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

Old Novice

Senior Member
USA, English
I prefer "Fine, thanks" or "I'm fine, thanks. How about you"? "I'm well, though correct, sounds stilted to me.
I'd agree that "I'm well" has come to sound stilted in many situations, and that the easy way to avoid the problem is to use "I'm fine" instead, which sounds fine :) both to old purists such as myself and to those comfortable with the current usage.

Still, in the right context, an "I'm well" will increase the regard in which you're held, just as it will sound stilted in the wrong context. I'm always insanely impressed when I hear someone under 30 use "I'm well."
 
  • Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    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.
    "Do" is a pretty basic word, and serves as a transitive, intransitive and auxiliary verb and as a noun. It has many meanings, among them

    "To get along; fare: students who do well at school."

    I believe this meaning underlies "how are you doing".
     

    diseña

    Member
    UK / Eng.
    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?
    I suppose it's possible they could be asking the question "How are you doing?" in the sense of "How are you getting along with the work?", in which case saying "I'm well" wouldn't be the appropriate answer.
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    "Do" is a pretty basic word, and serves as a transitive, intransitive and auxiliary verb and as a noun. It has many meanings, among them

    "To get along; fare: students who do well at school."

    I believe this meaning underlies "how are you doing".
    That makes perfect sense. Thank you, Old. Mr Bones.
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    I suppose it's possible they could be asking the question "How are you doing?" in the sense of "How are you getting along with the work?", in which case saying "I'm well" wouldn't be the appropriate answer.
    Then you'd have to say something like 'Fine, thanks' or 'everything's going along well/fine'.
     

    Mike

    Senior Member
    Australia, English
    As a general greeting, no, but the second could be used to check someone's progress on a task, whereas the first couldn't.

    Cheers

    Mike
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    2015: Moderators' note:

    This thread from 2006 wanders more freely than current rules allow. However, it would be a shame to edit it.

    If you contribute to it, please remember to follow the current requirement to focus on the topic, use English, and so on it.


    Thank you for your cooperation.
    Cagey, moderator.
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top