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Is “Good Morning” One Word or Two?

Did he say “Good morning” or “Goodmorning”? It sounded more like “Go’ morning.” Am I supposed to say “Good morning” back to him? Should I use “Good morning” or “Goodmorning” in an email? Which is correct?

“Good morning is a two-word phrase. You should always write “Good morning” as two distinct words as the standard greeting “Good morning” combines an adjective and the noun it modifies. When you speak the greeting you can blend them as this commonly used phrase is often said quickly, leading people to incorrectly believe it is one word.

Your interactions with the people around you will help you use “Good morning” with variation in your daily life. Here, you will learn the definition of “Good morning,” as well as the proper contexts and alternatives in which you can use it. We will also learn the basics of interjections and minor sentences, which you can apply to other similar phrases.

What Does “Good Morning” Mean?

We generally use “Good morning” as a rhetorical greeting. It wishes a person well for the day. We use it to improve rapport between employees, acquaintances, and strangers. “Good morning” is a more appropriate greeting for strangers, rather than saying “Hi” or “Hello.”

“Good morning” is slightly more formal than a simple “Hi” or “Hello.” By the same token, when someone says “Good morning,” we understand they are simply greeting us and going on their way. If they say “Hi,” they might want to initiate a conversation or ask a question. 

“Good morning” is a combination of the adjective “good” and the noun “morning.” We use the adjective “good” to modify the noun, showing what type of morning we wish for the person we greet (source). 

Not surprisingly, you are limited to positive adjective options to modify the morning greeting. You would not, for instance, wish someone a “bad morning.” On the other hand, you could use intensely positive adjectives and turn the phrase into a complete sentence. For example, “Isn’t it a fabulous morning?” or “Beautiful morning, isn’t it?”

How Do You Use “Good Morning”?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, you should use “Good morning” to greet any person you see before noon (source). This greeting is also a great way to diffuse awkwardness when you enter an elevator or pass someone in a narrow space, such as a hallway at school or work.

Generally, when you greet a person with “Good morning,” he or she will smile and return the greeting, ending the encounter. It’s much better to say a greeting than stand there silently, waiting for the elevator doors to open!

You will do the same if someone says “Good morning” to you. Simply reply, “Good morning,” and continue on your way. This also applies when you enter a business in the morning. For example, you could greet the hostess in a restaurant with “Good morning” before she seats you.

When entering a meeting, you can also use “Good morning” to greet a group of people already present. If you are one of the people already in the meeting, you will follow the lead of other attendees or the facilitator in responding with “Good morning” or being silent. Some attendees may even mumble a simple “Morning” in response to this group greeting.

The general rule of thumb is the person moving should initiate the “Good morning” greeting. This works whether you walk into a restaurant and greet the hostess or if you enter an office and greet the receptionist. Of course, on the phone or at a business, the other party might greet you first.

If both parties are moving, as occurs when you meet someone coming toward you in a hallway, either person can initiate the greeting. You might even get an extra smile if you both simultaneously say “Good morning” to each other!

You can also use “good morning” without the capital letter as part of a larger sentence. Examples include, “I’m having a good morning” and “Are you having a good morning?” Both of these examples show how you can use the phrase in more of a conversational way rather than as a simple greeting.

When Can You Use “Good Morning”?

“Good morning” is a simple greeting you can use in various situations without the risk of offense. Whether greeting your barista, a stranger in an elevator, or a group of coworkers in a conference room, “Good morning” will serve you well. Most will take the greeting at face value: an expression of well wishes and a simple pleasantry.

You can also use “Good morning” in writing. For example, many people regularly greet a few close friends with a “Good morning” text. In this case, the greeting expresses that this person is in your thoughts and that you hope they have a pleasant day. This is especially true between parents and adult children or between boyfriends and girlfriends.

Finally, “Good morning” is also perfectly appropriate in email correspondence. Both professional and informal emails will sound more friendly, with a simple “Good morning” in the heading. This greeting can also save you from the dated “Dear Sir or Madam” or the unprofessional “Hey, guys.” 

When you use “Good morning” in an email, you should set it apart on its own line, regardless of whether you use it with a noun of address. For example, you will say, “Good morning” or “Good morning, Team.” Use a period to end the minor sentence, then start your message on the following line. 

In What Context Can You Use “Good Morning”?

You will generally only use “Good morning” as a greeting the first time you see someone in the morning. After the first time, you will say “Hello” when your paths cross or simply smile and nod your head. 

People would consider it awkward, for instance, if you said “Good morning” every time you passed the receptionist’s desk at work. However, you can always smile, nod, and say nothing each time you encounter the same person on the same day.

A smile and nod are sufficient in the workplace, at a public event, and in a private setting with close acquaintances.

Using “Good Morning” in a Full Sentence

Good morning can stand alone as a sentence, or you can add a noun of address. An example is “Good morning, sir,” or when entering a meeting, “Good morning, Team.” However, when we use it as a complete sentence, “Good morning” is considered an interjection (source), and as such, we speak it more often than we write it.

We speak most interjections more commonly than we write them. In a day, you might say, “Hey,” “Wow,” or “Good job!” many times. But on the same day, you would probably use complete sentences with both a subject and a verb in most of your written work. 

Interjections can be individual words or a phrase made up of multiple words. For example, “Good morning” does not contain a subject and a predicate, but it is still written and punctuated as a sentence. We use other interjections in the same way, such as “Good night!” or “Hey, you!” 

When Not to Use “Good Morning”

The times when it is not okay to use “Good morning” are probably self-evident. Obviously, you should not use “Good morning” at other times of the day, such as afternoon or evening. Additionally, you should not say “Good morning” to the same person more than once on the same day.

The use of “Good morning” has a time consideration. If you greet someone after 12 PM, you should use “Good Afternoon.” If you greet someone after 5 PM, you can use “Good Evening.” You would not use “Good Night,” as this is considered a farewell instead of a greeting.


As always, in English, there are exceptions to these rules. First, you could use “Good morning” in the evening if you are teasingly trying to communicate that you just woke up. For example, a third-shift worker might say “Good morning” to his roommate when he wakes up at 7 PM.

You can use “Good morning” to the same person more than once in a teasing way if you unexpectedly run into him or her again later in the morning. For instance, if you greeted a friend at work and then ran into her at the copy shop down the street, you could say “Good morning” again, even though you both know you’ve already met that day.

What Can You Use Instead of “Good Morning”?

Because we usually use “Good morning” rhetorically, you can use “Hello” in many, but not all, of the same situations. Additionally, in many cases, native speakers will simply say “Morning” or “G’morning” because they leave off minor syllables when they get in a hurry. 

The meaning is the same whether you say “Morning” or “Good morning,” but the greeting might sound wrong to the listener if he is listening for the entire word. Alternatively, in writing, only “Good morning” is appropriate. You would not abbreviate or eliminate any part of the phrase.

Synonyms for “Good morning” are tough to find and even tougher to incorporate into your speech, as most options are considered ultra-formal (source). The thesaurus offers just a few alternatives.

You may simply say, “Greetings” or add a noun of address, such as “Greetings, fellow earthlings” or “Greetings, Teammates!” If you feel creative, you may also use a similar greeting from a different language, like “Bonjour” or “Buenos Dias.”

If you wish to use a complete sentence, you can say “Good morning” in any of the following ways:

  • What a beautiful morning!
  • Beautiful morning, isn’t it?
  • It’s a wonderful day!
  • How about this morning’s weather?
  • It’s so lovely this morning!

Each of these greetings is rhetorical, so one can answer them with a polite smile and nod. However, it is also appropriate to respond with a “Yes, it is!” or “I love it!”

Is “Good morning” a Minor Sentence?

Sometimes, we just punctuate one or two words and use that as a complete sentence, though the word or phrase does not technically have a subject and a predicate. These are minor sentences because they do not follow the same rules. “Good morning” is an example of a minor sentence, as is “Yeah, sure” or “Of course!”

When using minor sentences in writing, you must ensure that the context is clear. To not confuse your reader, it is best to put the minor sentence directly before or after the dialogue it relates to. In the example of “Good morning,” you use a dialogue tag to state who was speaking.

Open, Closed, and Hyphenated Compounds

We call the new phrase an open compound when we use two words together with a space between them instead of a hyphen. “Good morning” is an example of an open compound.

Three basic types of compound words exist in the English language. The first type is open, requiring a space but no hyphen. For example, when used as an interjection, both “Good morning” and “Good night” are open compounds.

The second type is hyphenated compounds, requiring a hyphen but no space. Examples include “best-dressed” or “well-known.” Over time, some compound words can migrate from one category to another, usually from open to hyphenated, then finally to closed (source). 

Finally, closed compounds require neither a space nor a hyphen. These are the compound nouns with which we are most familiar, such as “sunshine,” “notebook,” and “seafood.” You can make compound nouns with an adjective and a noun or combine a noun with its modifying noun.

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The article “Goodnight or Good Night: Is It Two Words or One?” offers a more thorough discussion of the grammar rules governing both “Good morning” and “Good night” as open compounds.

Final Thoughts

“Good morning” is a versatile phrase with so many uses. This minor sentence contains only an adjective and a noun, but it can smooth your relationship with a perfect stranger or put a smile on the face of your harried barista. 

When we use it as an interjection, this simple phrase stands proud as a sentence in its own right. As you learn to incorporate more rhetorical greetings like “Good morning,” you will begin to sound more and more like a native speaker!

As you start your workday today, keep track of the responses you get when you greet the people around you with a smile and say, “Good morning.” I guarantee you will receive smiles in return, and you will improve both your mood and the mood of those you address!