English greetings are special because there are SO many of them!
In the classroom when you are young, your English teacher may teach you to say “Hello, how are you?”. To which you reply “I’m fine thank you and you?”. There’s nothing wrong with this English greeting, but I will give you a few more authentic, informal ways to say hello in English.
1. How’s it going? (Howsit-goin?)
When I see my friends, I often say, “James, how’s it going?”. This is a rhetorical question and basically means, James! Hello!. “It” refers to James’ life, James’ day, everything in James’ life. You could replace it with, “James, How is life?”. I don’t want to know the full details of James’ life, I’m just getting the conversation started.
An authentic reply to “How’s it going?” would be “Not bad, mate”. It’s very informal so remember not to use this in a job interview!
2. What’s up!? (Wassup) or What’s Happening?
You may have heard this in American movies and it really is an American way to say hello. The first year I lived in Barcelona, my house mate (ex-Wellington House teacher) Jason, who was from California, would always greet me with “Hey, whats up?” or “Hey, what’s happening?”. Being from Britain I would always give him a detailed description of what was happening in my life. All he really meant was, “Hello, how are you?”. He didn’t need to know details of what was happening in my life (sorry Jason).
Below is how I should have replied
Jason : “What’s up, man?”
Ben : “Hey Jason, nothing much, man, how about you?”
Jason : “Just chilling, man”
Just chilling means to relax, not do anything in particular.
Example :- It’s the weekend so I’m just going to chill!