Saying Hello in Vietnamese like a native speaker

In textbooks, you will learn that the word "Hello" in Vietnamese is Xin chào.

However, that's not exactly how Vietnamese people greet each other in daily life.

In this lesson, I will show you most common ways to greet and say "Hello" in Vietnamese that native speakers use in formal and informal situations.

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How to Greet Someone Informally in Vietnamese

If you want to learn how to greet people around you in Vietnamese, you first need to know a few things:

  • Vietnamese informal way of greetings uses the phrase "Hello you", which is Chào + [ ... ]
  • Vietnamese people use kinship terms (terms indicating family relationships, e.g brother, sister, uncle, etc.) to address each other.
  • You have to use the correct term or personal pronoun when greeting someone to show respect and politeness.

Sounds complicated?

Don't worry! I've already simplified everything for your in this post. You'll know exactly how to greet someone like a true Vietnamese after reading this post. So let's get started!

Most natural ways to say "How are you" in Vietnamese

1. Chào anh / chào chị

Literally: Hello older brother / Hello older sister

Chào anh is often used when you need to greet someone who is old enough to be your "older brother".

In another word, use chào anh to greet an older male who is in the same generation as you.

If the guy is a complete stranger and you cannot guess his age, always address him as anh (as if he's older than you) to show respect.

In a Vietnamese family, anh or anh trai are used to call older brothers.

Chào chị is often used when you need to greet someone who is old enough to be your "older sister".

In another word, use chào chị to greet an older female who is in the same generation as you.

If the lady is a complete stranger and you cannot guess her age, always address her as chị (as if she's older than you) to show respect.

In a Vietnamese family, chị or chị gái are used to call older sisters.

How to say "Thank you" in Vietnamese formal and informal ways

2. Chào em

Literally: Hello younger brother/sister

Chào em is often used when you need to greet someone who is young enough to be your "younger sibling".

In another word, use chào em to greet an younger male or female who is in the same generation as you.

If the person is a complete stranger and you cannot guess his or her age, always address them as if they're older than you to show respect ⇢ use chào anh for male, and chào chị for female.

In a Vietnamese family, em or em trai (younger brother) / em gái (younger sister) are used to call younger siblings.

3. Chào chú / Chào cô

Literally: Hello uncle / Hello auntie

Chào chú is often used when you need to greet someone who is old enough to be your "uncle".

In another word, use chào chú to greet a man who is in the same generation as your parents.

In a Vietnamese family, chú is used to call an uncle.


Chào cô is often used when you need to greet someone who is old enough to be your "aunt".

In another word, use chào cô to greet a woman who is in the same generation as your parents.

In a Vietnamese family, is used to call an aunt.

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4. Chào ông / Chào bà

Literally: Hello grandpa / Hello granny

Chào ông is often used when you need to greet someone who is old enough to be your "grandpa".

In another word, use chào ông to greet an man who is in the same generation as your grandparents.

In a Vietnamese family, ông is used to call a grandfather.

In formal settings, chào ông also means "hello sir" or "hello Mr."


Chào bà is often used when you need to greet someone who is old enough to be your "grandma".

In another word, use chào bà to greet an woman who is in the same generation as your grandparents.

In a Vietnamese family, is used to call a grandmother.

In formal settings, chào bà also means "hello ma'am" or "hello Mrs."

5. Chào bạn

Literally: Hello friend

In Vietnam, the pronoun bạn is used to address someone who were born in the same year as you (= same age), such as a classmate. Therefore, you can say chào bạn to same-age peers.

The word bạn also refers to "friend/friends" in Vietnamese. Therefore, if you're in your 20s-30s, when greeting a stranger who is around your generation, you can say chào bạn to express friendliness.

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Formal Greetings in Vietnamese

In Vietnamese greetings, there are a few ways that you can use to greet someone in situations that require formality. Let's take a look at the 2 most common formal greetings that you would often come across.

1. Xin chào

Literally: Hello

Xin chào is often used in formal situations, especially when you have to talk to a group of strangers.

For instance, a reporter or a TV presenter may say xin chào to the audiences, or an event host may use it to greet the attendees.

If you do not remember how to greet someone using the appropriate pronouns, you can still getaway by saying xin chào to the person.

Interestingly, Vietnamese people always expect foreigners to greet them with xin chào since it's the standard phrase used by non-locals. Therefore, they would say xin chào to you as well, but know that it's not how they usually greet one another.

2. Kính chào

Literally: Welcome / Greetings

Kính chào is a very formal phrase, often used in services to welcome customers.

You would see the phrase kính chào quý khách, literally means "Welcome valuable guests" on big banners placed at hotels, resorts or the provinces' entrances.

On television, the phrase kính chào quý vị is also often used by the TV presenter, which can be translated as "Welcome laddies and gentlemen".

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Greeting a group of people in Vietnamese

1. Chào các bạn

Literally: Hello friends

Các bạn has the meaning of "friends" in English.

You can use chào các bạn to greet a group of friends or a group of strangers who are in the same generation as you (= around your age group).

2. Chào mọi người

Literally: Hello everyone

mọi người means "everyone".

This is a less formal and friendlier way to greet a group of people who are around your age.

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3. Chào cả nhà

Literally: Hello all

Cả nhà refers to "the whole house" or "the whole family" in English.

Chào cả nhà can be translated to "hello everyone" or "hello all" in English.

In greetings, you can say "chào cả nhà" to greet everyone in a family or a group of friends/coworkers.

For examples, when visiting someone's house, you can be friendly by saying chào cả nhà to greet all the family members that are there.

When you arrive at the office, you can also use chào cả nhà to greet your coworkers who are already there.

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