1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

how about /what about> going out tonight.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by simonaj, May 24, 2006.

  1. simonaj Senior Member

    italian, Italy
    "How about" and " what about" are interchangeble?
    How about going out tonight?
    What about going out tonight?
    or
    How about it?
    What about it?
     
  2. maybe4ever Senior Member

    Rennes, France
    US english
    Yes, they can be interchanable, but somepeople may not understand what you are saying, if you would say, "What about going out tonight?"

    I think a better way to say it would be,
    How about we go somewhere tonight?
    What about we go somewhere tonight?

    that makes it more understandable.
     
  3. dwipper Senior Member

    Iowa, U.S.
    U.S. English
    There is a lot of overlap between the two, but I would usually use "How about" when making a suggestion that I feel is best. I would use "What about" when I am less set on the idea and more willing to listen to other suggestions.
     
  4. dwipper Senior Member

    Iowa, U.S.
    U.S. English
    This sounds awkward to my ear. When I hear "What about," it's almost always followed by a noun or gerund, whereas with "How about" you can use a verb or noun.
     
  5. maybe4ever Senior Member

    Rennes, France
    US english
    I hear quite commonly, both forms where I live. (NC)

    I guess to make it sound more specific you could say:

    What about we go somewhere later tonight?

    maybe it is a regional thing.
     
  6. Oros Senior Member

    Korean
    Simonaj
    They are interchangeable as you believe. Both stands for suggestion.

    How about going to a restaurant?

    What about taking ....
     
  7. Cacao Junior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    English - Canada
    I agree with Dwipper. I had a "student" ask me this very question, and I find all your responses very helpful! Thanks!
     
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    How about going out tonight?
    What about going out tonight?

    Natural spoken English.
    The versions with "... we go somewhere ..." sound very AE to me.
     
  9. The MightyQ Senior Member

    Ottawa
    English, Canada
    What about can also express an objection, whereas how about does not.

    How about going to a movie?
    I would love to, but what about the kids? [meaning, we would have to arrange for their care.]
     
  10. Javixxxu New Member

    Spain Spanish
    But, Have we use "How about/What about" just for suggestions or could we use them also for searching info about something/someone?

    Example:

    - What about you?= How are you?
    - How about your english?= You are asking to know if her/his english is improving or something like that...
    - What about the movie you watched yesterday?= You want to know if the movie was bad or good.

    Is the correct form to use them or is another context?

    Thank you, and sorry for reviving old post...
     
  11. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    All the above are good, very natural and idiomatic.

    "What about you?" would only be used as a response, not as an initial greeting.

    english:cross:
    English:tick:
     
  12. Javixxxu New Member

    Spain Spanish
    Can you put an example? I cannot image any situation to use as a response. :S

    Oops, I know it, but sometimes I forget it because in Spanish is with no capital letter. Thank you for your correction anyway!
     
  13. Jason.

    Jason. Junior Member

    Costa Rica
    Español
    I was reading all the replies and found them very helpful but I still have a doubt.

    Let's say someone is helping me because I have a list and I want to make sure I have all the items on that list...

    If I say "do you have the toothbrush?" can I then say "what/how about the toothpaste" or do I have to use either one?
     
  14. lorelord Senior Member

    UK - english
    Jason ..
    If I say "do you have the toothbrush?" can I then say "what/how about the toothpaste" or do I have to use either one?
    As far as i am concerned you could use either. Or you could use "and the toothpaste".

    In BrE we are more likely to say "do you have a toothbrush?" or "do you have your toothbrush?" .. "The Toothbrush" sounds overly specific
     
  15. Jason.

    Jason. Junior Member

    Costa Rica
    Español
    Yes, thank you but I was in fact imagining a specific toothbrush, the one I would use or whoever is making the list would use and then take with him or her on a trip or something, but my question is; in the 2nd question (what/how about the toothpaste?) are "how about" and " what about" interchangeable?
     
  16. Jason.

    Jason. Junior Member

    Costa Rica
    Español
    Oh, sorry I just read your reply more carefully and noticed that the answer is there, thank you very much for the advise, I will take it into account :)
     
  17. just getting it Senior Member

    Madrid
    Español
    I'm just starting but I thoght "what about you?" is not as polite as "how about you?" or "how are you?"
     
  18. lorelord Senior Member

    UK - english
    Jason as for <are "how about" and " what about" interchangeble?>
    In these simple questions about toothpastes/ toiletries etc - yes use either.

    When i said <do you have a toothbrush?" or "do you have your toothbrush?"> my suggested phrases are specific to a particular toothbrush.

    The problem with "the toothbrush" is not exactly its specific quality - it is the kind of thing said to someone about a toothbrush that doesnt belong to either of them (the speaker or the listener).
     
  19. Jason.

    Jason. Junior Member

    Costa Rica
    Español
    I agree with you, I think in that context it would be more efficient to ask them "how about you?" because you want to know how the other person is feeling at the moment, or maybe it is just my imagination but still, for some reason I think it sounds better.
     
  20. Jason.

    Jason. Junior Member

    Costa Rica
    Español
    ...as if it were a list for a third person. I understand now, thank you lorelord! :)
     

Share This Page