Learn How to Be Polite When Speaking Greek

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When it comes to speaking Greek, it isn’t just a simple matter of learning some vocabulary words and then saying them when you’re in conversation with someone. There are some things to consider from an etiquette standpoint. In other words, learning the language isn’t enough. You need to also learn how to be polite! Here are some tips that will help you:

Understand Your Audience

Your first step to becoming polite in the Greek language is to understand that different age groups require different rules of etiquette. The following situations are those that require you to speak in the more polite form of the language:

  • Addressing someone you don’t know.
  • Individuals in authority positions, such as the police or a courtroom judge.
  • People who are older than you are.

In any of these situations, an individual may eventually request that you move away from he polite form of the language and begin speaking less formally. Unless the person requests that you make the switch, you should always stick with the polite form.

Also, if you are in a situation where you don’t know what to do, always use the polite form of Greek. It is considered to be rude to be less polite than you should, but no one will think twice if you’re formal when you don’t need to be. If anything, they’ll be flattered.

Know the Polite Form of the Greek Language

Now that you know the situations that require the polite form of the language, it s time to actually use the polite form. In all situations, in order to speak formally, you just need to use the second person plural.

As an example, here’s how you would say hello to someone in Greek in both forms. Note that the polite form will be listed as “formal”:

  • Hello, Informal –  γεια σου – ya sou
  • Hello, Formal – γεια σας – ya sas

This is just one example, but it shows how it is important to adjust your way of speaking depending on whom you are addressing. The second person plural form is considered to be the “you plural” form of the language. So, when you address more than one person. Also, you should remember to say “please” (παρακαλούμε) and “thank you” (ευχαριστώ) when appropriate.


The Learn Greek section on GreekBoston.com was written by Greeks to help people understand the conversational basics of the Greek language. This article is not a substitute for a professional Greek learning program, but a helpful resource for people wanting to learn simple communication in Greek.

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