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Have a nice day??
Thread poster: Jessica Noyes

Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 19, 2013

I live in Vermont, USA, and a friend of mine recently took a trip to Dublin and Wales. When she came back, she commented that she was delighted to notice that for the entire two weeks, no-one wished her a nice day, or a good day, or anything of the sort. Well in both Vermont, and Quebec, its cross-border neighbor, and in both English and French, this type of greeting, from my experience, is routine: Have a nice day! Have a great week! "Bonne fin de journée!" and so on. Instead, according to my traveling friend, on taking their leave, the people she met were most likely to simply say, "Good-bye!"
Is her experience typical? I often use these formulaic phrases in my correspondence with colleagues and clients across the pond. Are these purely North American constructions? Should I refrain from using them with denizens of the U.K.?
How about the farewells, "It was nice meeting you", or "It was nice talking with you"?
Curious minds want to know...


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:09
Hebrew to English
It's very American Jun 19, 2013

Wishing someone a nice day, it's often perceived as insincere or somewhat hollow here. It's not a natural thing to say, imo. When I was at university and I was working in retail (GAP!) we were encouraged to say it, but nobody ever did, if they did it usually morphed into "Enjoy your afternoon" or something marginally more English(British), if it was said at all.

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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:09
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Many English people moan Jun 19, 2013

about how Americans are always wishing them a nice day and also about how "fake" it sounds when said insincerely (and let's face it, it's hard to do sincere when you've said something 100 times).

I can't help thinking that the British rejection of 'have a nice day' et al is an urban legend. Nowadays people should be culturally aware enough to know that it's standard practice to be friendly in the US/Canada. I always wish my American colleagues/clients a nice day because I think it'd be rude not to.

Personally, I'm a BR English speaker and I like the sentiment behind wishing people a nice day. In addition, I much prefer a nice statement said insincerely than a nasty statement said sincerely.

I think that in an e-mail it's more BR English to send someone 'kind regards' but I have no objection whatsoever to being wished a nice day. In fact, I find it rather uplifting dealing with people from the other side of the pond who wish me nice weekends and nice days and tell me what a lovely day it is in New York/Vancouver etc. today. I therefore encourage you to keep using those lovely positive greetings and hope you don't come across too many dry, humourless moaners who have nothing better to do with their time than infuse a friendly sentiment with a dose of their very own brand of negativity


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Charlotte Farrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:09
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Famously American Jun 19, 2013

It's not massively said here but I will often say 'hope you have a good night' or whatever when I'm leaving the till in a shop, but usually only if I've been having a bit of a chat with the person working there. If the rest of the transaction has taken place in silence I usually leave with a 'thank you' and that's it.

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Petra_44  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
English to German
+ ...
As long as you say it in English, it's ok. Jun 19, 2013

Yes, I agree, it's very American, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing. It's just a pleasant way to say goodbye. So as long as you say it in English, no problem.

Just don't ever say it in German. I've only ever heard it in a sarcastic form here, and that's why I wound always wonder whether they meant to insult me if anyone was wishing me a nice day in German, in an e-mail, for instance.


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SBlack
French to English
+ ...
Bonne journée AND au revoir Jun 19, 2013

(I hope this doesn't drift too much from the original post). Here in France there seems to be yet another layer to leave-taking. When I (Canadian) first arrived, I would leave shops saying "Bonne journée" and then hear sales people call "Au revoir!" after me in a slightly annoyed tone of voice. When I noticed a pattern, I deduced that here, "bonne journée" is not sufficient to politely say "goodbye" to someone, as "have a nice day" is in Canada. Anyone else notice that?

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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 08:09
Japanese to English
+ ...
Out of sheer boredom Jun 19, 2013

I looked at the Wikipedia entry for "Have a nice day" (yes, there is one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Have_a_nice_day ) and found myself agreeing with this paragraph:

Carol Swiderski of the Chicago Tribune wrote that although saying "have a nice day" may not be sincere, the speaker has acknowledged that the recipient is there. She argued "[h]ave we become so analytic that we can't accept these little niceties without asking ourselves, 'Did he really mean it? Does she really care if I have a nice day?'" Writing that society has become so automated that going through a check-out line at a grocery store without having made eye contact or spoken with the checker is possible, Swiderski favored "insincerely meant human kindness to a robot". She encouraged people to respond to "have a nice day" with "you have a nice day, too" because she hoped that when a sufficient number of people do this, there could be a time when people will sincerely intend it.




[Edited at 2013-06-19 14:41 GMT]


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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Due diligence Jun 19, 2013

[quote]Orrin Cummins wrote:

I looked at the Wikipedia entry for "Have a nice day" (yes, there is one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Have_a_nice_day )


Hi Orrin, I usually do my research before posting a query on line, but it didn't occur to me that I could have, or should have, checked wikipedia for this. Good going!

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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Right on target Jun 19, 2013

SBlack wrote:

(I hope this doesn't drift too much from the original post).

Thanks! Not at all Sally, I also am a Canadian (Anglophone) with Quebec roots, and I wanted to find out if this was a *North American* phenomenon. Apparently it is, from both the French and English standpoint.
(And Charlotte also points out that the turn of phrase is anathema in Germany as well.)
Now you have me wondering if it is perhaps an *American* construct overall. Do you, or does anyone out there know if "Que pases (or que tengas) un buen día", is more or less limited to L.A. Spanish?
Of course, I realize that we are drawing broad generalizations here, but I am interested in the overall trend, in full understanding that there will be exceptions of every kind everywhere based on personal preference, social groups, and so on.

[Edited at 2013-06-19 16:00 GMT]


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Decipherit  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:09
Portuguese to English
+ ...
No objection at all Jun 19, 2013

It is American, but I think it's uplifting and a darn sight better than the grunt (barely a "Goodbye" or "Thank you") you get from a lot of British shopworkers.

However, I do draw the line at:

"I hope you are having a fabulous day!"

which was the opening line in an e-mail I received the other day and made me feel ever so slightly queasy.

I'd hate to suggest that you should refrain from a perfectly pleasant greeting but I'm afraid it has to be said that it does make a lot of Brits cringe. I can't speak for the Irish.


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:09
Hebrew to English
Have a nice day? I prefer service with a scowl... Jun 19, 2013

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2542923.stm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2259889/Have-nice-day-I-prefer-service-scowl-.html

And I must say, I really dislike the Stereophonics' song "Have a nice day"...



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rPe0BtYvTA


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sincerity is all Jun 19, 2013

As a Scot and UK English speaker, I don't mind the occasional "have a nice/good...." as long as it sounds sincere. I often bid farewell to friends with "have a good one" (which can mean weekend, game of football, party, pub crawl, exam... etc), sometimes rounded off with "don't do anything I would" or a similar cliche.

I've noticed that when leaving shops etc in Scotland I usually say "cheerio now" but in England I'd just say "cheers"...


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:09
English to Polish
+ ...
I don't like the scowl Jun 19, 2013

I don't like the scowl, I don't really enjoy interacting with people who are cool with everybody, and I really appreciate someone who is genuinely friendly, even though I also appreciate people who are respectful and observe your boundaries. What I don't like is a time-consuming see-through pretence. In the latter case, at least in my opinion, it'd be better to be less outgoing but more genuine in what's actually done or said.

A related problem I have is with first name address and other such fraternising devices being used in formal, cold contexts. If someone uses my first name, I expect that person to be consistent and act like we're hombres. I don't want any snotty English or lawyer-approved responses from a PR sheet to follow after 'Dear Luke'. No bras-d'honneur–I–don't–care–if–you–die subjunctives, inversions or ten-syllable Latinate word. For that sort of business, I'm Mister Gos. I've actually considered including this in my terms of service.

Edit: Oh, and just wishing someone a nice day out of politeness and without really being invested in it isn't bad, actually. It's still an act of courtesy. It's better than any sort of, 'it's really a pleasure,' pronounced on the same tone as: 'go and kill yourself, I don't care,' which would be more native in British English, I believe.

For the record, things like this are so much more complicated with Poles.

[Edited at 2013-06-19 16:44 GMT]


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Alex Aruj  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
If you say it with a Southern accent Jun 19, 2013

it sounds a bit more sincere. If I heard that in such a tone I would strut off saying to myself, "People are so nice in these parts", subsequently realizing that I would never say "these parts" unless I were from some rural outpost somehwere in the U.S.

To anyone in the States: is this phrase more small-town American than urban American?

My hypothesis is that its effect is even determined by where in the States/N. America the speaker is from.


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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
Within the US Jun 19, 2013

Alex Aruj wrote:

it sounds a bit more sincere. If I heard that in such a tone I would strut off saying to myself, "People are so nice in these parts", subsequently realizing that I would never say "these parts" unless I were from some rural outpost somehwere in the U.S.

To anyone in the States: is this phrase more small-town American than urban American?

My hypothesis is that its effect is even determined by where in the States/N. America the speaker is from.


I greet everyone with a good Howdy and end with a Take Care. I reserve my Have A Good Day's for people that I actually like. I also typically use Sir and Ma'am.

I am from a rural area of southern Idaho called Pocatello. I live in a more urban area now, St. Louis Missouri, I don't hear have a nice day all that much, people tend to say Take care now. I notice this in Spanish as well, people tend to say "cuidate" (take care) more than "que tengas un lindo dia/fin de semana/etc (have a nice day/week end/etc...).

Of course, I say you're welcome to the atm's, gas pumps and self service checkout machines when they say thank you. Most people think I'm crazy for doing this, but they've clearly never seen any of the movies where those machines take over the world. I'll need friends when that day comes.


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