The Top Greek Phrases for Beginners

Are you a new Greek learner trying to expand your knowledge? Do you need a quick review of the basics? Or are you planning on traveling to Greece soon? If you’re fascinated by the Greek language, then you’re certainly in the right place.

Beginners often feel lost, especially those who have decided to take the self-learning route. They have a hard time knowing where to start—a plight we’re quite familiar with due to our many years of teaching experience.

One thing is certain: Regardless of your level, you’ll certainly enjoy finding all the basic Greek phrases for beginners in one place.

In this article, we’ve gathered the most common Greek words and phrases for beginners: greetings and self-introductions, expressions for shopping and dining, and even phrases for getting help in an emergency.

We’ve got you covered.

➡️ Extra tip: Bookmark this article and revisit it whenever you need to freshen up your Greek.

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Table of Contents

  1. Greetings and Self-introductions
  2. Courtesy Phrases & Social Expressions
  3. Dining and Shopping Phrases
  4. Asking for Help
  5. How Can GreekPod101 Help You Master Greek?

1. Greetings and Self-introductions

A Woman Smiling and Waving Hello

The first thing you need to know is how to greet someone, of course. In Greek, there are informal and formal greetings.

If you’re greeting an individual who is close to you, you can simply say:

  • Greek: Γεια!
  • Romanization: Ya!
  • Translation: “Hi!” – Informal

On the other hand, when you’re greeting a group of people or someone you don’t know that well, you may use the following version.

  • Greek: Γεια σας!
  • Romanization: Hey sas!
  • Translation: “Hello!” – Formal

Other popular greetings are based on the time of day. Here are the most common ones:

  • Greek: Καλημέρα!
  • Romanization: Kalimera!
  • Translation: “Good morning!”
  • Greek: Καλησπέρα!
  • Romanization: Kalispera!
  • Translation: “Good evening!”

➡️ Do you feel like diving a bit deeper into Greek greetings? Check out our article How to Say Hello in Greek to discover all the different greetings we use. Yes, even slang terms!

So, what’s next? After greeting someone, you’ll probably want to say: “How are you?” Again, there are two versions of this phrase; the first one is used in casual contexts and the second one in formal contexts.

  • Greek: Τι κάνεις;
  • Romanization: Ti canis?
  • Translation: “How are you?” – Informal
  • Greek: Τι κάνετε;
  • Romanization: Ti kánete?
  • Translation: “How are you?” – Formal

Two Women Shaking Hands

In Greece, after meeting someone, it’s considered polite to say:

  • Greek: Χάρηκα για τη γνωριμία.
  • Romanization: Hárika ya ti gnorimía.
  • Translation: “Nice to meet you.”

To respond to this statement, you could say:

  • Greek: Κι εγώ!
  • Romanization: Ki ego!
  • Translation: “Me too!”
  • Greek: Παρομοίως!
  • Romanization: Paromíos!
  • Translation: “Likewise!”

When it comes to introducing yourself, the first step is to give your name. In Greek, there are two main ways to do this: giving only your first name (informal) or giving your first and last name (formal).

  • Greek: Με λένε ___ .
  • Romanization: Me léne ___ [Ónoma].
  • Translation: “I’m ___ [Name].” Literally: “They call me ___ [Name].”

You might also want to state your age, where you’re from, and what you do for a living.

  • Greek: Είμαι από ___ [Χώρα – Πόλη – Περιοχή].
  • Romanization: Íme apó ___ [Hóra – Póli – Periohí].
  • Translation: “I am from ___ [Country – City – Area].”
  • Greek: Είμαι ___ [Επάγγελμα].
  • Romanization: Íme ___ [Epángelma].
  • Translation: “I am ___ [Occupation].”
  • Greek: Είμαι ___ χρόνων.
  • Romanization: Íme ___ hrónon.
  • Translation: “I am ___ years old.”

➡️ Learn how to count in Greek and find your age in our dedicated article.

2. Courtesy Phrases & Social Expressions

In this section, we’ll explore all the essential Greek words and phrases for being polite and in line with Greek culture during your stay.

There are two ways to say “thank you,” which are:

  • Greek: Ευχαριστώ!
  • Romanization: Efraristó!
  • Translation: “Thanks!” – Informal/Formal
  • Greek: Σας ευχαριστώ!
  • Romanization: Sas echaristó!
  • Translation: “Thank you!” – Formal

And if you’re on the receiving end:

  • Greek: Παρακαλώ!
  • Romanization: Parakaló!
  • Translation: “You’re welcome!”

Someone Offering Flowers to a Woman

Everyone makes mistakes. There’s one word, though, that can really make a difference.

  • Greek: Συγγνώμη.
  • Romanization: Signomy.
  • Translation: “Sorry.” – Informal
  • Greek: Με συγχωρείτε.
  • Romanization: Me sinhorite.
  • Translation: “I am sorry.” – Formal

On the other hand, if someone says Συγγνώμη to you, feel free to respond as follows.

  • Greek: Δεν πειράζει.
  • Romanization: Den pirazi.
  • Translation: “It’s okay.”

➡️ For more life-saving phrases, check out our article How to Say Sorry in Greek.

When parting ways, it’s expected to say goodbye. Here’s how you can do this in Greek:

  • Greek: Τα λέμε!
  • Romanization: Ta léme!
  • Translation: “Talk to you later!”

And don’t forget to show your loved ones that you care about them by saying:

  • Greek: Να προσέχεις.
  • Romanization: Na prosehis.
  • Translation: “Take care.”

3. Dining and Shopping Phrases

A Couple Ordering at a Restaurant by Talking to a Waiter

Oh, Greek food and shopping therapy! What else could you ask for?

Although most restaurant and shop employees speak English fluently, they’ll always appreciate it if you try to blend in by using Greek.

Use the following phrases to order at a restaurant or shop at the local stores.

  • Greek: Συγγνώμη!
  • Romanization: Signomy!
  • Translation: “Excuse me!” (To get attention)

When it comes to ordering, the simplest way to ask for what you want is:

  • Greek: Μπορώ να έχω ___;
  • Romanization: Boró na ého ___?
  • Translation: “Can I get ___?”
  • Greek: Θα ήθελα ___.
  • Romanization: Tha íthela ___.
  • Translation: “I would like ___.”

Below, you’ll find some other useful Greek phrases you can use during shopping or dining out.

  • Greek: Πόσο κοστίζει;
  • Romanization: Póso kostízi?
  • Translation: “How much does it cost?”
  • Greek: Θα πληρώσω με μετρητά.
  • Romanization: Tha pliróso me metritá.
  • Translation: “I will pay in cash.”
  • Greek: Δέχεστε πιστωτική κάρτα;
  • Romanization: Déheste pistotikí kárta?
  • Translation: “Do you accept credit cards?”
  • Greek: Τον λογαριασμό, παρακαλώ.
  • Romanization: Ton logariazmó, parakaló.
  • Translation: “The bill, please.”
  • Greek: Τι ώρα κλείνετε;
  • Romanization: Ti óra klínete?
  • Translation: “What time do you close (your store)?”

4. Asking for Help

Greeks are usually very hospitable and happy to help. Therefore, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask them for help with something if you need it. We’ve listed below the most important phrases in Greek for beginners: those used to get help, ask questions, or work through the language barrier.

A Woman Holding a Map

  • Greek: Μπορώ να κάνω μια ερώτηση;
  • Romanization: Boró na káno mia erótisi?
  • Translation: “Can I ask a question?”
  • Greek: Μπορείτε να με βοηθήσετε;
  • Romanization: Boríte na me voithísete?
  • Translation: “Can you help me?”
  • Greek: Πού είναι ___;
  • Romanization: Pu íne ___?
  • Translation: “Where is ___?”
  • Greek: Μιλάτε αγγλικά;
  • Romanization: Miláte angliká?
  • Translation: “Do you speak English?”
  • Greek: Πώς λέμε ___ στα ελληνικά;
  • Romanization: Pos léme ___ sta eliniká?
  • Translation: “How do you say ___ in Greek?”
  • Greek: Μπορείτε να επαναλάβετε;
  • Romanization: Boríte na epanalávete?
  • Translation: “Can you repeat (that)?”
  • Greek: Πώς μπορώ να πάω ___;
  • Romanization: Pos boró na páo ___?
  • Translation: “How can I get to ___?”
  • Greek: Δεν καταλαβαίνω.
  • Romanization: Den katalavéno.
  • Translation: “I don’t understand.”

In case you need specialized help (eg, from a doctor), you can use the verb χρειάζομαι (hriazome) – “need” accompanied by the appropriate noun.

  • Greek: Χρειάζομαι βοήθεια.
  • Romanization: Hriázome voíthia.
  • Translation: “I need help.”
  • Greek: Χρειάζομαι έναν γιατρό.
  • Romanization: Hriázome énan yatró.
  • Translation: “I need a doctor.”

We hope that you won’t need this phrase, but here it is, just in case:

  • Greek: Καλέστε την αστυνομία.
  • Romanization: Kaléste tin astinomia.
  • Translation: “Call the police.”

5. How Can GreekPod101 Help You Master Greek?

In many cases, using Greek expressions as a foreigner can really make a difference when talking with native Greek speakers. When you use the Greek language, you take a step closer to your interlocutor and create a new bond. You actually show that you care about Greek culture and customs, and it becomes possible to get some inside tips and invaluable information even from strangers.

If you want to start learning Greek in a more structured way or expand your knowledge, then you’re in the right place. GreekPod101 offers you the opportunity to learn Greek easily from the comfort of your home.

At GreekPod101.com, you can find a wide variety of educational materials designed for effective learning. And the best part? You can create a free lifetime account today and start learning Greek in a fun yet consistent way.

Our website offers practical tips and advice, aiming to teach you Greek, just like the locals use it. Tons of free vocabulary lists, YouTube videos, and grammar tips are waiting for you to discover.

Practice makes perfect, so what are you waiting for? Begin today with our Level 1 Greek lesson!

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If you have any questions or need some help, please feel free to leave a comment below. We’d be happy to help!

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