I was told that the greetings "Good Afternoon" and "Good Night" should not be used while first looking at someone for the day, in a corporate world. Is that true?

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    "Good night" is not a greeting at all: it is a farewell (the opposite of a greeting). – TypeIA Sep 18 at 9:27
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    Good morning, Good afternoon, and Good evening (and Good day, but outside of Australian English that one's falling out of favour) can all be used as initial greeting OR leave-taking. But Goodnight is normally only used for leave-taking (and we're actually more likely to use Goodbye at all times of day, unless one or both conversants are about to go to bed). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Sep 18 at 10:23
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    Regarding "good afternoon", it depends on the intent. Sometimes it is used to mock colleagues who come late. – Andrew T. Sep 18 at 21:50
  • You were correctly told that you shouldn't use "good night" as a greeting, but "good afternoon" is fine (in the afternoon). Could it be that you are misremembering what they said? If not, you probably shouldn't trust them to give you accurate information about English or professional behaviour. – NotThatGuy Sep 19 at 3:48

You can say "Good morning" before 12:00 noon. "Good afternoon" is the normal thing to say when greeting someone politely after 12:00 noon, up to 6 PM approximately. You could say "Good evening" after that. However, "Good night" is not a greeting, but is said when leaving someone during the late evening. Perhaps this has confused the person who told you not to say "Good afternoon" or "Good night". We do not capitalise afternoon, evening or night when writing these greetings or farewells.

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I’ve never heard that rule, and I’ve never had someone question me for greeting them with “Good morning”, “Good afternoon” or “Good evening” in a professional setting, aside from a friendly correction when on video or phone conferences with someone in a different time zone.

Note that “Good day” (except in Australia) and “Good night” have a different usage.

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If we’re addressing someone we know well, such as a friend, a family member, or an associate with whom we’re close, a fail-safe salutation remains Hi, Hello, Greetings, or Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or Good Evening.

A business relationship can be close or distant; in either case, the careful speaker will remain aware of a professional context with proper boundaries and degrees of distance.

The salutation; Hello Mr Brown/Miss Brown, can be used as the speaker sees appropriate in business.

Edit: When writing, we might also open with Hi, Hello, Greetings, or Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or Good Evening. Salutations in personal correspondence are followed with a comma (e.g., Dear Samantha,). It is also standard practice to capitalize the first word and any following noun. Good Morning not good morning.



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  • I'm confused by edit 2; Ms is a valid title. If you copied bits of this answer from elsewhere, you should use blockquote syntax (> quotation). – wizzwizz4 Sep 18 at 23:05

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