Maybe your English teacher taught: If someone asks, “How are you?” Then you have to answer, “I’m fine, thank you. And you? “And you seemed to memorize this answer so that you never thought of answering the question” How are you? “With other answers.
But, have you ever heard native English speakers say, “I’m fine, thank you. And you? “This answer makes you look like memorizing a textbook. Then, what if you don’t really feel good or even you’re having a very bad day?
Other greeting questions besides “How are you?”:
- How is it going?
- What’s up?
- What’s happening?
A complete list of greeting expressions to answer the question “How are you?” Or “How is it going?”:
- Not bad.
- Fine, thanks.
- Pretty good.
- Great! How are you doing?
- I’m hanging in there.
- I’ve been better.
- “It’s going well.” (This one can only be used to answer the question “How’s it going”, but not to answer the question “How are you?”)
- A complete list of greeting expressions to answer the question “What’s up?”:
Not a lot.
Oh, just the usual.
Oh gosh, all kinds of stuff!
When not to answer When do we not have to answer?
One important thing you should know, all the above mentioned questions can also mean “Hello”. In this case, you don’t need to answer the question. It will sound more natural if you answer with another greeting:
A: How are you?
B: Hey, how’s it going?
So, how do we know if the person really wants to know how you are or just say “Hi”?
You can conclude that the person is just saying “Hi”, if:
They ask while passing and don’t stop to hear your answer.
They waved as they asked.
The tone of their speech does not rise to the top (like being questioned) when saying it.