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How informal is "hey"?

Posted: 2019-04-01, 23:58
by Woods
How informal is "hey" instead of "hi"? Would you use it for example when talking to an older lady, but you want to be friendly?

Re: How informal is "hey"?

Posted: 2019-04-02, 0:29
by linguoboy
I wouldn’t. I would only use it with strangers if they were of equal or lower perceived status and I was trying to project informality and solidarity or contempt. (“Hey you! Put that back!”) Basically circumstances where I might use “du” in German.

I chiefly use it with family, good friends, and long-standing colleagues that I also feel a rapport with and more often to get someone’s attention than as a greeting. (In other words, it is not a substitute for “hi” in regards to register or pragmatics.)

Re: How informal is "hey"?

Posted: 2019-04-02, 9:15
by Woods
Thanks!

Re: How informal is "hey"?

Posted: 2019-05-24, 4:01
by JohnBrooke
I will never use 'hey' except very close known ones with my age or friends, instead I will use Hi or Hello.

Re: How informal is "hey"?

Posted: 2019-06-25, 14:28
by el.shaday19
in my country "hey" or hi or hai or hello or hallo are to tell to people that closer, rapper and friend in the same ages.

Re: How informal is "hey"?

Posted: 2019-07-23, 20:16
by Versus
el.shaday19 wrote:in my country "hey" or hi or hai or hello or hallo are to tell to people that closer, rapper and friend in the same ages.

Same in my country.

Re: How informal is "hey"?

Posted: 2019-07-23, 20:37
by linguoboy
el.shaday19 wrote:in my country "hey" or hi or hai or hello or hallo are to tell to people that closer, rapper and friend in the same ages.

"rapper"?

Re: How informal is "hey"?

Posted: 2019-10-09, 6:38
by vijayjohn
linguoboy wrote:
el.shaday19 wrote:in my country "hey" or hi or hai or hello or hallo are to tell to people that closer, rapper and friend in the same ages.

"rapper"?

Maybe they're saying that rappers in their country are informal with their audiences?

Re: How informal is "hey"?

Posted: 2020-05-11, 16:12
by Gormur
There's this small girl, probably not even 10 years old who hangs around outside her house a lot. I happened to pass her on my way home which hers is a few houses up from mine, noticing her say hi and I replied with hey

Hopefully that helps you. I think it's the only situation where I'd use that word as it's very informal. Using it between adults might even seem odd but not weird; just idiosyncratic like how some people give nicknames to each other :hmm: