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The everyday language of native speakers
What do native speakers say in greeting? Our elementary school textbooks teach "how are you?I'm fine, thank you !" But our university teachers say that native speakers usually don't say that. Is that true?
May 28, 2020 4:36 AM
Comments · 4
I would say it really depends on the situation. It can also vary greatly by location as there are many different varieties of "normal" in the US alone.

The following is my personal opinion and experience.

"Hi, how are you?" is generally used as a polite greeting to strangers. For example, I would say this to the cashier when it is my turn in the store checkout line. In my experience, the phrase is used quite often.

However, slang for this greeting is often used as well. "How's it going?" is very common, even in the same cashier scenario I mentioned. The only difference is who is saying it and to whom; the speaker decides what form of greeting they want to use.

Even with close friends, it is polite and considerate to ask, "How are you doing?" during an interaction (usually at the beginning).

Notably, when a person politely asks a stranger "how they are", they are not usually asking about their welfare. It is often simply used as a greeting. The response will often be, "Good, thank you", or "I'm fine, thanks". You will find people that really mean it when they ask, however.
In contrast, when asking friends or family "how they are", the speaker is often asking about the other person's welfare and expects a thoughtful answer.
May 28, 2020

Hi ^O^

I'd say to friends or family:

How are things going?

What's the news with you lately?

How are things with you?

Are you alright?


What's the gen?

Everything alright with you then?

What's the news then?

What have you been up to recently?

You been keeping good?

All good?

In a more cordial situation like maybe work, or people you don't know so well possibly I'd probably stick to the more standard lines like:

How are you?

All fine?

Are you keeping well?

How's it going?

I hope this helps:)
May 28, 2020
Oh, we definitely use it in South Africa, and where I was in the UK. With close friends, strangers etc. A few people use slang, but it's still not that commonplace.
In very formal situations, we may also say 'How d'you do!' or 'Pleased to meet you.' This would be in situations where you meet ambassadors or government ministers etc. It has become slightly dated, but it is still used amongst native English speakers.
Please note that 'How do you do!' is a statement of acknowledgement of acquaintanceship, not a question regarding wellbeing. The reply would be, How do you do!' or 'Pleased to meet you,' often accompanied by a slight head-bow.
May 28, 2020
My experience comes from living in Australia and the UK. It will be different depending on location and level of formality.

With friends:
"Hey Jane, how are you?" (It means hello.)
"Hi John, good thanks. You?" (It means, hello and I'm fine.)
"Yeah, good thanks."

With friends at a party or after not seeing them for a while. Usually with hugging.
"Jane! So good to see you! How's everything going?" (It means they are happy to see them and want to hear an update about their life.)
"Hey John. Yeah things are good thanks. Work's going well. You still working at Company?" (It is a polite and easy way to say things are good.)

With family or close friends:
"Hey, have a good day?" or "How was your day?" or "How did X (interview/meeting/discussion etc) go?" (Asking for details about their day. Normally this starts a long conversation.)

"Hey. What's happening?" (Asking if they have plans.)

At work:
With coworkers:
"How's it going?"
"You all right?" (British - means hello. If you ask this in Australia it is because you are concerned something is wrong.)
(All with the hope that no one will start a long conversation.)

With coworkers who you haven't met, or who you see from time to time but have no idea who they are:
Smile by pushing your lips together and look awkward. Sometimes accompanied with a head nod.

Meeting people in polite situations (new boss, girlfriend/boyfriend's parents, someone important).
(Handshake) "Hello Mr/Mrs Name. Nice to meet you."

Regardless of formality, if I have met someone new I will always say "It was nice to meet you!" or "Lovely to meet you" when I say goodbye to them.
May 28, 2020
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language