Greeting - How are you? - How are you doing?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by pegaso, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. pegaso Member

    Italy, italian , german
    Are you doing well? or How are you?
    Has it the same meaning?
    Thanks to you all
  2. JasonNPato Senior Member

    GA USA
    I suppose "Are you doing well" maybe a little less common than "How are you", but if you're asking for English, then I would say they are both equally acceptable.

    Perhaps, though, instead of "well", we would more often ask "Are you doing okay?" or "Have you been okay?" You would probably hear that more often in America than you would "Are you doing well?" though their meanings are not at all different.
    However, now that I think about it, I guess "Are you doing okay?" would be something you would ask if you were worried about the person.

    They've been in the hospital/out of work for a while..."Are you doing okay? Have you been well?"

    Wheras "How are you" might come more often between friends greeting each other. "Hello. How are you?"
    but friends might also say "Hello. Are you doing well?" without changing the meaning.

    Ultimately, I would say that the two phrases, aside from minor differences of usage, essentially mean the same.
  3. germinal

    germinal Senior Member

    Bradford, England
    England English

    It depends on the context Pegaso but I will take it that you are talking about a greeting.

    In that case you would say Hello, how are you? or you might say Hello, how are you? Are you keeping well?

    Are you doing well? although a correct sentence, is not the normal greeting. :)


  4. laratri

    laratri Senior Member

    I have heard people say;

    "How are you?" meaning your health.

    "Are you doing well?" with the meaning what's your life like financially.

    ( the verb do has often to do with your job... The famous question: "What do you do? which means what sort of job have you got).

  5. mimitabby

    mimitabby Senior Member

    usa, english
    People around here do not say "are you doing well?"
    They might say, after the casual greeting is over

    so, how's your job? or "are you feeling ok?"
  6. cecil

    cecil Senior Member

    USA American English


    "Are you keeping well" is virtually unheard of in the US. If it were said with an English accent, however, I would listen to it gladly.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2009
  7. Nocciolina Senior Member

    In UK both are acceptable. I think you are more likely to hear´are you keeping well?'
    than ´are you doing well?´
  8. germinal

    germinal Senior Member

    Bradford, England
    England English

    Hi Cecil, Which English accent would you like? We have lots to choose from - mine is a sort of cross between a Yorkshire accent (where I live) and Lancashire (where I was born).
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2009
  9. Nocciolina Senior Member

    That would be fun to hear! Are you one of the Dingles?;)
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2009
  10. helenduffy

    helenduffy Senior Member

    USA, English
    In the US I usually hear "How you doing?" (no "are") and "How's it going?" Both are casual, as between workmates passing in the hall. The answer is "Good," though I know that technically it should be "Well" or "Fine."
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Here, How are you?, or How are you doing? would be OK. I must also tell you that 'bout ye? is the local equivalent.
    In all cases, a reply detailing current medical status is not expected - but may be provoked, so be prepared for a long sit.
    We're all for subtlety, so How're you keeping? would be used only when you know that the questionee has been ill:)
    ...and the current, ubiquitous, answer to any such enquiry of anyone under the age of about 15 is Fine. Same answer to "how was your day", "how was the exam" .......
  12. mjscott Senior Member

    Some more colloquial terms:

    How's it hangin'? (Vulgar--but used commonly by middle-schoolers all the same)
    How's it goin'?
    How's business? (Not meaning financial business)
  13. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    Is Are you doing fine ? BE, AE or both ?
  14. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    I would not say "are you doing fine?" even though I would say "are you doing ok/alright?" if the person had been ill, or looked ill when I asked the question. (As others have said, How are you? How're you doing? are still more likely).

    I'm not saying the usage is incorrect, though.

    "How's it hangin'" always struck me as an awfully personal question. Which reminds me: what exactly does "ça beigne" (or something that sounds very much like that) mean, if I may be so bold?
  15. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I've never encountered the phrase "are you doing well?" to refer to work. I do'nt think the usage of "do" in "what do you do" is related to that...
  16. cecil

    cecil Senior Member

    USA American English
    >>Hi Cecil, Which English accent would you like? We have lots to choose from


    Silly me. The queen's English. Or that of Churchill. Are they different to an English ear?

  17. Vision

    Vision Senior Member

    Español, Cuba
    Hi, everyone!

    Is "How do you do?" an equivalent for "How are you?" or "How are you doing?"

    I've always known that "How do you do?" can be an equivalent for "Nice to meet you" or "Pleased to meet you".

    In Spanish, could it be translated as "Mucho gusto", or "Encantado"? :confused:

    Thank you.
  18. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    "How do you do?" is quite formal.
    If Lord Muck is introduced to Lady Clabber, that is what they will say to each other.

    "How are you?" is ok for general use.

    "How are you doing?" for good friends.
  19. *Cowgirl*

    *Cowgirl* Senior Member

    USA English
    "How have you been?" would also work
  20. M56 Banned

    Britain. English.
    "How do you do" is like "Hello" or "Hola", and should not be answered with "fine thanks" or similar. Yes, you can think of it as similar to "Mucho gusto", or "Encantado".
  21. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    According to traditional [old-fashioned?] English etiquette, the correct answer to
    "How do you do?" is "How do you do?"
    Certainly Lady Clabber and Lord Muck would say that, as would Miss Fothington-Thomas and Mr Featherstone-Hall.

    So if you are introduced to Hyacinth Bucket:D , make sure you follow that rule.
  22. James Stephens Senior Member

    Oklahoma, USA
    English, USA
    Is "How do you do?" an equivalent for "How are you?" or "How are you doing?"

    I've always known that "How do you do?" can be an equivalent for "Nice to meet you" or "Pleased to meet you".

    No, it is not. Yes, you are right.
  23. Ruffiy

    Ruffiy New Member

    hello everybody ...
    i've been wondering for a long time which the most appropriate greeting can I use in order to greet my students at the beginning of my class?
  24. hly2004 Banned

    Hi, everyone
  25. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    Hi Ruffiy and welcome. I think either is fine to greet your students with - and I don't think there is really a big difference in the meaning between the phrases.
  26. Macymoo Senior Member

    London, England (English)
    If you are speaking to a large group....I would probably say How are you all doing? (but How are you all? is ok too)
  27. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    Although commonly used interchangeably, "doing" may refer to health or some personal struggle. For example, if you were sick or feeling down about something, I would call and say "How are you doing?"
  28. Ruffiy

    Ruffiy New Member


    thank u v much for ur response

    is it wrong to say everybody instead of everyone :confused:
  29. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    No - it's fine. Just synonyms, I'd say.

    However, we do ask that people use standard grammar and vocabulary in these forums, so please do capitalise your words and use the full forms, eg "you" not "u" etc. It helps people learning the language. Thanks.
  30. cas29

    cas29 Senior Member

    Milan Italy
    I'd definitely say that in the context of a general greeting (as opposed to talking to somone who may be ill or upset) "How are you doing" is informal, whereas "How are you" is standard / more formal.
  31. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The supposedly standard English How are you greeting seems very strange when addressing a group in this context.
    I would say "Good morning everyone," or "Good afternoon everyone," and continue with my introduction to the session.
  32. Porteño Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    British English
    I agree with you panjandrum although I think it may be a little formal nowadays when addressing students. While I don't think that 'How are you?' or 'How are you doing?' is appropriate, 'Hello/Hi everyone' would seem to be fine.
  33. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I hadn't thought of that.
    If Good morning is a little formal, then How are you is starched to the hilt.
    I can imagine, comfortably, someone arriving through the door to say something like,
    Good morning everyone, how are you all today then? ... further chitchat for bit before getting down to business.

    I rather suspect that age and regional variations will make a great deal of difference to what seems natural;)
  34. Clayjar

    Clayjar Senior Member

    English, Canada
    Hello/Hi everyone/students makes the most sense to me--it's what teachers would be most likely to say here in Canada.
  35. Porteño Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    British English
    I guess you're right panjandrum. However I like your attachment.
  36. Snowman75

    Snowman75 Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Australia (English)
    For me the following is what would seem most natural.

    Addressing a large group (say in a lecture hall):

    Good morning (everyone)
    Good afternoon (everyone)

    Addressing a smaller class:

    (If you already have their attention)

    (If you need to get their attention)
    Morning everyone
    Afternoon everyone
  37. Ruffiy

    Ruffiy New Member

    Thank you all ...but I don't think that being formal in the class is necessary.I'd rather be natural ,friendly and keep in touch with my students in order to smooth the mood so the lesson is gonna be more acceptable and gotten easily

    anyway what about How do you do?
  38. Clayjar

    Clayjar Senior Member

    English, Canada
    I'd probably avoid this one. "How do you do?" is usually used between two individuals, since it demands a response. It wouldn't be practical to say this to a large group unless you actually wanted every student to say how they felt. (Which could take up a lot of valuable teaching time! :D)

    From the suggestions I've seen so far, I'd still choose "Hello everyone" or "Hi students" or something like that.
  39. Ruffiy

    Ruffiy New Member

    Hi clayjar
    Oh what a shame.. one of students guides me :D
    i've been told that this kind of phrases is used when we talk to someone for the first time ????????
  40. Porteño Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    British English
    Ruffiy, I would agree with that. I would never say 'How do you do?' to someone I already knew. Mostly it is used when a person is being introduced to another for the first time.
  41. Clayjar

    Clayjar Senior Member

    English, Canada
    Good point! The phrase "How are you?" is used instead of "How do you do?" when talking to someone you already know. I've never noticed that before! (Now Ruffiy is guiding me!!!)
  42. Ruffiy

    Ruffiy New Member

    Thank you everybody
  43. Cayuga Senior Member

    As the first American to respond to this, I have to say that I have never in my life used the phrase "How do you do?" The only instance in which I can imagine an American using it is when trying to sound like 1) a Brit, or 2) a terribly stuffy, upper-class person.

    "How are you?" sounds perfectly acceptable when addressing a group. But "How are you doing?" -- or "How ya doin'?" -- is definitely more informal and possibly a tad more appropriate for a group since it is even less demanding of a response than "How are you?" is.
  44. GES New Member

    When at work you are asked "How are you doing"? Do you answer "I'm well" or "I'm doing good"? I always answer "I'm doing good" because I'm sure the person is not concerned about personal welfare, business or health. But I find it idiotic that people answer "I'm well". Which is correct?
  45. Giordano Bruno

    Giordano Bruno Senior Member

    English, England
    If things are fine, you say, "I'm doing well." "Well" is and adverb, "good" is an adjective. If they are not concerned about personal welfare, business or health, what are they asking about?
  46. SPQR Senior Member

    American English
    It seems to me that all are "correct" in AE.
    I don't use "I'm well", but many colleagues of mine do, and I don't think they are idiots.
    Most of the complaints I hear from foreign speakers about AE are about the use of "I'm good" instead of "I'm fine".
    But I'll give a few examples of how I might respond to the question so the non-native speakers might see what others think:

    "How ya' doin'?"
    Doin' OK
    Doin' good
    Doin' fine
    No problem
    No problems
    I'm OK
    I'm fine
  47. I also say :Mustn`t grumble.
    Getting on.
    Getting older.
    and even:
    Alive and kicking (certain people);)
  48. Old Novice

    Old Novice Senior Member

    USA, English
    The correct usage is "I'm well", since "I'm good" means "I'm a good person." Similarly, "I'm doing well" implies that things are fine, while "I'm doing good" implies I am engaging in socially beneficial activities.

    That said, this usage seems to be dying in AE, and "I'm good" is very often said where the meaning is "I'm well" in the sense just given. :( But in more formal applications (e.g., if talking to your boss), the "I'm well" may be noted and appreciated.
  49. marget Senior Member

    I prefer "Fine, thanks" or "I'm fine, thanks. How about you"? "I'm well, though correct, sounds stilted to me.
  50. Mr Bones

    Mr Bones Senior Member

    España - Español
    Hi, I'm going to take advantage o this thread to ask about this expression, which has always puzzled me a little bit. My question is: is it a purely idiomatic phrase or does it have a sense? When I first heard it I thought, there must be some mistake here, the logical thing is What are you doing? It took me some time to take it in, but I'm still wondering if there is some a reason for using the verb do that I don't know. Thank you. Mr Bones.

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