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Thread: How do you do?

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    #1

    How do you do?

    Hello,

    I have learned that the expression “How do you do” is a very formal way of greeting. Not much used nowadays in everyday language.

    I would like to know if the question “How do you do?” meaning “How are you?” is correct and if it is ever used.

    Thank you.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: How do you do?

    “How do you do” is a very formal way of greeting, not much used nowadays in everyday language.

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    #3

    Re: How do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    “How do you do” is a very formal way of greeting, not much used nowadays in everyday language.
    Yes, I am aware of the little use of this expression nowadays. What about my question, can you tell me if this expression was ever used as a synonym for "How are you?" ?

    Thank you

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: How do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by ratóncolorao View Post
    Yes, I am aware of the little use of this expression nowadays. What about my question, can you tell me if this expression was ever used as a synonym for "How are you?" ?

    Thank you
    Yes, it was used by a certain section of society.
    Last edited by bhaisahab; 12-Nov-2012 at 23:38.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: How do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Yes, it was used, by a certain section of society.
    It never had exactly the same meaning as 'How are you?' The response to 'How do you do?' was 'How do you do?'

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    #6

    Re: How do you do?

    Since I was never in that certain section of society, I'm not sure about this. Isn't a modern equivalent "Pleased to meet you"? I had the impression it was used upon first introductions, not upon seeing someone you already knew. Is that right?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #7

    Re: How do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Since I was never in that certain section of society, I'm not sure about this. Isn't a modern equivalent "Pleased to meet you"? I had the impression it was used upon first introductions, not upon seeing someone you already knew. Is that right?
    That's my understanding. It's just something to say when you are introduced to someone for the first time.

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    #8

    Re: How do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Since I was never in that certain section of society, I'm not sure about this. Isn't a modern equivalent "Pleased to meet you"? I had the impression it was used upon first introductions, not upon seeing someone you already knew. Is that right?
    Yes.

    But maybe this is only a special usage in Britain and American; a friend of mine from the UAE very often says HOW DO YOU DO to me.

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    #9

    Re: How do you do?

    I must be from that particular section of society, because I still say "How do you do?" to anyone whom I am meeting either for the first time or after a long interval. The correct response, as 5jj says, remains "How do you do?" It means "How do you fare/how do you prosper?", so it really is the same as "How are you doing?"
    I must be getting old....
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

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