Q&A Tuesday*: Why Do We Say “BYE BYE” but Not “HELLO HELLO” or “Hey Hey?”

Bye Bye

Today on Q&A Tuesday, we will dive into the linguistic minefield posed by ASMs’ extremely extremely erudite question.  ASMs asks:

Question: “Mr. Milkshake, why do we say “BYE BYE,” but never do I hear someone say “HELLO HELLO” or “HEY HEY?” Who made the rule that the word “BYE” can be said twice?”


ASMs, thank you for this frighting stunner of a question. As they say in the Olympics, this one has a degree of difficulty of 10.

As to the why of “BYE BYE” but not “HELLO HELLO” or “HEY HEY”, I am tempted to answer with a simple “Because” or better yet, “Because Because.”

But that would indeed be a cop-out.  And sadly (or not so sadly), the Internet doesn’t give us a place to start so the Smiles For All community is on its own on this one, just where I like it.

ASMs, what I can tell you is that, I haven’t heard it often, but I HAVE heard people say “HELLO HELLO.”  When I hear it though, the second “HELLO” is usually longer than the first one, so they really aren’t identical.

And, I have also heard “HEY HEY.”  I think “HEY HEY” is general friendly, whereas “Hey” is not often so friendly sounding, even if said simply to get somebody’s attention.  I have found “Hey” a tough word to get tonally correct so that it has a nice or neutral sound to it.  Besides, what truly does “HEY” even mean?

But you are right ASMs, we say “BYE BYE” much more frequently.  And I’ve decided the reason for this goes all the way back to when we were babies.

“BYE BYE” is easy enough to say, understand, and repeat.  It is two (2) syllables.  And the two syllables rhyme.  Try it out right now.  Grab a friend or family member right now, say it back, and forth to each other, and you’ll see what I mean.  So it is a favorite go to for moms, dads, and babies alike from the get-go.  Since it is deeply ingrained in us from day 1, I for one am not surprised it stays with us.  (By the way, I have no idea what I’m talking about here.)

“HELLO HELLO” is long and hard to say, even for grown-ups yet alone babies or young children.  It is four (4) syllables and complicated.  Again, grab a friend or family member right now, say it back, and forth to each other, and you’ll see what I mean.  So if you ask me, one “HELLO” is more than enough.  And so we’re trained with one “HELLO” from the beginning.

As for “HEY HEY,” well, I don’t think “HEY” has specific enough meaning to rank being said twice.  I am not even sure we should even use it once given that we usually have no idea what is meant when it is said.  Therefore, I throw out for everybody to consider that using it twice just doubles the confusion.  Therefore, one “HEY” is the norm from way back when.

As to who made the law ASMs, I have no idea.  And I think it is a bad law.  I hereby, pending the confirmation of the Smiles For All community, declare a new law: The Say Any Word In A Row As Often As You Want Law.”

The law proclaims and I advise everybody to follow it often: “Any person or persons for any purpose or purposes whatsoever may at any time repeat repeat any word as often as he or she would like like.”

Thanks again ASMs.

(Photo © Tintin75 | Dreamstime.com – Bye Bye Photo)


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