17 Smart Ways to Say Goodbye in English
Tired of saying “goodbye”?
Want to take your boring “goodbye” and turn it into something friendlier or more interesting?
Whether you’re an ESL student looking to speak more naturally with your English-speaking friends, or a business person looking to connect with your clients, we’ve got you covered.
Here are 17 English phrases and expressions you can say instead of just plain-old “goodbye.”
- 17 Smart Ways to Say Goodbye in English
- Common Ways to Say Goodbye in English
- Formal and Business Goodbyes in English
- Slang Ways of Saying Goodbye in English
- Other Resources to Say Goodbye in English
17 Smart Ways to Say Goodbye in English
“Goodbye” can be said in many different ways, depending on the situation.
Common Ways to Say Goodbye in English
This is the standard goodbye. It’s short, simple, and you can say it to absolutely anyone. It’s appropriate for friends and family, as well as co-workers and business partners. Even if you use some of the other expressions on this list, you normally still say “bye” as well afterwards.
2. Bye bye!
This sweet and babyish expression is usually only used when speaking to children. Occasionally, adults will say “bye bye” to each other, but only if they know each other quite well and they’re trying to be flirtatious or cute. You don’t want to say this to a colleague or business partner.
3. See you later, See you soon or Talk to you later
These are appropriate for anyone, from co-workers to friends. Often, we say one of these expressions before saying “bye”, because “bye” can sound a little short on its own. Keep in mind that “you” is usually pronounced “ya”.
4. I’ve got to get going or I must be going
These are a good expression to use when you’re ready to leave a social gathering. It would be rude to suddenly say “bye” and leave in the middle of a conversation. Saying “I’ve got to get going” lets people know that you’re ready to start saying “goodbye”. Depending on the situation, you might also briefly explain why you’re leaving. For example, you might say “I’ve got to get going. I have to wake up early tomorrow morning”. This expression acknowledges that you’ve enjoyed yourself and are reluctant to leave.
5. Take it easy
This expression is a more casual way of saying “have a nice day”. “Take it easy” is basically encouraging the person not to work too hard, and to take some time to relax. Keep in mind that “take it easy” is sometimes also said to an angry or irritated person, in which case it means “calm down”.
6. I’m off
This is another informal way of letting people know that you’re ready to say goodbye. You might soften this phrase by saying something like “right then, I’m off” or “anyway, I’m off”. Using expressions like these before saying “I’m off” lets people know that you’re about to announce something. Again, you might also briefly explain why you’re leaving. For example, you could say “anyway, I’m off: I’ve got a busy day tomorrow”. It’s a relaxed way to say goodbye, and helps you depart smoothly.
Formal and Business Goodbyes in English
As strange as it seems, the word “goodbye” is rarely used to say goodbye. It sounds very formal and is typically only used if you are never going to see the person again. “Bye” is usually more appropriate, even in business situations.
8. Have a nice day or Have a good _____
These are pleasant, polite ways to say goodbye to someone you don’t know very well. You might say this to a co-worker, cashier or casual acquaintance. You can use almost any noun after “good” depending on the situation. For example, you might say “have a good vacation” if you’re saying goodbye to someone before he or she leaves for a holiday; or “have a good weekend” when saying goodbye to a colleague on Friday afternoon.
9. I look forward to our next meeting
This very formal expression is appropriate if you would like to continue doing business with someone. It lets the person know that although you’re saying goodbye now, you want to keep in contact with him or her.
10. Until _____
This expression is a little less common, but you might use it if you know the next time you’re going to see the person. For example, if you’re going to see the person again next week you could say “until next week”.
11. Take care
Take care can be used in professional situations, as well as more casual ones. It’s a warm, genuine-sounding expression that is usually received well by others. Keep in mind that you wouldn’t typically use this expression with someone you see every day. If you say “take care” as you say goodbye to someone, it usually means you’re not going to see him or her for at least a week or more.
12. It was nice to see you again or It was nice seeing you
When you greet someone you often say “it’s nice to see you”, so when you say goodbye you can say “it was nice to see you again”. You can use this expression to say goodbye to someone you already know. Or if this was the first time you met the person, you can say “it was nice meeting you”.
This formal way of saying goodbye can only be used late in the evening when people are heading home for the night. Keep in mind that “good morning”, “good afternoon” and “good evening” are greeting expressions, and only “good night” can be used to say goodbye.
Slang Ways of Saying Goodbye in English
14. Later, Laters, or Catch you later
These are slang ways of saying “see you later” which are common among teenagers. They’re very casual and should only be used with people you know very well.
15. Peace or Peace out
These casual ways of saying goodbye were very popular in the 1990s. Some people still use them today, but they can also sound a little out-dated. If it’s not an expression that you hear your friends using, then it’s probably best not to use it yourself.
16. I’m out or I’m out of here
This is a very casual way of letting people know that you’re leaving, which should only be used among friends. Using these expressions makes it sound like you’re happy to be leaving, so be careful how and when you say them. For example, a student might say “I’m out of here” to his friends after his last class, because he’s happy to be finished school and going home for the day.
17. I gotta jet, I gotta take off, I gotta hit the road or I gotta head out
These are slang versions of “I’ve got to get going”. “Gotta” is an abbreviation of “got to”. Like “I’ve got to get going”, these expressions let your friends know that you’ve had a nice time and you’re at least a little sad to be leaving.
Other Resources to Say Goodbye in English
If you can’t get enough of “goodbye” alternatives, here are some other resources that you might also find helpful.
The video below is by a well-spoken instructor who offers more ways to say goodbye.
Wake Tech offers this list of various ways to say goodbye in English, including informal sayings and even some body language.
As you can see, saying goodbye might sound simple, but there are a lot of expressions for it in English! When it comes to conversational English, context matters. To figure out when to say these expressions naturally, it helps to learn them in context and get plenty of examples.
Try to look for “goodbye” phrases in English conversations. Besides listening to native speakers, you can also check out authentic English media that’s made for and by native speakers. These include books, podcasts, movies, TV shows and more, all of which can show you everyday English expressions.
The authentic videos on the language learning program FluentU can also help. Each clip has interactive subtitles, so you can click any word to see a definition, example sentences and other videos that use the same word. That way, you can learn how to say “goodbye” and other common expressions in context.
As you keep encountering these expressions in different scenarios, you’ll get an instinct for when to say them naturally–which is a sign of becoming fluent.
There you have it! Feel free to play around with these different ways to say goodbye and see which ones you like the most.