How are you? - a simple but important English sentence. You'll hear both friends and strangers ask it to each other, as well as in both formal and informal settings. It is one of the most basic English sentences you could learn. You can use it to be polite towards others or as a simple greeting. There's really quite a lot to it!

Below, we'll introduce you to different ways to ask How are you?, how to answer this question, and more. Get started mastering this basic skill!

Asking How Somebody Is

There are many different ways to find out how somebody is. Which phrase you use will depend a lot on whether the situation is formal or not, as well as your own personal style. We've gathered some of the most common phrases for you in the table below.
Hi, how are you?
Hey, how's it going?
What are you up to?
Yo, what's up?
Hey, how have you been?
How's your day been?
Hey, what's new?
Hi, how are you?
This is the most common way to ask someone how they are. It can be used in all situations. English speakers will also often use it simply as a greeting. Other ways to ask this same question are: How's it going? and How do you do?. How do you do? is used more in formal situations. In response, somebody might say something like: Not too bad, and you?.
Yo, what's up?
This is a very informal way to ask How are you?. Another way to say this is: How's it hanging?. You will only really use these phrases with very close friends and family. Like How are you? they can both be a question as well as a greeting. A typical response is: Not much.

Describing How You Are

Just as there are many ways to ask how somebody is, there are an equal amount of ways to answer this question. How you respond will usually depend on how you feel at that moment. Check out the table below to find lots of examples!
I'm great.
I'm doing pretty well, and you?
Things are great!
I couldn't be better.
I can't complain.
I've been busy.
Same as always.
Not bad, and you?
Things could be better.
I've been better.
I feel a little under the weather.
Busy with work.
I'm great
The most common and basic way to answer the question How are you? is with the sentence pattern I'm + FEELING. Another example is: I'm great!. A lot of people will drop I'm and simply say the adjective, as in: Great, thanks. There's a lot of different ways somebody could respond. A response to our first example might be: That's good to hear!.
I can't complain
Here is a phrase that uses the verb to can. If you can't complain then it means that you are doing just fine. Somebody might respond to this phrase with: I'm happy to hear that.
I've been busy
To respond to the question How have you been? you will need to use the sentence pattern I've been + STATE. Here is another example of this: I've been good. In response, someone could say something like: Same with me.
I feel a little under the weather
Here is an English idiom that you could use when you are feeling somewhat sick. Someone could respond to this in many different ways. For example like this: I hope that you feel better soon.
Busy with work
Another way to respond to How are you? is to tell the person what you have been doing lately. You could say the phrase above or something like: I've been studying a lot for exams. There are many ways to respond to a sentence like this, such as: I hope you get some free time soon!.

Saying Goodbye

After you have asked someone how they are and had a conversation with them, it will be time to say goodbye. In the table below, you'll find lots of different ways to do this. Take some time to have a look at them and grow your English vocabulary!
It was nice talking to you!
See you!
Take care.
Take it easy.
Talk to you later.
Have a good one.
Hope you feel better soon.
Take care
This phrase is usually said to somebody that you won't see again for a while. Two other ways to say this are: Take it easy and Look after yourself. Someone might respond with something like: Thanks, you do the same.
Have a good one
This phrase is normally said to store employees at checkout after you purchase your items. You could also say: Have a good day. Both phrases are just a polite way to say goodbye to a store employee. A common response to these phrases is: Thanks, you too.
Hope you feel better soon
Use this phrase when you want to say goodbye to somebody who feels sick or bad in any other way. It is a way to wish them well. In response they might say something like: Thank you, I appreciate that.

Relax while Listening to the Phrases

Keep calm and learn English! Listen to the phrases again with relaxing background music. This will help you improve your listening skills and remember the phrases. Choose your favorite style, then kick back and relax!
Video with Meditative Music

Audio with Meditative Music

Relax with the Sounds of Nature: River

Relax with the Sounds of Nature: Wind

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Practice & Record a Dialogue

Take the next step and use what you’ve learned! Check out this topic’s dialogue unit and practice the phrases in a variety of exercises. Test your knowledge and get ready for real life conversations!
Hello David, how are you today?en
I'm good, thank you. How are you?en
I'm fine too. What are you up to?en

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most important English phrases to know when asking someone how they are?
  • Hi, how are you?
  • Hey, how's it going?
  • Hey, how have you been?
  • I'm great.
  • I'm doing pretty well, and you?
  • It was nice talking to you!
  • See you!
  • Take care.
When do you ask somebody how they are?
There are quite a few different contexts when you would use How are you? Normally you ask somebody that you already know, especially if you haven't seen that person for a long time. You might also use or hear this phrase after introductions or in a formal setting, even if the speakers don't know each other. How are you? can also be used instead of Hello or other greetings. Someone using the phrase in this way will not really expect an answer to the question.
How do you ask someone how they are in a formal way?
Formal English and informal English do not differ from each other so greatly like in some other languages. Therefore, in a formal setting you will most likely still use: How are you?. This is the most common way of asking how someone is, regardless of whether the situation is formal or informal. However, there is one more formal way of asking the same thing that you could use. This is: How do you do?.
How do I ask someone how they are in an informal way?
Again, the most common way of asking someone how they are in any situation is simply: How are you?. Although, if you are meeting up with close friends and want to be more casual, then you have a few more informal options that you could use. These are: How's it going?, What's up?, What's new?, and How's it hanging?. Of these different phrases, the first two are the most commonly used. Remember: you only want to use any of these four phrases with close friends and family!
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