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  • Writer's pictureAlev

Great Greetings...and What NOT to Say

How many of you remember your high school English classes?

The teacher would come in and ask “How are you?” The students’ answer – “I’m fine, and you?” Although not wrong, it’s not really how any British person would answer this question.

In fact, if a British person answers this question with “I’m fine”. you know they are not, actually, fine

Greetings are a basic way to welcome someone and express how you are feeling in the moment. However, when someone asks how you are, they are not asking for your life story.

A quick response is best and it doesn’t matter how your day has been. You can save the details for later if they are interested!

So, if you would like to greet someone like a true native, here are a variety of ways to change the boring “How are you?” – “I’m fine, thank you” into something a little more interesting.


What to ask

Let’s start off with some of the different ways you can say: How are you?

  • How are you doing?

One of the most common greetings you can use. You can make it sound even more natural by getting rid of the ARE… How you doing?

  • How’s it going?

Another common greeting you will hear a lot. Easy to remember and easy to use!

  • How are things?

Not as common as the two above, but still used widely by native speakers. You could even make it longer, but with the exact same meaning, by saying… How are things going?

  • How’s everything?

A great general way to ask how someone is. Again, you can make this one longer by adding 'going'… How’s everything going?


How to answer

And how about responding to these questions? Here are some ways you can answer...

  • I’m well/doing well

Not too formal or informal, a general way to let people know that everything is going well for you.

  • I’m good/great

Probably the most common answer you will get from any of the greeting questions. If you want to make it sound even better, you could go for… Yeah, all good.

  • OK

If things aren’t great, but things aren’t bad either, an easy answer to this greeting could be a simple OK.

  • Not (too) bad

This might sound like you have had a bit of a difficult day, however, don’t be fooled. It’s just another way to tell people that you are doing fine. You can always add a YEAH onto the beginning too… Yeah, not too bad.

And finally, one that is a little more confusing is the subtle ALRIGHT? If someone asks you “Are you alright?” go ahead and answer with one of the responses above.

However, if someone just states “Alright?” there is only one answer – Alright. They are not asking you how you are, they are simply greeting you, just like saying “Hello”.


So, now you know! Next time you want to find out how someone is doing, try using one of the more common phrases you've just read, to sound more like a local.

Interested in upgrading your speaking skills even more, using natural British English?

Our native British teachers will help you understand and use the best colloquial language, idioms, and phrasal you can impress your friends and colleagues!

Book a trial lesson now. 👇🏼

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