How do you do?

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Gunday

Senior Member
Korean
How do you do?

When you meet somebody for the first time, what's the best response to that?

How do you do? Or 'Nice to meet you.'
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    "I'm pleased to meet you" or "I'm very pleased to meet you" or "It's very nice to meet you" would all be fine. "How do you do?" is still used occasionally but it's quite old-fashioned.
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    It is boilerplate which is spoken because we can't think of anything else to say. In fact we don't expect a reply, though the response which is most common to my ear is, "Just fine."
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    The response to "How do you do?" is "How do you do?"

    Except in its formality, it follows the convention of "Hello" and "Hello." It is not "How are you?" in which case you can offer a "Fine, thanks."

    When you offer anything other than "How do you do?" you're showing your ignorance (note: not stupidity, just lack of knowledge) of the convention.

    Saying "Fine, thanks" makes it a one-way conversation, all to your benefit, and you do so at the risk of the other person's taking at least slight offense.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Bringing in the big guns, otherwise known as the BBC :)...

    Formal greetings
    How do you do? is very formal and is not used very much, especially by younger people, these days. It may be used on first meeting and accompanied by a formal handshake when both partners issue the same greeting. The reply to How do you do? is How do you do? Then it would be a matter of getting straight down to the business in hand, e.g. ‘I see that your company has been performing very well in South East Asia...'


    I can't link directly to the page until I pass 30 messages, but it's in the first five results you get by typing -- response to "how do you do" -- in Google.
     

    Nunty

    Modified
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    If you were to look at the "Read Me First" thread at the top of the forum index page, you would find a section called English FAQs, which contains links to threads about many frequently asked questions about English usage. One of those links is Greeting - How are you? How's you? How's it going? How do you do? and it will bring you to a very long list of threads on this very topic.

    This thread is now closed.

    Please respect the rules of the forum, the first of which is
    Look for the answer first.
    Check the WordReference dictionaries (if available) and scroll down for a list of related threads; or use the forum's search function.
    Thank you.
    Nun-Translator, moderator
     
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