彼に別れを告げた。

English Translation

I took leave of him.

Would “I said goodbye to him” also be an acceptable translation?

@ericaw
別れを告げる is not a day-to-day action. It sounds more serious than “to say goodbye” because 告げる means “to inform someone of a decision/fact”. 別れを告げる has a sentimental connotation and can be used when you:

  • send a Dear John letter (i.e. to break up with a lover)
  • leave your family or significant others in order to fulfill your mission somewhere far from your current location
  • break off a business partnership

The only exception you can use 別れを告げる as “to say goodbye” (not in a serious way) is in a hard-boiled novel.

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