15 Terrific Alternatives to “Hello”

iStock/Wandeaw
iStock/Wandeaw

First impressions are important, so why be boring when there are so many other ways to greet a person and forge a unique connection. Celebrate World Hello Day by trying out a new salutation.

1. WHAT'S THE CRAIC?

How they say “What’s up?” in Ireland. The craic (pronounced “crack”) is the news, gossip, latest goings-on, or the fun times to be planned.

2. HOW HOPS IT?

Be classically cool with this late 19th-century slang for “How’s it going?”

3. AHOY

Add a little jaunty excitement by getting into pirate mode.

4. [HAT TIP]

Be the strong, silent type and forgo words entirely with an elegant tip of your hat.

5. THERE HE/SHE IS!

Make someone feel like the man or the woman of the hour.

6. CIAO

Feeling friendly and cosmopolitan? Ciao will set the mood. Add a kiss on each cheek for authenticity.

7. S.P.D.S.V.B.E.E.V.

Want to write a letter with a classical Latin feel? Open with this abbreviation for Salute plurimam dicit. Si vales, bene est, ego valeo. “Many greetings. If you’re well, then that’s good, and I’m well too.”

8. SALUTATIONS

Show off your verbal dexterity with this gentleman’s greeting.

9. GREETINGS

Or keep it simple and use the word that means just what it says.

10. HOWDY

Keep it casual, cowpoke, or get fancier with a full-on Howdydo?

11. ALOHA

Bring a little mellow sunshine to your interactions by greeting the Hawaiian way.

12. NAMASTE

Start with a show of respect. This peaceful greeting comes from the Sanskrit for “I bow to you.”

13. HOW'S TRICKS?

You’ve got to smile when you dust off this gem from the 1920s.

14. BREAKER, BREAKER

Open the conversation like a trucker on a CB radio.

15. WELL, LOOK AT YOU!

Reminiscent of the sweet way your grandma used to express how impressed she was with you. Why not spread the love around with this opening?

This article originally ran in 2014.

New Harry Potter Scrabble Accepts Wizarding Words Like Hogwarts and Dobby

USAopoly
USAopoly

Patronus, Hogwarts, and Dobby may not be words found in the official Scrabble dictionary, but they are very real to Harry Potter fans. Now there's finally a board game that lets players win points using the magical vocabulary made famous by the Harry Potter books and movies. SCRABBLE: World of Harry Potter from USAopoly is a new edition of Scrabble that recognizes characters, place names, spells, and potions from J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World.

Like traditional Scrabble, players use the letter tiles they pick up to spell out words on the board, with different words earning different point values. Any word you can find in an up-to-date Merriam-Webster Dictionary is still fair game, but in this version, terms coined in Harry Potter qualify as well. First and last names, whether they belong to characters (Albus or Dumbledore, for example) or actors from the franchise (Emma or Watson), are playable. You can also spell magical place names (like Hogsmeade), spells (accio), and objects (snitch).

Harry Potter version of Scrabble.
USAopoly

Showing off the depth of your Harry Potter knowledge isn't the only reason to put wizarding words on the board. Magical words are worth bonus points, with players earning more points the longer the word is. SCRABBLE: World of Harry Potter also includes cards with special challenges for players—a feature that can't be found in any other version of the game.

This Harry Potter edition of Scrabble will be available for $30 at Barnes & Noble and other retailers this spring. Until then, there are plenty of Harry Potter-themed games, including wizarding chess, out there for you to play.

Harry Potter version of Scrabble.
USAopoly

Presidents Day vs. President's Day vs. Presidents' Day: Which One Is It?

iStock
iStock

Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" implies that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

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