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

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.

69 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).

  3. 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. .

    1. Good questions!

      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! 🙂

  4. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
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  5. Oh cool! This is interesting. I have been learning English for many year. You are on my bookmark now. : ).

  6. Thanks. your website is amazing. i have learnt so many different ways to say” how are you”. it helps me a lot.

      1. Hi Swati,

        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. 🙂

  7. I hope you are still keeping well in these difficult times.

    What should be the formal reply to this when asked by your client?

  8. “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

    1. Oh, totally!

      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! 😀

    1. 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)
      4. Blessed!

      1. 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 ??

  9. 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.

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