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I watched a video on YouTube where an American explains that "Good afternoon" is not common to say, he said it's old fashioned. Is it true ? I've never heard about that.

What can I say instead of "good afternoon"?

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    @V0ight Millennials have different ways of marking politeness than older generations. In particular, their use of casual language is meant to build rapport with the interlocutor, but an older person may interpret it as speaking above their station.
    – Angelos
    Jul 16, 2016 at 0:56
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    There is no universal "American" culture. These things vary from place to place. Perhaps in his neighborhood you have to say "Yo, Dude!" to greet someone. But where I live we still say "Good afternoon" if we want to.
    – GEdgar
    Jul 16, 2016 at 1:06
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    @Nothing at all ~ I think you're missing the point slightly. The entire reason human beings invented politeness was so we wouldn't have to waste our time being interested in other people's life stories. It's the reason why a common polite greeting among the older generations is "How do you do? (Britain)" and "How are you? (America)", but a common greeting among the younger generation is "What's up?". Please. As if you're actually interested in what other people are doing.
    – user180089
    Jul 16, 2016 at 5:54
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    "Good afternoon" isn't old-fashioned. People say it all the time. If I start a meeting that starts in the afternoon, the very first thing I usually say when I get up front is "good afternoon." If I happen to run into someone I know in the afternoon, though, I usually just say "hi."
    – user184292
    Jul 16, 2016 at 6:05
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    Is this Q. asking specifically about whether "Good afternoon" is 'old fashioned' in American culture - or in English-speaking cultures worldwide?
    – TrevorD
    Mar 17, 2017 at 11:31

2 Answers 2

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I would generally only say "good afternoon" if I answered the phone in the afternoon, or if I was starting a formal speech, e.g. "Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen". (I live in England.)

It's not that it's old-fashioned, it's just a bit of a mouthful. I do say "good morning" when I come into the office in the morning.

If I was greeting someone in the afternoon, I would just say "Hi" or "Hello".

This has nothing to do with whether you are a millennial, either. (I am not a millennial; I am in my late 40s.)

I rather like the Australian shortening of afternoon to ARVO, but it would probably get blank stares in other English-speaking countries.

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    Which English-speaking culture/country are you referring to in the main part of your answer?
    – TrevorD
    Mar 17, 2017 at 11:30
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    England - sorry, will edit Mar 17, 2017 at 13:04
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    This accords with my experience in the US (Midwest and West Coast). I might say that it's a bit formal, so someone who is never in more formal situations (has never worked, for example, or has only worked in certain very casual industries) might not come across it very often.
    – 1006a
    Mar 17, 2017 at 14:21
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Good afternoon is not old fashioned but quite lengthy to pronounce and greet someone . As today's world already uses a lot of short forms like Brother becomes Bro and Sister becomes Sis & unlike many others using Good afternoon sounds quiet a greeting from the past .

It is entirely up to you to consider it as old fashioned because Good Morning/Good afternoon / Good night cannot be replaced with a small Hello which can even be whispered to Strangers . You greet some Good afternoon when you are familiar with the Person .

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  • Which English-speaking culture/country are you referring to in your answer?
    – TrevorD
    Mar 18, 2017 at 13:21
  • Does Good afternoon is specific to any Country ? Why do you think it is referring to any Culture ? Mar 19, 2017 at 12:29
  • Yes, usage can and does vary from one place/culture to another, even with apparently common phrases like this. Mar 19, 2017 at 15:11
  • Common greetings - such as 'Good morning/afternoon', 'Hello', 'Bro', 'Sis' - vary greatly between different English-speaking countries & cultures. What is common & acceptable in the USA, may be uncommon & unacceptable - or even rude - in the UK; likewise, what is common in India or Australia, may be uncommon in the USA. Even within a single country, what is common in the south maybe uncommon in the north; what is common among blacks may be uncommon among non-blacks. cont'd ...
    – TrevorD
    Mar 20, 2017 at 13:37
  • ... cont'd Hence, when you say "Good afternoon is not old fashioned", you need to clarify which country & culture you are referring: it could be 'old fashioned' among black people in the American south, but not 'old fashioned' among white people in southern England. Without clarification, your answer is meaningless.
    – TrevorD
    Mar 20, 2017 at 13:41

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