The ‘Magic Words’ in English


As Lewis thought about his own language (English) he realised what a rich language it is. In fact the English language has over one million words in its vocabulary and Lewis understands why it is such a tricky language for other people to learn.

He started to think of the different words he knew for how to say hello, please and thank you in English or as he liked to call them, the ‘magic words.’ Here is what he has come up with:


Hello: Good morning, Good afternoon, Good evening, Good night (for different times of the day – more formal register)

Hi, hiya, hey (informal register)


Please: I’d be grateful if you…

Adults often said “What’s the magic word?” if you forgot to say please or thank you.


Thank you: thanks, thank you very much, much obliged (formal)

cheers, ta, thanks a million (informal)


So how many different words in English do you know for hello, please and thank you?  Maybe you could use a thesaurus to find out some more synonyms? 

6 Responses to The ‘Magic Words’ in English

  1. Dawn says:

    Hello Lewis,

    I am a friend of Helen’s and she told me that you are always interested to learn new words in different languages. My husband, Robin, and I recently went to Croatia, where we discovered that the word for hello is “dobar dan” and the word for goodbye is “do videnja”. Croatian is quite different to English in that “j” is pronounced like a “y” in English and “c” is more like “ch” as in church, to name just a couple of the main differences.

    Here are some more words we learned while we were there –
    “dobra vecer” – good evening
    “laku noc” – good night
    “molim” – please
    “hvala” – thank you
    “dobra” – good
    “bog” – this can be used informally to mean hi or bye

    It sounds like you are having lots of fun on your travels. I really enjoyed reading about the tango and am looking forward to seeing more photos of you and Helen as you learn more about the places you visit.

    Dawn x

    • Helen Molloy says:

      Hola Dawn and Robin,

      Wow! That’s fantastic – hvala! Lewis the Lion is pleased that you had such a good time in Croatia. It’s definitely somewhere he would like to visit at sometime in the future so he’ll perhaps come to you for advice? He especially likes the word for hello – dobar dan – because for some reason it reminds him of playing marbles as a lioncub! Lewis the Lion always thinks it’s a good idea to think of ways to help the new learning stick.
      Thanks again for all those great Croatian words.
      Best wishes,

      Lewis the Lion and Helen x

  2. Penny Barker says:

    Hi Lewis … I hope you’re looking after Helen … Dominic says ‘Hello’ we’ve got a peacock living in our garden … he is very very noisy and a big nuisance!
    Please in welsh is ‘diolch’ and
    Thank You is Os gwelwch un dda (os gweluch un tha)
    Its a language that is phonetic … you say it like you read it.
    Hope you and Helen are having fun – find a country that eats peaccocks please!
    Penny x

    • Helen Molloy says:

      Hola Penny and Dominic,

      How wonderful to have a peacock in your garden but yes, I agree, they are noisy things, aren’t they? Don’t know how tasty they would be either?!
      Thanks for the Welsh words or should that be ‘Os gwelwch!’ That’s more to add to Lewis the Lion’s collection and thanks too for the helpful pronunciation tip!
      Dominic will be pleased to know that Lewis the Lion did go and explore some of the paleontological rich planes of Patagonia – there will be a blog to follow in the coming weeks.
      Thanks for your good wishes and love to you and the peacock too!
      Helen and Lewis the Lion x

  3. alfie & brady says:

    Thank you, Lewis from Alfie and me . Have you heard gesundheit?

    • Helen Molloy says:

      Hello Alfie and Brady,

      Lewis the Lion just loves the word ‘gesundheit!’ It just sounds so cool! Yes, Lewis heard this word one time when he sneezed and he was with his German friend at the time who wished him ‘Gesundheit!’ or ‘Bless you!’
      Thank you for reminding Lewis of this great word! Do you learn German? How do you know this word?
      Best wishes,
      Lewis the Lion

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