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

Relativity

Member
English
Hello!

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
    English--American
    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.
     

    Egmont

    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.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    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...
     

    sdgraham

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

    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 "....in 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 >
    Top