Easy English Speaking

How to Answer “How Are You?” + 9 Interesting Ways to Ask It

How to Answer "How Are You?" + 9 Interesting Ways to Ask It

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:

  1. How to ask “How are you?” in different ways
  2. How to answer “How are you?” in a creative way

Free test - Gymglish with Clark and Miller

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?" in different ways: How's everything? How's it going? How are things? What's up? How are you doing? What's new? You 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 ask "How are you?" in different ways (formal): 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.”

How to answer "How are you?" Alternatives to "I'm fine": I'm good! Pretty good! I'm 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.

How to answer "How are you?" Alternatives to "So-so": I'm OK. Not too bad. Same old, same old. Yeah, all right. I'm alive!

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.


Want more? Get a free month of Gymglish, a daily English workout with a fun, engaging narrative and personalised corrections. Get it here.

16 thoughts on “How to Answer “How Are You?” + 9 Interesting Ways to Ask It

    1. 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.”

    1. Good question.

      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?

  1. 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!

  2. “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.

    1. 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).

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