Saying Good-bye: a cultural shock

Hello, you guys! My name is Ludimila Cordeiro and I’m an English teacher. I’m from Londrina-PR but I’m currently based in Curitiba-PR. I’m here today to share with you a piece of a cultural shock that I’ve been through when traveling to an English-speaking country, the USA.
When we learn a foreign language, it is inevitable that we experience other cultures, since language and culture are inseparable. It is mostly through language that you’ll notice curious aspects from the other culture, which may make a strong impact on you. In my case, I had a strange feeling when hearing someone say good-bye in the USA. Sounds funny, right? We all know how to say good-bye. However, the difference relies on how Brazilians and Americans do it.
Saying good-bye in English
We Brazilians usually say a set of sentences when we say good-bye: “Tchauvaleu aíse cuida hein” or “Vai com Deus”, “fica bematé mais” or “Beijos, tudo de bom”, etc. In the USA, people usually stick to only one sentence: “Ok, bye” or “Have a good night” or “Talk to you later” or “Have a good day” or “Take care”, etc. When I heard people saying good-bye like this I felt there was something missing, you know. I thought to myself: “Só isso? Só ‘bye’ e pronto?” I think that the reason is because we, Brazilians, tend to be more affectionate and express our feelings more openly than Americans. They don’t usually say “Bye, kisses” as we do in “Tchau, beijos”.
Another interesting sentence that they say is “Have a good one” or “Have a nice one”. This is a broad sentence that covers all the bases to other sentences, like: “Have a good night”, “Have a good afternoon”, “Have a nice day”, “Have a nice weekend”, etc. It is basically a shortened form of “Have a good (whatever)”. It probably originated out of ‘laziness’ or just because in spoken English people tend to shorten words and phrases and use more informal language.
Important reminder: all that I said previously is more often used in spoken language. There are other sentences that you should use in formal situations, for instance, when applying for a job, sending formal business e-mails or friendly business e-mails. In those situations, you should use: “Looking forward to hearing from you”, “Yours sincerely / Yours faithfully”, “Best wishes”, “Kind regards” or simply “Thank you”.
Well, as I said, learning a language never dissociates from learning another culture. It might feel a bit awkward at first, but eventually you discover so much about yourself and about the world.
Well, that’s all for now! I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Now I want to hear from you. Do you have any interesting experience to share regarding language and culture? Let us know! Click here and share it with us. You can also share your experience on Facebook. Just like our fanpage on
Beijos, (that’s my favorite way of saying good-bye! LOL)
Ludimila Cordeiro graduated in Letras – English Language from Universidade Estadual de Londrina. She’s been teaching for 4 years and has had experience working for private language schools, a public school and as a private teacher. She’s quite interested in learning and teaching English through the Lexical Approach. She’s taken an English course in Salt Lake City-UT-USA in 2009 at Internexus Language Institute and have had experience traveling abroad since then. She absolutely loves speaking and teaching English and wants to help other people become fluent in this amazing language.


8 Comentários

  1. I've justa come back from UK, there nobody says Hello, or Hi. Everybody says samething like: Heya,!It was weird for me, but I got used it!

  2. Here in Dublin is the same,they don't say good bye, they just say: "see you" and things like that. Even in my work, instead say good morning, they say "Heya".

  3. hi, I live in Dublin , here when someone wants to say com licença, they say "sorry" , and when they want to say "me desculpa" they say "excuse-me" ou seja o contrario do que aprendemos antes de sair de casa ^^ mas isso depende de país

  4. Desculpas mas vou colocar meu ponto de vista ! concordo com americanos de se despedir apenas com um Bye,
    não QUERO GENERALIZAR, mas já vi muito brasileiro que dá beijinho, abraços mas quando a pessoa vai embora fica falando mal, então no meu ponto de vista não precisa de ficar falando coisas que realmente não quer 🙂

  5. Está certo dizer Americans?
    Nós brasileiros somos americanos também, Sul americanos, mas é America também.
    Porque eles receberam este título de americanos se não só eles é quem são?
    Sempre tive essa curiosidade.

    1. Cleverton,

      Por que lá o País é chamado de United States of America. Como não dá para fazer um adjetivo pátrio com United States o jeito é fazer com American. Portanto, é isso aí! Além disso, na minha opinião isso é uma grande besteira. O pessoal mais preconceituoso usa isso para dizer que americano (opa, estadunidense) é tudo besta e arrogante e se acha dono das Américas. Na verdade, não tem nada a ver. O fato está no nome do país! Se o Brasil fosse chamado de República Federativa da América do Sul, nós certamente seríamos chamados de sul-americanos e não de brasileiros.

      Espero ter ajudado! 😉

  6. Here in England we don't use at all " GOOD BYE"….what we normally use is : "Cheerio"…or "Cheez"…or " have a good one"…these are very british expressions. Never bother me about the way they speak here, will be the same for them when they visit Brazil. As brazilians use laziness sometimes as well…

    "Hello" is too formal..we normally says : " Hi·ya " or " Hi there!"…
    They teaching a too formal english in Brazil…that's all! 😉

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