"how about" vs. "what about"

noali

Senior Member
Israel, Hebrew
hello guys!

is there a difference between the two?

two situations :

person A: "how can you define a person which forgets things very quickly"
person B: "how about "senile"? " / "what about "senile"?

is the second option completely wrong?

thank you all. :)
 
  • nmuscatine

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    When Person B says "How about senile" he/she is suggesting the word senile as a possible answer to Person A's question. This is probably what Person B should say.

    But imagine that there was a Person C. It could go like this:
    Person A: "What do you call a person who forgets things very quickly?"
    Person B: "How about "senile"?"
    Person C: "What about "forgetful"?"

    Here Person C says "What about..." because he/she is presenting an alternative to what Person B suggested. Person B was trying to answer Person A's question, but Person C was trying to introduce a new idea.

    This situation is very specific, and I'm not sure that the rules I just made up will be generalizable. But this is the way it made sense in my mind for this particualr example. It is possible that in other situations, there are different reasons for using "How about..." or "What about...", and in many cases they could be interchangeable.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    nmuscatine said:
    But imagine that there was a Person C. It could go like this:
    Person A: "What do you call a person who forgets things very quickly?"
    Person B: "How about "senile"?"
    Person C: "What about "forgetful"?"

    Here Person C says "What about..." because he/she is presenting an alternative to what Person B suggested. Person B was trying to answer Person A's question, but Person C was trying to introduce a new idea.
    Could we put this dialogue this way?

    Person A: "What do you call a person who forgets things very quickly?"
    Person B: "How about "senile"?"
    Person C: "And how about "forgetful"?"




    If so, would there be any difference?


    Thanks in advance,
    Thomas
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Thank you.:)

    Would you say that the second option form the dialogue in question is plausible as well?

    person A: "how can you define a person which forgets things very quickly"
    person B: "how about "senile"? " / "what about "senile"?


     

    virtdave

    Senior Member
    english, USA
    Thomas1 said:
    Thank you.:)

    Would you say that the second option form the dialogue in question is plausible as well?
    person A: "how can you define a person which forgets things very quickly"
    person B: "how about "senile"? " / "what about "senile"?


    more correct: person A: how can you define a person who forgets things very quickly?
    I would probably use : person B: how about senile?

    But What about senile? would sound ok also.
     
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