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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > How are you? I īm fine (bot not always...)    

How are you? I īm fine (bot not always...)


How are you? I īm fine (bot not always...)
I īve been told that the question "how are you?" is a sort of "standard"  question. You īre not supposed to answer explaining exactely the way you feel.
So, what īs the question if the answer is "I īm tired", "I īm sad"  "I īm happy" etc.?

21 Dec 2012      



Perhaps you have mistaken "How are you" for "How do you do"?

"How do you do"?
This is mainly British English, and is quite formal. Perhaps you would hear this between business people meeting for the first time. The "correct" response to "How do you do"? is "How do you do"? according to some people.

"How are you", in my opinion, is always a question that asks about someone īs health/condition/state. Therefor it is natural to say how you are - I am OK thanks. I am not so good, but thanks for asking, etc

I hope that helps.

21 Dec 2012     

Peter Hardy

Hi.  The question "How are you" or "How are you doing" in Australia is the same as the British "How do you do."  People are not asking for your state of health in any form.  We do have a variety of answers, though.  "I īm fine" is the most used, but you can also reply with: Good.  Great.  Not to bad.  I īve been better, or anything of the like.  It īs a matter of feeling.  If you īre asked by a stranger or colleague you definately don īt go into details.  But if it īs a good friend or family member, you can start telling you īre not ok.  However, we īve had an advertising campaign to tell people it īs ok not to be ok.  Gives you an idea why most people stick to the standard answer of "Fine, thanks.  You?"  If people really want to know how you are, they may repeat the question, as in "How are you really?" or if they know you they īll ask more specific questions, like "How is your back?"  Just remember, English is a language only.  It īs the person who speaks the lingo, that matters, and you īll notice if they are really interested in your physical or mental state.  So the person who told you that the "How are you?" question is pretty much standard, is quite right.  At least here in Australia, and as a Kiwi I can tell you it īs the same in New Zealand.  Hopes this helps.
Cheers, Peter   

22 Dec 2012     


I always find it funny that when you go to the doctor s/he will ask: "How are you? and you will reply: "Fine, thanks." The next question will then be the one concerning your reason for going to the doctor!
A common reply to this question in Australia and NZ is "Not bad" meaning "Fine" or so-so!
Cheers Joy

22 Dec 2012     

United Kingdom

I īm pleased to hear there are still those who greet with īHow do you do? � I haven īt heard it for donkeys. 

My standard answer to īHow are you? � has recently become, īI īm tired. � Thank god it īs the Christmas holidays - two weeks off! I think Peter has got it right about the correct response. 

22 Dec 2012     


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22 Dec 2012