What should I answer to the question "How are you?" I know that this is a pretty lame question, but I've always been unsure of how to answer "How are you?". Is that some kind of greeting, or is the speaker expecting me to talk about what's going on and stuff like that too? I guess the meaning changes a bit depending on who's saying it, and what kind of situation it is, but please help me figure out what it means in general. Thanks.+) You don't necessarily have to answer this question too. I've just been thinking, and the title I wrote above seems very awkward. What should I say to the question ~ ? and How should I answer the question ~ ? doesn't sound that weird. Would there be a reason why the term, "What should I answer to the question ~?" sounds strange?
Aug 5, 2014 11:31 AM
Answers · 11
It is PURE GREETING RITUAL and the answer is ALWAYS "I'm fine, thank you, how are you?" There are very small variations in the actual wording, but basically that's it. Memorize it and say it. Any actual COMMUNICATION, about health or anything else, comes LATER in the conversation. If you are actually sick, e.g. you are in the hospital and someone came in to visit, it might be a little different, but even then it would be something like it. "Hi, XYZ, how are you?" "I'm fine now that you're here. Oh, what lovely flowers, thank you!" "No, really, XYZ, how ARE you? You look pale. Should I call the nurse?" "Well, I just got out of surgery yesterday and it still hurts when I cough, but it's better than it was. I'm doing OK. Maybe if you could hand me that glass of water?"
August 5, 2014
You are right, it depends who's asking. If it's a friend and I think my friend might actually be interested in the answer (!) I would probably launch into all the latest gossip... and my friend would find it difficult to shut me up! If it's a stranger or a more formal situation then the one thing this person does NOT want is my life history... so stick to something like "I'm fine/very well/doing ok/ thank you. And you?" It's basically part of the greeting ritual. Neither of you really want to know how the other one is!!! If you have a reason for saying a little more... say it. "I've been a little under the weather lately but I'm ok now. And you?" (Under the weather... do you know what that means?) Possibly you might want the person to feel sympathy for you... so you tell them A LITTLE about why you are not 'fine.' But DON'T bore them! Keep it short. If they want to know more they will ask. If in doubt stick to "I'm fine, thank you. And you?" Or just "Fine, thanks. And you?" Remember, it's part of the greeting ... unless you have reason to think otherwise. If it's a friend, and they know you have been ill lately, or have had financial problems, and they ask it with concern and interest... then they might actually want to know! But most people DON'T actually want to know! It's just a polite formula.
August 5, 2014
Good question. "How should I answer the question [...]" is the only correct form from the ones listed. You don't say anything to a question, you say something to someone; also you don't answer anything to the question, you answer something to someone. This is because "to answer" is a transitive verb. The confusion stems from the fact that the word "answer" can also be used as a noun, as in "What is the answer (noun) TO the question?" Hope this... answers your question. ;)
August 9, 2014
Where is the verb, Alin?
August 5, 2014
You can say" i fine, and you?" haha XD
August 5, 2014
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