Take the 2-minute tour ×
Writers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for authors, editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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?

share|improve this question
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." –  AncientToaster Jan 21 '13 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. –  rptwsthi Jan 21 '13 at 11:50

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

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.

share|improve this answer
"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 '13 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.

share|improve this answer
Well this is an amusing answer and pretty elaborative, but it tell what not to do my question is still. What to do?? :D –  rptwsthi Jan 21 '13 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 '13 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 '13 at 12:34

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.