# How do greetings vary with time of day?

A character in a story meets another and the author is keeping time of day, as in "the clock was indicating 12 noon". How do the characters greet each other? Kindly include salutations for each time of day; that is morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and night with the related time. I went through several links for that which are as follows:

etc. but these set offer no static pattern or logical pattern to resolve the query.

Edit: Earlier in paragraph, the writer has mentioned that the "clock was indicating 12 in day". And then another character arrived. How will he greet the first character who is already in the scene?

• This question is unclear. Are you asking "What greeting would a character use at noon? I want the reader to know that the time is 12:00, and I want to do it through dialogue." Jan 21, 2013 at 9:59
• No, it's like in our earlier in paragraph i have mentioned that "clock was indicating 12 in day". And then arrive another character. How he'll wish to first character who is already in scene. Jan 21, 2013 at 11:50
• This sounds more like a question for English.SE or ELL.SE Oct 29, 2015 at 20:48
• It will vary not only with time of day, but with the relationship, age, and geography of the characters, and probably more, and a number of greetings will be appropriate. Check out ell.stackexchange.com/questions/3315/…, english.stackexchange.com/questions/91292/… Dec 17, 2015 at 15:21
• You mention two ways of letting the reader know the time. One is telling us what the clock says. Another is having it revealed in dialog. (Both of these seem clumsy.) Another way to do it is just to write it out in the narrative: "At precisely twelve noon John came into the room." Dec 18, 2015 at 16:27

English speakers are fairly loose in this regard. The different greetings overlap, and your reader is unlikely to worry too much about what you use (unless it's 8 a.m. and your characters are saying "Good afternoon.").

A rough guide, however:

~5:00 to ~12:30: Good morning.
~12:30 to ~ 17:00: Good afternoon.
~16:30 to ~5:00: Good evening. (A tricky one. As far as I know, us English speakers don't say "Good night" in greeting, no matter how late in the day it is.)

But these answers are approximate. The greeting might also vary depending on how light it is outside (You might say "Good morning" at 4:30 a.m., if the sun is up); the speaker's own schedule (If you generally wake up at 10:00, you might stretch "Good morning" as late as 13:00); or day of the week ("Evening" on Friday lasts longer than on Tuesday).

If you really aren't sure, just have them say "Hello" or "How are you?". A time-based greeting is not required in English.

• "Good night" is something you say when leaving at night. You don't say it when you're arriving, even if it's night.
– Jay
Feb 8, 2013 at 14:44

The character will be probably as confused as you, unless they spend a good while to think over the meaning of the greeting. But just in case they paused to think it over...

A greeting is wishing the upcoming time to be good. If you say "Good morning" you don't state "this morning is good". It's a shorthand for "I wish you to have a good morning".

Since at noon the morning is just ending, there is no point giving wishes for such a short time. You wish good afternoon which has just started - your wish will last for longer.

• Well this is an amusing answer and pretty elaborative, but it tell what not to do my question is still. What to do?? :D Jan 21, 2013 at 12:20
• @rptwsthi: No, the answer is "Good afternoon". Whenever you're at an edge between two greetings, in doubt which one to use, use the one for later. At dusk, hesitating between "Good afternoon" and "Good evening" use "Good evening". At dawn - even if it's still dark outside - "Good morning". Or use generic, "Hello", "Hi", or "Greetings."
– SF.
Jan 21, 2013 at 12:23
• By the way, you might be interested in English for Language Learners - a new StackExchange site that should enter beta any time now. This question would be a perfect fit there.
– SF.
Jan 21, 2013 at 12:34

If it's not for radio, greetings don't need to be voiced at all. If it's just two characters, it might very well be non-dialog:

Bob saw George coming back from the break room, and caught his eye. They moved into a doorway of an unused office, out of the hallway traffic. "I have an idea for the new product line." Bob said ...

I find in real life people don't use formal greetings or address each other during conversation, compared to what is seen in fiction and perhaps in the past or in other cultures.

Body language plays a larger role.

This is something that can be used to show your character's character. When I was in highschool I almost always used the wrong greeting just to see what people would do. So if your character is obnoxious, this can be used to show that. You can also show confusion, weariness, obsequiousness, obsessive attention to detail and more. Ponder the following:

The lunch appointment was for noon. I hated noon appointments. Salutations were always more complicated at noon. I was of course early. Fifteen minutes, It was a restaurant so extra time for finding a table would not be inappropriate. I greeted the matradee. "Good morning" The reservation was in order for noon. If it had been at his office I would not have been more than five minutes early. Or less than three. Offices were easy that way. Restaurants on the other hand had crowds and waitresses which always played with the schedule. He had a reputation for always being on time. Ordinarily I would approve, but the schedule called for noon. I hate noon appointments. I saw him approach. Well before 12:01. no way that I could use afternoon yet. If he was quick enough, I could still use morning. Alass he got to the table just as my watch beeped the hour. I hate noon appointments. Oh well no help for it, I greeted him as best as I was able, "Hello."

Time Meeting Parting 00.00 – 12.00 Good Morning Good Day 12.00 – 18.00 Good Afternoon Good Day 18.00 – 24.00 Good Evening Good Night

It is important that the greeting is different for meeting and parting. I have heard media technocrats say Good Morning when they are beginning a conversation with a guest at, say, 10.00am and when finishing shortly afterwards, also say Good morning. I have also heard them say Good Evening when finishing a conversation with a guest at, say 18.00.

Good morning 5:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Good noon 12:00 PM to 2:30 PM. Good afternoon 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM. Good evening 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Good night 8 to whole night till to 5:00 AM. Hello,Hi,Hey,How are you every time..

• FYI, I've never heard "Good noon." And "Good night" is a farewell, not a greeting. (In American English.) Oct 21, 2015 at 14:03
• Can you provide any support or context for this? Where is this done? (I've never heard "good noon".) Right now this sounds more like a comment. Please check out our short tour for more about how the site works and then edit to expand this. Thank you. Dec 25, 2015 at 18:56
• @KenMohnkern Good night I use it when we're about to go to sleep. Dec 28, 2017 at 14:04

This is heavily dependent on language, culture and subculture.

As an example, the standardised usage in the Swedish military is to use (this is, alas, translated to English to be somewhat comprehensible) "good morning" from 06:00 to 10:00, "good day" from 10:00 to 18:00, "good evening" from 18:00 to 22:00 and "good night" from 22:00 to 06:00.

However, for something approaching "modern day english-speaker", one of "hello", "hi", "what's up" or similar would probably work well.

In Spanish, Good morning is Buenas dias, Good afternoon is Buenas tardes, and Good night is Buenas noches.

In Tagalog, the national language of The Philippines, Good morning is Magandan umaga, Good afternoon is Magandan hapon, and Good night is Magandan gabi. In addition in Tagalog, hello said at noon is Magandan tanhali.