Did someone tell you that it was ‘nice talking to you’ and you’re wondering what it means?
In this article, we’ll look at the definition, history, and examples of this phrase, along with some synonymous expressions. In short, though, ‘nice talking to you’ is a polite way to end a conversation and can also be used when you are reconnecting with someone you spoke to recently.
‘Nice talking to you’ is a polite phrase you can use when you have been talking with a person and are leaving the conversation. The implication is that you’ve had a nice time conversing with the other person while also saying goodbye at the same time.
There are several variations of this phrase, including:
A similar structure is found in other polite ways to say goodbye, including:
If you run into someone you know and need a polite way to move on with your day, you could say:
If you’re meeting someone for the first time and you are looking for a way to say goodbye, you can say:
‘Nice talking to you’ can also be used as a phrase when you are reconnecting with someone that you spoke with earlier. For example, let’s say that you ran into a friend at the grocery store, and you chatted for a while. At the end of the conversation, you told her that you would send her a recipe you told her about.
When you send her an email later on with the recipe attached, you might include a note that says something like “it was ‘nice talking to you’ earlier! Here’s that recipe I told you about; I hope you like it!”
The specific origin of ‘nice talking to you’ is difficult to trace, but we can gather some clues using the Google Books Ngram Viewer. Using this tool, we see that the phrase ‘nice talking to you’ doesn’t seem to appear in any publications between 1800 and 1905.
Usage starts to increase starting around the early 1930s and became increasingly popular until about 2012. Since then, it has become slightly less popular, at least in printed publications.
An example of the phrase being used during the mid-20th century appears in the Federal Communications Commission Reports from the first half of 1963:
“That is all, Paul. We better jump off here, old man. We’ll be talking to you later. Nice talking to you over there and I’ll talk to you again in the very near future.”
The phrase was quite clearly in common use in the late 1940s, as it is casually used in a Congressional Hearing from 1948:
“It was short. He said, ‘Thank you for your contribution’ – ‘It was nice talking to you on the phone. ‘Thank you for your contribution,’ and that is about all I recall of it. I imagine there was some more on it, but I don’t recall it.”
The following is an example of ‘nice talking to you’ being used as a way to refer to a previous and recent conversation. This is an excerpt from a 1966 letter between Norbert Bussman and Thomas Curtis.
“Dear Tom: It was nice talking to you this morning. I want to say again that we certainly appreciate your being in Washington for the sound thinking and constructive criticism and action you have brought to the Congress.”
How would you use the phrase ‘nice talking to you’ in a sentence? Let’s look at some examples:
What are some other words and phrases that have a similar meaning to 'nice talking to you'?
Here are some options:
‘Nice talking to you’ is a polite way to let someone know that you appreciate the conversation you’ve been having, but it’s time for you to leave. This is a good transitional statement that you can use when it’s time for you to stop participating in the conversation, but you don’t want to be rude.
You can also use ‘nice talking to you’ when you are reconnecting with someone you spoke with earlier. For example, if you are following up with the owner of a company that you had an interview with, you might start the email by saying something along the lines of “it was so nice talking to you earlier.”
As with many phrases, you do have to be careful with your tone when using ‘nice talking to you.’ If you’ve had a difficult conversation or your tone sounds sarcastic or disingenuous, it could imply that you actually didn’t have a nice time talking to the person.
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