how do you do? vs. how do you do tonight?

< Previous | Next >



Is it correct to write "How do you do tonight?"

The way I have always seen this expression built is:
How do you do? and the reply to it is: How do you do?

Replies are appreciated.

Thank you.
  • Embonpoint

    Senior Member
    Grammatically probably, however, in AE it would be very strange.
    In AE I would say "How are you doing tonight?" or "How are you tonight?"

    A typical full exchange in AE would be:
    Q: How are you tonight?
    A: Fine, thank you. And you?

    "How do you do" is likely more used in Britain. If you are prefer to speak British English, wait for a Brit to answer the thread.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "How do you do" is a set phrase that can be used on meeting someone. It's not really a question.

    Since it is a set phrase, you can't change it without losing its meaning and reducing it to its component words. Those words, taken as a question, don't mean much of anything. You have to ask the question in a different way, such as by using the alternatives suggested by Embonpoint above.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I (BE) agree with both Embonpoint's and Egmont's posts. "How do you do?" is a standalone set phrase and cannot be changed or added to. The use, as you describe, would go like this:

    A: "How do you do?"
    B: "How do you do?"
    A: "How are things with you?"
    B: "Mustn't grumble, and you?"
    A: "Much the same."
    B:... real conversation starts...


    Senior Member
    USA English
    Generally speaking, no. For me, 'How do you do?' is part of an introduction ritual, not a greeting.

    Well said.
    Do you use this phrase apart from when you meet someone for the first time in your life?
    I avoid it and prefer "... pleased to meet you" or something similar.

    (Note that " your life" is wordy and unnecessary. If you meet somebody for the first time, it's rather obvious that you're not talking about events prior to your birth.)
    < Previous | Next >