Today I’m going to show you some more creative ways to ask and answer “How are you?” in English. You’ll also like 28 Phrases to Feel Comfortable in English Conversations.
“How are you?”
“I’m fine, thank you.”
Do you find yourself saying these phrases again and again?
Let’s look at:
- How to ask “How are you?” in different ways
- How to answer “How are you?” in a creative way
How to ask “How are you?”
There are a lot of different ways of asking “How are you?”
But be careful! Some of these phrases don’t work if you’re in a formal situation, like talking to your boss or the Queen of Sweden.
So we’re going to look at two situations: informal and formal.
How to ask “How are you?” (informal)
- How’s everything?
- How’s it going?
- How are things?
- What’s up? — Around the year 2001, everyone, everywhere was saying this — thanks to this ad.
- How are you doing?
- What’s new? — This one is more common in American English, but because the whole world is becoming more and more Americanised, you’ll hear this in the UK, too.
- You all right? — This one is very, very British. In fact, if you say this to someone outside the UK, they might just look at you strangely. It’s also shortened to “All right?”
How to ask “How are you?” (formal or informal)
What about if you’re talking to your boss or the queen of Sweden?
In these situations, you might want to keep it relatively formal.
(These phrases are also OK in informal situations.)
- How have you been?
- How are things going?
- Are you well?
How to answer “How are you?”
Now, when someone asks “How are you?” (or “How’s it going?” or “Wassup?”), the classic response is “I’m fine, thanks.”
That was, like, our first ever English lesson, right?
But this can sound a little boring and dry.
So let’s mix it up a little!
Alternatives to “I’m fine”
- I’m good. — You can shorten this to “good” if you’re feeling relaxed. Or lazy. Although it’s used a lot in modern English, some people still consider this phrase (as an answer to “How are you?”) grammatically incorrect.
- Pretty good — This was actually the catchphrase of a popular American comedian. You can hear him say it in this clip. A lot. (Warning: you might want to hit him by the end of the clip. Prepare yourself.)
- I’m well. — Like with “I’m good,” you can shorten this to “well.”
Alternatives to “So-so”
But sometimes you don’t feel fine. Or well, or good. Sometimes you want to say that things are just … OK.
There’s also a classic response in this situation: “So-so.”
But again, it can sound a little boring or unimaginative.
So let’s look at some other responses:
- I’m OK.
- Not too bad.
- Same old, same old.
- Yeah, all right.
- I’m alive! — This one is a bit of a joke but can be fun in the right situation.
OK, so now you know some more interesting ways to ask and answer “How are you?”
For more useful English phrases you can use right away, check out 28 Phrases to Feel Comfortable in English Conversations.
Thanks for the information. it’s really good for me. please keep sending English lessons.
Thanks for the positive feedback Piyush. And yes, I always will! 🙂
THANK YOU SO MUCH !,for teaching me how to speak and answer well❤❤❤
So very interesting indeed
I’m motivated to this lecture
How are you answer say Dieferent style
i am english aswell… if you need assistance feel free to email
A new “how are you” phrase in ” what’s happening?
Sad but true :))
A new way of saying “how are you” inn America. “What’s happening?”
Sad but true 🙂
Good one! I’d missed that one.
Sad? Is that because it sort of doesn’t make sense? 🙂
I’d also forgotten “How’s it hanging?”
I’d forget: I’m Alive!
Thanks a lot for this article!
And what about “never better”? When is it correct to use it as a response?
Oh yeah! That’s another awesome on I’d forgotten about.
I’d say “Never better!” is a positive, upbeat way of saying “Really well.” Probably stronger than just “I’m fine.”
How bout never been better
Thanks for the explanation, Gabriel!
And can “never better” be used in a sarcastic way?
Yes, definitely. You can be sitting on a square-metre island surrounded by alligators, sharks and psychopaths. Saying “never better” to the question “how are you?” in this situation would be a reasonable sarcastic response. I mean, why did they ask how you were?
Brilliant! That’s what I meant – the situation you described 🙂
Many thanks to you, as usual!
I love this. These sound so much more natural. I also love that you let non-native speakers know it’s ok to say things that are not exactly grammatically correct: “I’m good.” Since that’s what native speakers do!
Absolutely! We break the rules all the time, so why shouldn’t they?
Glad you liked it!
Not to shabby
“That was, like, our first ever English lesson, right?”
Yes, and last. That kind of use of “like” makes you sound like a complete imbecile (sorry Americans, but you know it’s true). And you are a language teacher! Yikes. Please stop.
Haha! Good point but …
There are a lot of blogs and resources out there teaching English how it “should” be spoken, but that’s not what this blog is for.
My aim for this blog is to help learners understand and use (if they choose) the sort of English that’s really out there, including informal English. In short, I’m a descriptivist, not a prescriptivist.
Sure — some people don’t like the use of “like” like that, but it’s used a lot, including by myself (an English teacher from England — not America).
I’m glad you found it useful. 🙂
If we are in a shaby condition and some one ask how are you? Then what we say
The other thing is i want someone number so in polite what we say? And someo say no im not giving you then what we say ??
and by the way.
Your webside is very good
Please tell me about conversation. .
OK — one by one:
1. If I’m not feeling great, and someone asks how I am, I might say something like, “Could be better.”
2. When you want to ask someone to give you something and you feel you need to be polite, it’s always a good idea to “soften” the sentence — I like the phrase: “Would it be OK if I got your number?”
3. If they don’t want to give it to you, then there’s not much you can do, right? I usually say something like, “Fair enough.”
Thanks for the positive feedback! 🙂
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Oh cool! This is interesting. I have been learning English for many year. You are on my bookmark now. : ).
That’s great to hear, Beam.
And welcome to the gang! 😀
Thanks. your website is amazing. i have learnt so many different ways to say” how are you”. it helps me a lot.
Can i also use “It’s going well” to answer the question “How are you”?
Good question. I’d say that you could, but it would be a little strange. When I hear “It’s going well,” it feels like you’re referring to something specific — like a course you’re taking or a a game your playing.
So I’d avoid it. 🙂
Thanks a lot.
what about ” i’m great” as an answer to the question “how are you?”
Yes! A good answer and one that I use often.
Thanks u r a great teacher…
Give the important answer
I hope you are still keeping well in these difficult times.
What should be the formal reply to this when asked by your client?
I’d go for something like.
“Thank you for your kind wishes. I hope you’re keeping well, too.”
Hope that helps!
“You all right?” is not british, its common in the states too, it might just mean something different. If you ask someone that here its because you think they’re struggling with something, it implies that they might not be alright
What I meant to say was that “You all right?” to mean “How’s it going?” is rather British and I haven’t seen it used like that elsewhere.
I remember going to Australia and having to force myself not to say “All right?” when passing people by. When I failed to stop myself and actually said it, I got some strange looks! 😀
How about a reply like vertical and breathing?
That’s a good one 😀
Some i hear and use are:
1. Hunky Dory.
2. Finer that Frogs hair (This means you are very fine…)
3. Living the life! (Can be authentic or sarcastic)
I really like the video how to answer the annoying invasive opening from a stranger of “How are You?”
Instead of answering “Not your f–ing business!”:
Ha ha! Larry David’s most famous catch phrase.
While I was watching Curb Your Enthusiasm, I’d use it all the time. Even drove myself crazy! 😀
I like ‘living the dream’ or ‘keeping on keeping on’..
“Living the dream” is great fun! 🙂
You are the Fantastic teacher which I want in my 10th standard, still I found now, that is amazing ways to say how are you? and also answered of how are you? Thank you so much! But still I’m founding ??
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Thank you for the blog!
I used to answer “how are you” by “good” followed by what I did recently (the extent of “recently” depends on how often do I see this person). Is that weird? (I was afraid of silence after the routine greetings.)
Now I am actually afraid of answering “how are you”… (sad) I’ll try to reply by “Good. how are you?” from now.
very nice put up, i definitely love this web site, keep on it
Can i also use “It’s going well” to answer the question “How are you”?
Thanks a lot!
This article was good.
Special thanks I love this article and it helps me a lot