Published: 05th September 2020
What’s the right thing to say? Here's how you can respond to greetings appropriately
Don't know how to respond when people ask you 'How's you?' or 'How's things?' In this English Blues column, you might understand the greeting and how to respond to it properly and appropriately
If someone greets you by saying “How’s you?”, how do you react to the person’s greeting? Do you respond to the person, “Fine” or “Well” or do you react by saying “You sound ungrammatical” and try to correct their language? Or do you give them a humorous reply? Look at this piece of conversation between two college students:
Dinesh: How’s you Ramesh?
Ramesh: I’m good. How’s things?
Dinesh: Great. Are you free this evening?
Ramesh: Yeah, I’m free.
Dinesh: Thought of taking you out for dinner.
Ramesh: Dinner? Are you kidding?
Dinesh: No, I mean it. Restaurants are open now.
In the conversation above, you find some ungrammatical phrases and expressions. You may ask whether any ungrammatical expression that has gained popularity and is widely used by those who speak the language is acceptable. Let’s discuss the greeting: “How’s you?” is an informal way to greet someone. It is another way of saying, “How are you?” or “How are you doing?”.
The urbandictionary.com gives this explanation for “How’s you?” “A grammatically incorrect phrase used as the second line of an internet conversation. It originated as dialect from the Shropshire area of England but has become more widespread over the past 10 years. ‘How’s you’ is an abbreviated version of “How is you?”. This is how a poorly educated person would ask “How are you?”. Even educated young people use such ungrammatical expressions these days thinking that it is how they should speak in order to be accepted among peers.
Does the phrase “How’s things?” sound okay? It sounds ungrammatical. The expression is widely used by young people in many parts of the USA and in India too. It is an acceptable alternative of “How are things going?” or “How are you?”. Another expression similar to “How’s things?” is “How goes it?”.
John: Hi Mary. How’s it going?
Mary: Great, thanks.
Student 1: Hey! How goes it? Everything okay?
Students 2: Fine, thanks.
Do the responses “I’m good” or “I’m doing good” to the greeting “How are you?” sound natural or unnatural to you? They sound ungrammatical but they are widely used even by educated people. The normal (grammatical) response to the question “How are you” is “I am fine”. Some people also respond by saying, “I am well”. Here ‘well’ is not an adverb but an adjective and it means ‘fine and healthy’. When someone responds to the greeting “How are you?” by saying “I’m good” what the person means is that they experience some good feelings and their response does not have reference to their good health.
The adjective ‘good’ also means ‘having everything desired or required’ or ‘content and not wanting or needing to do anything further’ (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/good). Here are examples:
Ashok: “Do you want anything else to drink?”
Ann: “No thanks, I’m good.”