DON’T say ‘HOW ARE YOU?’ | 26 Different Ways To Ask The Question (With Example Answers)

Lesson summary

Do you always say 'How are you?' In this English lesson you will learn 26 different ways to say 'How are you' and common answers to these phrases.

Video transcript

‘How are you’ is probably one of the first phrases that you learned in English, right? Well in today’s video, I am going to show you 26 different phrases that you can use to say ‘How are you?’ I will also show you common answers to each phrase.

 

I will show you some informal phrases which you can use with friends and family. I will show you some formal phrases which you can use at work or in business emails. And finally, I will show you some slang ways which are very interesting.

 

Alright, are you ready? Let’s get started and look at some informal phrases, first.

 

Phrase #1

The first phrase is ‘How is it going?’ I know this phrase says ‘How is IT going’ but this phrase just means ‘How are you?’ Some common answers could be ‘I’m going well’ or a lot of people just say ‘I’m good.’ But please don’t say ‘I’m going good’ because this is grammatically incorrect.

 

Phrase #2

The next phrase is ‘How are you going?’ This is very similar to the last phrase but we’ve just changed ‘it’ to ‘you’. So the common answers are the same as before. You can say ‘I’m going well’ or many people just say ‘I’m good, thanks.’

 

Phrase #3

The next phrase is ‘What’s new?’ This just means do you have any updates? Has anything happened in your life which I don’t know about? If you want to say ‘no’, you’ve got no updates, you can just say ‘Nothing much, same same.’ But if you want to say that something has happened, you can say ‘I’ and then say what has happened. For example, you could say ‘I just got a new job last week.’

 

Phrase #4

The next phrase you’ve probably heard many times. It’s ‘What’s up?’ What’s up? This phrase just means what is going on? What is happening? What are you doing?

 

This is a really great phrase to start a conversation with someone in an informal way. Most people when they answer this, they normally just say ‘Nothing much’ and then they say what they are doing or what they have just finished doing.

 

For example, you can say ‘Nothing much, I just finished work’ or ‘Nothing much, I’m just going to the gym.’ If someone asks you ‘What’s up’, please don’t say ‘I’m good.’ It’s wrong.

 

Phrase #5

The next phrase is ‘How are things?’ This just means how is everything in your life? Some common answers are ‘Everything’s going well’ or ‘Things are good.’

 

Phrase #6

The next phrase is ‘How is life?’ This is a phrase we use when we really want to know about someone’s life. Maybe we want to know if their work is okay. Maybe we want to know if their love life is okay. Now a common answer to this question is ‘It’s good’ and then you give more detail. For example, if you said to me ‘Shane, how’s life’, I would say ‘Yeah it’s good – I’ve just been busy making lots of YouTube videos.’

 

Phrase #7

Number seven is ‘What’s happening?’ What’s happening? This can mean what’s going on or what are you doing? This question is normally talking about right now. Some common answers to this phrase are just saying ‘Not much’ or ‘Not a lot.’ But if you want to give more detail, you can add something after you say ‘Not much’ or ‘Not a lot.’ For example, if you asked me ‘What’s going on’, I would say ‘Not much, I’m just making some YouTube videos.’

 

Phrase #8

The next phrase is ‘What’s been happening?’ This phrase is similar to the last phrase but in this phrase we said ‘been happening’. ‘Been happening’ is talking about recently. Maybe in the past week or maybe in the past month, have you done anything exciting or anything interesting?

 

Some common answers to this phrase are ‘Not much’ or ‘Not a lot.’ But if there is something that you’ve done recently that you want to share, you can say what that is. For example, you could say, ‘Last month I got a new job’ or ‘Last week I just got back from China.’

 

Phrase #9

The next phrase is ‘How are you doing?’ Some common answers to this one are ‘I’m doing well’ or ‘I’m good.’ Please don’t say ‘I’m doing good’ because this is grammatically incorrect.

 

Phrase #10

The tenth phrase is ‘How are things going?’ This means how is everything in your life? How is work? How is your girlfriend? How is your boyfriend? How are your hobbies? A common answer to this one could be ‘Pretty good. I’ve just been busy at work.’

 

Phrase #11

Number eleven is ‘What’s going on?’ This means what is happening? Is there anything exciting or interesting happening right now? So if you asked me this question, I would say, ‘Not much, I’m just filming this YouTube video.’ Please remember, if someone asks you this question, don’t say ‘I’m good.’ It’s wrong.

 

Phrase #12

Number twelve is ‘What’s been going on?’ This is similar to the last question but again, we’ve used the word ‘been’. That means we’re talking about recently. Maybe in the past week. Maybe in the past month.

 

The most common answers are just ‘Not much’ or ‘Not a lot.’ But if you have been doing something interesting, you can say what that is. For example, you could say, ‘I’ve been really busy going to the gym five days a week.’

 

Phrase #13

The next phrase is ‘How have you been?’ Again, this phrase is talking about recently. Maybe in the past week or in the past month. This question is not talking about right now. Some common answers are ‘I’ve been good’ or ‘I’ve been busy.’

 

Phrase #14

Phrase number fourteen is ‘What are you up to?’ This means what are you doing right now? Most people just say ‘Not much’ or ‘Nothing much’ but if you asked me, I would say ‘I’m just filming this YouTube video.’ If someone asks you this, please don’t say ‘I’m good.’ It’s wrong.

 

Phrase #15

Phrase number fifteen is ‘What have you been up to?’ Again, this is talking about recently – in the past week, in the past month. Have you done anything exciting or interesting or different? Many people just answer this question by saying ‘Not much’ or ‘Not a lot’ but again, if you have done something interesting or exciting recently, you can tell the person who asked you.

 

Phrase #16

The next phrase is ‘How has your day been?’ This question is asking about today. So some common answers could be ‘It’s been busy’ or ‘It’s been good.’

 

Phrase #17

The next phrase is ‘How is everything?’ This question means exactly what it says. How is everything in your life? Some common answers could be ‘It’s good’ or if it’s not good, you can say ‘It’s not too good.’

 

Phrase #18

The next phrase is ‘Alright?’ Alright? Note here how the intonation or the pitch goes up at the end. This is a very informal greeting normally used in British English. It’s not really used in American English. To answer this, you can say ‘Alright’ back to the person or you can just say ‘Yeah good thanks.’

 

Phrase #19

The next phrase is ‘How are you holding up?’ We use this phrase when we know that something not very good has happened to someone recently. For example, let’s pretend your friend broke up with her boyfriend one week ago and you know she’s feeling quite sad. You can ask her ‘How are you holding up?’

 

This is asking her are you okay with what happened? So if she is okay, she’ll say ‘Yeah, I’m okay’ but if she’s not okay, she will probably say something like ‘I’m not too good.’

 

Phrase #20

The last informal phrase is ‘How are things coming along?’ We normally use this phrase if we know that someone has been doing something or trying to do something. Let’s pretend your friend is trying to start a business and you know he’s very busy, you can ask him, ‘How are things coming along?’ And he will either say ‘Really well’ or he might say ‘I’m having many problems.’

 

Phrase #21

Now let’s look at some formal phrases. The first phrase is ‘Are you well?’ Are you well? In my opinion, this is the best phrase to use in a very formal situation.

 

Now to answer this question, most people will normally say ‘I’m very well, thank you’ or ‘I’m very well, thanks.’ Most people would never say ‘I’m not well.’ So if someone asks you this, just say ‘I’m very well, thank you.’

 

Phrase #22

The next phrase is ‘How are you keeping?’ We normally use this phrase if we’ve seen the person before. We normally wouldn’t use this phrase if we’ve never met the person before. Now please note that this phrase is sort of old-fashioned and it’s not really used any more. Now some common answers to this question could just be ‘I’m doing well’ or ‘I’m good, thank you.’

 

Phrase #23

The next and the final formal phrase is ‘How do you do?’ How do you do? This phrase is very very very very formal and it’s not really used any more. Some common answers to this question could be ‘I’m good, thank you’ or sometimes you can just say ‘How do you do’ back to the person.

 

Phrase #24

Now let’s look at some slang ways to say ‘How are you?’ Please note that these phrases are very informal and they should not be used in formal situations.

 

The first phrase is ‘Sup?’ Sup? ‘Sup’ just means what’s up? It’s a short way to say ‘What’s up?’ This phrase is normally used in American English between young males. Now to answer this question, you can just say ‘Sup’ back to the person or you can just say ‘Nothing much’ or ‘Not a lot.’

 

Phrase #25

The next phrase is ‘What’s cracking?’ This is a very slang way to say ‘What’s happening?’ So the common answers to ‘What’s cracking’ are the same as the answers to ‘What’s happening?’ So you can say ‘Not much’ or ‘Not a lot’ or if you’re doing something, you can say what you’re doing. For example, you could say, ‘I’m just getting ready for work.’

 

Phrase #26

And the third and final slang phrase is ‘What’s popping?’ What’s popping? This has the same meaning as the previous phrase and as the phrase ‘What’s happening?’ So the common answers are exactly the same.

 

Conclusion

Now you know 26 different ways to say ‘How are you’ in English. Please note that with the common answers that I showed you in today’s video number one: you can always add more detail.

 

Number two: you can always ask the person how they are back simply by adding the word ‘Yourself?’ Asking someone how they are back is very polite. For example, if you say ‘Shane, how are you doing’, I would say ‘I’m doing well, yourself?’

 

On the screen now, you will see a summary of all the 26 different phrases you can use to say ‘How are you?’ Take a screenshot and save it to your computer or phone.

 

And make sure you subscribe to the channel and hit the like button right now. And if you haven’t checked out our English pronunciation course, check it out right now because in this course, you will learn how to pronounce every sound of English like a native speaker.

 

For more English, go to our website at englishunderstood.com where we have eBooks on grammar, tenses and vocabulary. Follow us on Instagram if you’re not following us already and we will see you in the next video.

 

Maybe we want to know about their work. This question is similar to the last, ah.

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