comprehension question Can anybody tell me what's the difference between "What about you" and "how about you?" Thanks 
Apr 3, 2019 8:54 PM
Comments · 5

Native speaker here, from Texas.

These phrases are used a lot in informal greetings or introductions:

Person 1: Hi, how are you?
Person 2: I'm fine, how about you?
Person 1: Good, thanks.


Person 1: Hi, how are you?
Person 2: I'm fine, what about you?
Person1: Good, thanks.

They effectively mean the same thing in this context. I would say one isn't more right than the other, and both will get a standard answer about how the person is doing. Even in questions of hunger or thirst they can be used interchangeably.

As far as grammatical correctness, "What about you" is probably more correct, but it doesn't matter too much. Pick whichever one you want to say and go with it. In English a lot of times we ask those questions and fully expect a canned response, like "Fine" or "not so bad" and don't really expect a full response about the person's day. In fact, I'd say that if you actually answer the question, you're probably saying more than the other person wants to hear.

Hope that helps!

Late Edit:

I was thinking more about this and I thought about another way where the what/how choice would matter.

Person1: Let's go to the store.
Person2: What about the kids?

This implies you're asking what you want to do with the kids while you go to the store. In this case you wouldn't say "How about". If you used "How about the kids?" in this context, Person1 would probably say something like "What about them?", as though you wanted to point something out they thought they were missing. It gets real confusing in this kind of situation and isn't as clear as the first situation.

April 3, 2019
I agree with Steven. Both statements are correct, you can use any of which. They mean the same thing in context "how about you" or "what about you".
April 4, 2019
What about you?, I used less frequently then, "How are you?' Also "What about you?" Can be very direct like you are asking about the person's character. Like, what about you makes you qualified for this position in the company? How are you,
April 4, 2019

In most casual situations you can both phrases interchangeably. 

" How are you doing?" "Good! How about you?" or

"How are you doing?"  "Good! What about you?"

"How about you" is likely more correct since the question in this example is asking how. But casually people say both. 

April 3, 2019
thank you so much~~that really helps me to understand how to use the two questions^^
April 4, 2019