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

When I'm talking to a person in opposite time zone and the person greets with "Good morning" or Good evening/afternoon as per his time, is it ok to reply "Good afternoon" (as per my time-zone) when he said "Good Morning", and similarly replying as per my time zone, at other times?

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by FumbleFingers, jwpat7, Gnawme, RiMMER, Mitch Dec 6 '11 at 13:05

Questions on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange are expected to relate to English language and usage within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Depends on your relationship with the person. If you're not in thrall to them, remind them that you're in a different timezone, and would they care to take that into account when they speak to you. You yourself, of course, should take care never to be so thoughtless when you greet them. Play it safe by saying something like *"Hi! Nice to speak to you again!". – FumbleFingers Dec 6 '11 at 6:06
But I'm still voting to close. This is etiquette, not language. – FumbleFingers Dec 6 '11 at 6:07
It would probably fit on Culture exchange stil on commitment on Area51. – Laure Dec 6 '11 at 10:48
I'm voting to re-open. This site has lots of greetings-related questions and language and etiquette are not completely separate ideas. – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Dec 6 '11 at 13:19
@FumbleFingers You're correct that this is etiquette and not specifically about English, but when I think about it, I wonder how common is talking to someone in an opposite time zone in a language other than english is? Sure you could, but English being such a common international language, it's a day to day affair for so many people. But that's just my opinion - a non-native English speaker. – Atul Goyal Dec 6 '11 at 18:22
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The person saying the greeting is wishing something good for the other.

So if it's morning where you are, I should wish you a "good morning", regardless of my local timezone.

Likewise, if it's afternoon where I am, you should wish me a "good afternoon", regardless of your local timezone.

However, if they're already greeted you but used the wrong part of day, it doesn't really matter, the intention is the same. I would still reply with the appropriate greeting for their local timezone.

share|improve this answer

If someone greets you according to their time zone like good morning/evening/afternoon, I think we should wish them the same, rather than explaining them the time zone difference. These would also make them feel comfortable that there is no gap between you people.

share|improve this answer

If you are on formal terms with the other person, it would be appropriate and necessary to respond with "Good morning". The idea is to respect his gesture of wishing you, in the first place, rather than distracting from it. Also note the pronunciation, your stress will be on Good, to show that you care more about that part of the greeting :).

I believe this may also apply in an informal case, though I am not sure.

share|improve this answer

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