at 15:55

It depends on your relationship to them, but in no case would it be acceptable to say "Greetings, teachers" unless you are able to carry off being very sardonic.

"Hello" is a good generic greeting, acceptable for almost any kind of relationship.

"Good morning/afternoon" is a little more formal.

"Greetings ladies/gents/ladies and gentlemen" is either very formal, or rather informal and a little facetious. I doubt this will be appropriate for your relationship with them unless you are friends or work colleagues who are in at least semi-regular contact.

share|improve this answer

You can say 'Hi, guys!' and nod and smile at them. That is most common.

Since 'guy' is originally a term for a male, older women can get ruffled at being addressed as 'guys' if there are no men in their group. However moderately aged and younger women won't care because it is by far the most common way to address a group of people informally.

In the case of a group of all older women, you can say 'You all'. Such as 'How are you all doing today?' In the case of a simple greeting, it is more normal sounding to leave off the 'you all' and just say 'Hello' and pass.

NEVER say the word 'ladies' at the end of a sentence, such as 'Hello, ladies!'. It automatically adds a creeper vibe (meaning you will sound creepy and women will avoid you) to whatever you are saying.

A common american would say 'Hey, whats up' or just 'what up girls' but that is extremely informal and would only be used on a group of women your own age.

share|improve this answer
In the southern US you would say "How are all y'all doin'?" – oosterwal Sep 9 '11 at 14:51

Certainly not formal, but is there a problem with just saying, 'Good afternoon, everyone' or 'Good afternoon, all' ?

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.