Greek expressions: “See you” – Τα λέμε…θα τα πούμε..!

See you soon

When you visit Greece or you are spending time with Greeks, there are some daily expressions you hear all the time. “See you” or “τα λέμε”, is of course one of them. They are very easy to learn, but sometimes they are confusing! During the Greek courses at Omilo, students learn many of those expressions and use them on a daily basis. Here below we explain three expressions you hear or you can use several times a day.
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So, imagine you meet up with your lovely Greek friend(s), you all have a great time, you kiss them goodbye and you are about to say ‘See you’ in Greek. Without doubt you remember the verb ‘βλέπω’ (= to see, to watch) and its Future Simple form ‘θα δω’.
So you confidently say ‘Θα δούμε!’ … and you instantly ruin the image of the excellent Greek language learner!

Greeks actually “talk” all the time and “speak daily over the phone”, so in order to say ‘See you’ in Greek, they actually say “talk to you”!
Therefore you need to use the verb ‘λέω’ (= to say, to tell) in Present, first person plural, i.e. ‘Τα λέμε!’ [= ‘Talk/Speak to you (soon)’]

Sample sentences:

Τα λέμε μετά/αργότερα! (= See you later!)

Τα λέμε αύριο! (= See you tomorrow!)

Τα λέμε την άλλη εβδομάδα!(= See you next week!)

In case you mention when it will be the next time you are meeting up with somebody, you can also use the Future Simple form, e.g.

Τα λέμε μεθαύριο! OR  Θα τα πούμε μεθαύριο!(= See you the day after tomorrow!)

Τα λέμε το Σάββατο! OR  Θα τα πούμε το Σάββατο!(= See you on Saturday!)

Λοιπόν, τα λέμε απόψε στις 8 στο σπίτι μου! Εντάξει;   OR
Λοιπόν, θα τα πούμε απόψε στις 8 στο σπίτι μου! Εντάξει;
[= So, see you tonight at 8 at my place! Ok?! (you have already arranged to meet your friends at your place and by saying this you kind of confirm your meeting)]

Ελεονόρα Ζουγανέλη

‘Τα λέμε!’ is also the title of a wonderful song performed by Ελεονόρα Ζουγανέλη, a great female artist, representative of the new generation of Greek singers. The song is about a guy who instead of saying directly to his girlfriend that he wants to break up with her, he prefers to tell her ‘Τα λέμε!’ and disappear! The girl realizes he is lying…

Finally, it’s worth mentioning the parting salutation ‘Εις το επανιδείν’ [= (literally: to the seeing again) Until we see each other again].
It comes from the ancient Greek verb ‘ὁράω’ or ‘ὁρῶ’ -the modern ‘βλέπω’– and it’s the Greek equivalent of the French ‘Au revoir!’ or the German ‘Auf Wiedersehen!’ etc.
However this is a very formal and rather old-fashioned expression used mostly as a farewell phrase by people who know that it will be a very long time before they meet again, most probably because they live far from each other.

‘θα δούμε’ (= we will see/ we will think about it)

So, now you are probably wondering in which context we would say ‘θα δούμε’
(Future Simple form of ‘βλέπω’, first person plural),
here are two examples:

a) literally to see, to watch:

Απόψε θα μείνουμε στο σπίτι και θα δούμε μία ταινία στην τηλεόραση
(= Tonight we will stay in and we will watch a film on TV)

b) to think about something and make a decision, e.g.:

A child is asking his parents: ‘Θα πάμε στο σινεμά απόψε;’ (= Are we going to the movies tonight?);
his parents are not sure if they will (or they even want to avoid the discussion), so they reply: ‘Θα δούμε’ (= we will think about it and decide).
In a lot of situations in Greece you will never get a “yes” or “no” answer, but a “θα δούμε” answer! “We will see…”!

Just to avoid confusion, let’s see how we conjugate the verbs in three basic tenses:

Λέω  (= to say, to tell) 

  Present Future Simple Past Simple
εγώ λέω θα πω είπα
εσύ λες θα πεις είπες
αυτός, αυτή, αυτό λέει θα πει είπε
εμείς λέμε θα πούμε είπαμε
εσείς λέτε θα πείτε είπατε
αυτοί, αυτές, αυτά λένε θα πουν(ε) είπαν(ε)

Βλέπω (= to see, to watch)

  Present Future Simple Past Simple
εγώ βλέπω θα δω είδα
εσύ βλέπεις θα δεις είδες
αυτός, αυτή, αυτό βλέπει θα δει είδε
εμείς βλέπουμε θα δούμε είδαμε
εσείς βλέπετε θα δείτε είδατε
αυτοί, αυτές, αυτά βλέπουν(ε) θα δουν(ε) είδαν(ε)


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