When you visit Greece or you are spending time with Greeks, there are some daily expressions you hear all the time. It is useful to learn them by heart.
In this article we will teach you the very popular expressions: “See you” and “We will see”. Since the expressions sound a bit similar, foreigners many times get confused and end up saying those expressions at the wrong time.
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. So by trying to translate “See you”, many non-Greeks say ‘Θα δούμε!’ … and you instantly ruin the image of the excellent Greek language learner! Do not worry; most Greeks will understand what you actually wanted to say!
However, it is also really easy to learn to say the expressions correctly.
More inf below – Enjoy your lesson! Καλό μάθημα!
1) “See you” = Ta leme – Τα λέμε
Greeks actually “talk” all the time, arrange to get together, or “speak daily over the phone”. When they finish a conversation and they want to conclude with ‘See you’ or “Bye, see you soon”, they actually say “talk to you”! Therefore you do NOT need the verb “to see”, but actually the verb “to talk”! ‘λέω’ (= to say, to tell) . For this expression, you just have to conjugate that verb in the present tense, the “we-form” = “leme” λέμε!’ [= ‘we talk/ we speak’] And you just add the “ta” in front of the verb!
Τα λέμε μετά/αργότερα! [ta leme meta/argotera] (= See you later! or “talk to you later”)
Τα λέμε αύριο! [ta leme avrio] (= See you tomorrow! Or “talk to you tomorrow”)
A Greek song: “Ta leme”!
‘Τα λέμε!’ is also the title of a wonderful song performed by “Eleonora Zouganeli”, a great female artist 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…
2) “See you” = Tha ta poume – Θα τα πούμε
“Tha ta poume” is another way to say “See you (soon)”, and has exactly the same meaning as “Ta leme”, explained here above! So why does it sound so different? Well, you actually just use the same verb, but this time in the future tense! So instead of “We talk”, you now say “We will talk”! Since it is an irregular verb, it really sounds different in the future tense, and it explains also the confusion with the expression here below. Do not forget, in this case, you always have to add the “ta” as well, which represents: talk “about things””. Θα τα πούμε την Τρίτη! [tha ta poome teen treetee] See you on Tuesday (or “talk to you” on Tuesday)
3) “We will see” = Tha doume – θα δούμε
As mentioned in the introduction, this expression comes from the verb βλέπω – “vlepo” (to see) and here it is used its future form “ tha doume” (we will see). By now you know that you can end a conversation with your friends by using “ta leme”, or “tha ta poume”, but for sure not by “tha doume”! So, in which context you could say “tha doume”?
a) You can use the verb literally, so in the meaning of “ to see, to watch” Απόψε θα δούμε μία ταινία στην τηλεόραση [teelayorasee] (= Tonight we will watch a film on TV). Of course this is a normal verb and you can also use it for every person, so not only in the “we form”. The conjugation of the verb is given in the free handout.
b) It can also mean: to think about something…. Actually, it has the same meaning as in English “We will see..”, i.e. “we will think about it!”, OR “we wait and see what will happen”.
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/ we will see…)
Important note: In a lot of situations in Greece, when you ask something specific, you will never get a “yes” or “no” answer, but a “θα δούμε” answer! “We will see…”! Just get used to it!
(By the way, after two years of a covid pandemic, it seems most nations now got used to plan many things last moment…and the «tha doume» answer, became international!)
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If you want to get more examples, useful phrases, extra vocabulary going along with these expressions as well as a little grammar about the two verbs “to talk” and “to see”, you can click on the link below and download our free eBook.