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Is it true that regardless of the time of the day, the first wish to a person must be Good morning? Even if I meet him in the afternoon?

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closed as not constructive by FumbleFingers, Matt Эллен, jwpat7, KitFox, Daniel Dec 20 '11 at 16:53

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Could you point to a source that states this rule? I have never heard it, and it is not correct. –  Matt Эллен Dec 20 '11 at 11:01
    
I am also very curious as to where you got this idea. Pray tell! –  slim Dec 20 '11 at 15:55
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2 Answers 2

up vote 13 down vote accepted

No it is not.

  • Good morning - any time in the morning after waking up
  • Good afternoon - between noon and evening
  • Good evening - in the evening
  • Good day - any time, but it feels old-fashioned

Good night never means "hello", always "goodbye".

There are times of day when there is no really appropriate "Good ..." -- for example, Good morning is not appropriate if you join your friends in a nightclub at 12:30 am, but neither is Good evening.

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I have heard “good day” used as a farewell— but when I hear it at all it is usually in a film. –  choster Dec 20 '11 at 16:07
    
They may all be used as a farewell, but all will sound old fashioned for that, apart from "Good night". –  slim Dec 20 '11 at 16:10
    
'G'day' is Australian. –  Barrie England Dec 20 '11 at 16:11
    
@Barrie: I thought the correct phrase was, "G'day mate". –  Jay Dec 20 '11 at 16:28
    
@Jay: Certainly, but I suspect the appellation is optional. –  Barrie England Dec 20 '11 at 16:33
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Slim is entirely correct.

One occasional exception to those rules is that "Good morning" is often used ironically.

For example, if it's 4pm and I meet a coworker who looks tired, I might say "Good morning" in a joking tone, implying that he seems to have just woken up.

Or if a friend accompanied me to a late-night movie and fell asleep halfway through it, when I woke her up after the movie I might say "Good morning" as a friendly way of ribbing her for falling asleep.

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Or, indeed, if you arrive at the office at 9:10 when the day strictly starts at 9, a colleague might say "good afternoon" as a joke. –  slim Dec 20 '11 at 16:12
    
Touché, good sir. –  Jonathan Van Matre Dec 20 '11 at 16:24
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