Introduction:

How do you say goodbye to people in English? It sounds easy to do, you just say 'goodbye'. And that's what you do. But what do you say before 'goodbye'?

In English, what you say when ending a conversation with somebody depends on what the other person says to you. So if somebody says to you 'It was a pleasure meeting you.', you should reply by saying 'And you to.'. In addition, what you say changes if you have met the person before or not.

Knowing what polite phrases to use (and what phrases people with use with you) is really important to end a conversation in English (especially in business). Because it is the last thing the person you are having the conversation with will remember from it.

And this is what you'll learn here.

In this online exercise on saying goodbye, you will learn and remember some polite phrases that are commonly used in English when saying goodbye in business and professional situations. You'll learn phrases to use with both people you both know well and with people you have met for the first time. You'll also learn how to politely tell the person that you to finish the conversation with them.

To learn the English phrases used to introduce yourself to people you don't know, do our exercise on 'How to introduce yourself in English phrases'.

Or to learn the English phrases used when you want to introduce one person to another person, do our exercise on 'How to introduce people in English phrases'.


Exercise: Saying goodbye

In the following two situations, people are saying goodbye to each other. In the first situation, one person says goodbye after ending a conversation. In the second situation, one person tells a colleague that a visitor to their office is leaving.

From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.

Situation 1

Sally:'I think it's a good idea.'

Bill:'I thought I'd tell you about it. I don't know how we could do it. Any ideas?'

Sally:'Let me think about it. I'll come up with some ideas and then email you.'

Bill:'I'd appreciate it.'

Sally:'Anyway, it's getting late. I'm afraid I have to go.'

Bill:'It was good seeing you again. It was three months since we last saw each other.'

(Handshake)

Sally:'And you too. I hope it won't be three months until the next time.'

Bill:'And me too. Oh, give my regards to Peter when you see him. It's been a long time since I've seen him.'

Sally:'I will when I see him. I'll let you know about my suggestions by next Monday at the latest.'

Bill:'Thanks.'

Sally:'Bye.'

Bill:'Bye.'


Situation 2

Rachel:'Tom, Simon is heading off now.'

Tom:'It was a pleasure meeting you.'

(Handshake)

Simon:'And you too. Thank you for looking after me.'

Tom:'It was my pleasure. I hope you enjoyed your visit?'

Simon:'Yes, I did very much.'

Tom:'Sorry again about the meeting being cancelled.'

Simon:'It was no problem.'

Tom:'Have a safe journey.'

Simon:'Goodbye.'

Tom:'Goodbye.'



Quiz: How to say goodbye in English phrases

Below is a definition/description of each of the words/phrases in bold from the above text. Now choose the word/phrase from the question's selection box which you believe answers each question. Only use one word/phrase once. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.

1. A different way to say 'is leaving now', is
         

Is heading off now:
(phrase) This phrase is a common and informal way of saying 'is going now' or 'is leaving now'. This phrase is used to first tell/announce that a person is going to leave. It can be used by either the person who is leaving (I'm heading off now) or by another (third) person (Roger, Sally is heading off now). This is an informal phrase, so shouldn't be used in very formal situations (where 'I am going/leaving now' are better phrases to use). In Spanish: "se va ahora".

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Is heading off now:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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2. A phrase that is used to apologise to somebody when you are saying goodbye, is
         

Sorry again about the:
(phrase) This phrase is used to be polite when you are saying goodbye. If something has gone wrong while the person who is leaving has been with you, it is polite to apologise to them again about it when you are staying goodbye to them. We use 'sorry again about the' to do this. This phrase is followed by the name of the thing that went wrong, e.g. 'sorry again about the hotel reservation'. It is polite for the other person who is leaving to respond/answer by saying 'no problem' or 'don't worry about it'. In Spanish: "lamento de nuevo por".

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Sorry again about the:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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3. A way to tell somebody that you are going to confirm some information that they want/need in the future, is
         

I'll let you know about:
(phrase) Normally when you meet people for business you agreed to do things in the future for them (like organise a meeting, obtain some information, make a decision about something). If this is important, you should confirm (or reconfirm) that you are going to do it when you are saying goodbye to the person. You can use 'I'll let you know about' to do this. This is used when you have agreed to confirm something with the other person. The phrase should be followed by what you are going to confirm and by when, e.g. 'I'll let you know about the date of the next meeting by Friday'. If you agreed to send them some files/documents then you would you 'I'll send ' instead of 'I'll let you know about', e.g. 'I'll send you a copy of the contract before the end of the day'. In Spanish: "te informaré sobre".

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I'll let you know about:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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4. A formal and very polite phrase to use when you have met somebody for the first and means 'it was nice meeting you', is
         

It was a pleasure meeting you:
(phrase) This is a very formal and polite phrase you use when saying goodbye to a person you have met for the first time in a formal situation. It is different way of saying 'it was nice meeting you' (which is less formal). Normally, when you say this phrase you should offer your hand to the other person to shake hands. The other person will reply/respond to this phrase by saying either 'and you too' or 'the pleasure was mine' (which is very formal). For example, 'it was a pleasure meeting you' 'and you too'. In Spanish: "fue un placer quedar contigo".

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It was a pleasure meeting you:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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5. A polite phrase you use which means 'I hope you don't have any problem when you're travelling back to your city/country', is
         

Have a safe journey:
(phrase) This phrase is just used to be polite. You would use it only if the person who is visiting you has a long journey to do when they leave you (they live in a different city or country). You would say it at the end of the conversation, just before you both say goodbye to each other. You can use 'have a safe journey' in both business and non-business situations. In Spanish: "buen viaje".

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Have a safe journey:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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6. A polite phrase that the person visiting says to thank the other person, is
         

Thank you for looking after me:
(phrase) When you visit somebody or somewhere, it is polite that when you are saying goodbye that you thank the other person for something. You can use this phrase to do it. You can thank the other person for whatever reason. So, you can say 'thank you for looking after me', 'thank you for organising the meeting', 'thank you for helping me with the report' etc... The other person will reply/respond by saying 'it was my pleasure' (which is formal) or 'it was no problem'. In Spanish: "gracias por cuidar de mí".

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Thank you for looking after me:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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7. A polite phrase that has a similar meaning to 'it was a pleasure meeting you', but is used when you have met the other person before, is
         

It was good seeing you again:
(phrase) This is a polite phrase you use when saying goodbye to a person you know or have met before (maybe once or maybe many times). Normally, when you say this phrase you should offer your hand to the other person to shake hands. The other person will reply/respond to this phrase by saying either 'and you too' or 'good to see you too'. For example, 'it was good seeing you again' 'and you too'. In Spanish: "estuvo bien volver a verte".

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It was good seeing you again:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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8. A polite phrase you use to respond to somebody who has apologised to you during saying goodbye, is
         

It was no problem:
(phrase) This phrase is used to be polite when somebody has apologised for something to you while saying goodbye. It has the same meaning as 'no problem' (which is less formal) or 'don't worry about it' (which is informal). As I said before, this is just used to be polite. You would say this phrase directly after the other person has apologised for something going wrong. For example, 'sorry again about the hotel reservation' 'it was no problem'. In Spanish: "sin problema / no te preocupes".

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It was no problem:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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9. A word that is used to change the topic/subject of a conversation, so you can start to say goodbye, is
         

Anyway:
(adverb) This is a very commonly used word that is used when you want to change the subject or topic of a conversation. In this context it is used when you are talking to somebody about another topic, but you want to tell them that you have to leave. For example, 'that should be no problem, I think it will work. anyway, I have to go now. it was good seeing you again'. It can be used in any situation where you want to change the topic/subject, not just when you want to introduce the topic of having to leave. In Spanish: "bueno".

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Anyway:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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10. A phrase you use when somebody says either 'it was good seeing you again' or 'it was a pleasure meeting you' to you, is
         

And you too:
(phrase) This is a polite way to respond/answer to somebody when they have said to you either 'it was good seeing you again' or 'it was a pleasure meeting you' during saying goodbye. It is normal to be shaking hands with the other person when you are saying this (they will offer their hand to shake first). There are alternatives to 'and you too'. When somebody says 'it was good seeing you again' to you, you can also reply with 'good to see you too'. And when somebody says 'it was a pleasure meeting you' to you, you can also reply with 'the pleasure was mine' (which is very formal). In Spanish: "y yo tambien".

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And you too:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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11. A formal way to tell somebody who you are having a conversation with, that you must leave and go somewhere, is
         

I'm afraid I have to go:
(phrase) This polite and formal phrase is used if you are in conversation with somebody and you want or have to stop the conversation and leave/go. It is very polite because you use both 'I'm afraid' and also 'have to' (which suggests that you have no choice). A less formal way of saying 'I'm afraid I have to go' is 'sorry, I have to go'. In Spanish: "me temo que tengo que irme".

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I'm afraid I have to go:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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12. A polite phrase you use to respond to somebody who has thanked you for something during saying goodbye, is
         

It was my pleasure:
(phrase) This formal phrase is used to be polite when somebody visiting you has thanked you for something while saying goodbye. It has the same meaning as 'it was no problem' (which is less formal). You would say this phrase directly after the other person has thanked you. For example, 'thank you for helping me with the report' 'it was my pleasure'. In some situations (with friends etc...), it is too formal to use. In these situations, you use 'it was no problem' instead. In Spanish: "ha sido un placer".

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It was my pleasure:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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13. A formal way to say 'say hello to Peter for me', is
         

Give my regards to Peter:
(phrase) This is a formal phrase which is used to ask a person visiting you, to say hello to another person that you both know the next time they see them (somebody who you don't see or meet very often). It is used out of politeness and is normally used when people are saying goodbye to each other. The more informal way to say this is 'say hello to Claire for me'. In Spanish: "dale saludos/recuerdos de mi parte a Peter".

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Give my regards to Peter:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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