Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The focus of this lesson is "How are you?" in English


 

Topic 1: How to answer the question "How are you?"


 

Sentence from the lesson:

'I'm fine.' 


  1. If someone says: "How are you?," you can say: "I'm fine."
  2. Another way to answer: "Pretty good."—This means about the same thing as "I'm fine."
  3. We also have: "Not bad." You can use this if you are feeling just okay, or so-so.





Topic 2: How to ask how someone is



Sentence from the lesson:

'How are you?'

  1. "How are you?" is the most well-known way of asking how someone is. You could use it when you want to be polite.
  2. A more casual and much more common way to ask is "Hey, how's it going?"
  3. You can answer this in many ways. If you're feeling good, you can say: "Good," "Pretty good." or "Not bad.."
  4. Even though these answers mean the same thing as "I'm fine," you can't answer "How's it going?" with "I'm fine." It will sound a bit strange.
  5. If you're *not* feeling good, you can say: "Not so good," "Not great" or "Not so well."
  6. Be careful: If you say one of these, the other person will usually ask, "Why, what's wrong?" to be polite. Then, you will have to explain!
  7. Another casual, but very common version of "How are you?" is "What's up?"
  8. To reply, use a cheerful voice as you say: "Not much!" or "Nothing much!" This means you're free and able to chat. Since "What's up" is just another way of saying "Hello," you can also reply with: "Hey!" or "Hi!"

 

Language Tip!


A lot of the time, when we ask questions that mean "how are you?" in English, we're not *actually* asking about the other person's health—we're only asking to be polite! You should think of these kinds of questions as another way of saying "Hello"—a way for the conversation to get started—instead of actual literal questions. In fact, when someone asks you "what's up?" you don't even have to answer! Just say "What's up?" in reply.

Lesson Transcript

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Welcome to EnglishClass101.com’s “English in Three Minutes”. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn English.
Hi, how’s it going? I'm Alisha. Nice to meet you!
In this series, we’re going to learn some easy ways to ask and answer common questions in English. It’s really useful, and it only takes three minutes!
In this lesson, you’re going to learn new, more common ways to answer ask and answer the question: “How are you?” in English.
You’ve probably learned “How are you?” and “I’m fine” in textbooks before, but in the United States, people will usually ask this question and answer it in a different way.
First, let’s first review. If someone says:
“How are you?”
You can say:
“I’m fine.” -
(slow) I’m fine.
Here are some other ways to answer:
“Pretty good.” - This means about the same thing as “I’m fine”.
(slow) Pretty good.
We also have:
“Not bad.” You can use this if you are feeling just okay, or so-so.
(slow) Not bad.
Let’s look at our question again: How are you?
This is the most well-known way of asking how someone is. You could use it when you want to be polite.
But now, let’s look at some different ways to ask how someone is. These ways are more casual, and much more common.
First:
Hey, how’s it going? (slow version added)
You can answer this in many ways.
If you’re feeling good, you can say:
“Good.”
(slow) Good.
“Pretty good.”
(slow) Pretty good.
“Not bad.”
(slow) Not bad.
Once more:
“Good.”
“Pretty good.”
“Not bad.”
Here’s a tip! Even though these answers mean the same thing as “I’m fine”, you can’t answer “How’s it going?” with “I’m fine.” It will sound a bit strange.
If you’re *not* feeling good, you can say:
“Not so good”
(slow) Not so good
“Not great”
(slow) Not great.
or,
“Not so well”.
(slow) Not so well.
Be careful: If you say one of these, the other person will usually ask, “Why, what’s wrong?” to be polite. Then, you will have to explain!
Another casual, but very common version of “How are you?” is “What’s up?”
To reply, use a cheerful voice as you say:
“Not much!”
(slow) Not Much
OR
“Nothing much!
(slow) Nothing much!”
This means you’re free and able to chat.
Since “What’s up” is just another way of saying “Hello”, you can also reply with:
“Hey!” or
“Hi!”
Now it’s time for Alisha’s Advice!
A lot of the time, when we ask questions that mean “how are you?” in English, we’re not *actually* asking about the other person’s health - we’re only asking to be polite! You should think of these kinds of questions as another way of saying “Hello” - a way for the conversation to get started - instead of actual literal questions.
In fact, when someone asks you “what’s up?” you don’t even have to answer! Just say “What’s up?” in reply.
Now, do you know the difference between “What do you do?” and “What are you doing?” It’s a little tricky, but we’ll explain it simply in the next English Questions in 3 Minutes lesson! See you next time!