I am trying to figure out the usage of this word "greeting".

I've examined the cambridge dictionary.

is "greetings" just a Plural form of "greeting"? is "hello" a greetings or a greeting?


"Hello" is a greeting, but "Greetings" means "Hello"

I think that "Greetings" as a form of greeting, particularly at the start of a letter or message, is short for "My greetings to you." In this usage it is pretty much always plural in form, but I am not sure why.

Note the similar form "My good wishes to you" now often shortened to just "Good wishes!". Can you imagine saying 'Good wish" or "My good wish to you"?


"Greetings" is a single example of a greeting. Saying it once is a singular instance.

Other greetings include:

Good day.
How do you do?

The fact that the utterance is spelled exactly the same way as the plural form of its classification is what is causing confusion.

When used as a word, it has a singular and plural form:

She gave her a greeting when they met.
At the party, he had to give greetings to many people.


"Greetings" is a greeting.
"Greetings" and "hello" are greetings.

But to be clear, nobody would say "greeting" (in its singular form) as a greeting. Only the plural form is used.

From a grammatical point of view, this is analogous to "Curses!" (plural in form) being an example of a single expletive.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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