Dag vs Doei vs Tot Ziens
Can someone discuss the differences between these? Is one more formal than the other? Equivalent of bye vs good bye?
"dag" is very commonly used for saying "goodbye" and is also used as a casual greeting.
"doei" is pretty informal and can only be used as a way of saying "bye"; it's not a greeting.
"tot ziens" is used to say goodbye. It's the most formal of the three and is often used in official situations (within a company, in a store, on the street) and with strangers, but you can safely use it with anyone.
And you also have tot zo and tot zometeen, which fall in the tot straks category.
A funny one is tot het nog een keer past (usually in the tot gauw category, but can also mean you won't see each other for a few weeks at least), it literally means until it suits again.
Tot morgen is a very common one when leaving the office, school (or some other daily coming together). You only say it when you indeed expect to see somebody tomorrow. Similar ones are tot Maandag, tot volgend jaar, tot vanavond, tot over een paar weken.
Hmmm, I really don't agree on using "tot ziens" as a general think to say goodbye and also not that it's mostly used in official situations. I use it a lot in informal situations as well, more to say something like "see you later" which is a much better translation than just "goodbye", since "goodbye" doesn't fully cover the meaning of "tot ziens".
I’m dutch and I will try to explain the meanings how I experience them in my life.
Ways to greet:
‘’Hoi’’: an informal way to say hi (just like hi is) and almost everyone uses this in daily life. Some people like to say ‘hoihoi’ but officially it is hoi.
‘’Hallo’’: can also be used, exactly the same as ‘hello’ in English. But ‘hoi’ is more common and easy to say than ‘hallo’.
‘’Dag’’ can be used for saying goodbye and hi. Mostly used by elderly people. It sounds a little too decent to me.
Ways to say goodbye:
‘’Doei’’: an informal way to say bye (just like bye in English), mostly used by children and teenagers. Adults use it too.
‘’Tot ziens’’: a more formal way to say goodbye. If you would translate it litterally it would say ‘until I see you again!’. You will hear adults say it the most. But some people will also use it in informal situations. It depends on the preference of some people.
(Somebody also mentioned ‘’tot morgen’’) ‘’Tot morgen’’: means ‘see you tomorrow’. It is used when you will see the person again the next day. Used by everyone.
‘’Tot gauw/tot snel’’ are also forms of saying ‘see you soon’ but are not really common anymore. I suggest you don’t use it.
Ways to say bye for a little while:
‘’Tot zo’’: literally it would mean ‘until soon’ but in English you say ‘see you in a bit’. When you say ‘tot zo’ you are saying that you will be meeting the person in (for example) half an hour.
‘’Tot straks’’: means exactly the same but to me it sounds more decent/formal.
I personally always use ‘’hoi’’ as a greet and ‘’doei’’ or ‘’tot morgen’’ as a goodbye. To friends, parents, teachers, almost everyone. When I greet elderly people, I tend to say ‘’hallo’’ instead of ‘hoi’, because then I think I’ll appear more respectful to the elderly.