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  1. #1
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    how do you do; take care

    Dear teachers,

    I've heard "How do you do" is used only when two people meet for the first time. Is that correct? Secondly, what is the appropriate answer to "How do you do?".

    What is the appropriate reply to "Take care."?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Re: how do you do; take care

    I've heard "How do you do" is used only when two people meet for the first time. Is that correct? Secondly, what is the appropriate answer to "How do you do?".

    Yes, in formal and 'well-to-do' society. The response is, "Well, thank you."

  3. #3
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    Re: how do you do; take care

    Yes, in formal and 'well-to-do' society. Only?

    The response is, "Well, thank you." OK, thanks.

  4. #4
    Charlie Bernstein is offline Senior Member
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    Re: how do you do; take care

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    I've heard "How do you do" is used only when two people meet for the first time. Is that correct? Secondly, what is the appropriate answer to "How do you do?".

    Yes, in formal and 'well-to-do' society. The response is, "Well, thank you."
    A common response to "Take care" (when it means goodbye) is: "You, too."

    David is right about "How do you do." In the U.S., it's common to just repeat the phrase back. No real answer is expected or required here.

    Regarding "well-to-do society": David is from the U.K. In the U.S., rich doesn't necessarily mean formal. For instance, Texas oil millionaires are more likely to say Howdy. Here, formality is just as common with the middle class - and with working class people who want to sound middle class.

    [I edit copy and have tutored college writing.]
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 19-Feb-2009 at 16:38.

  5. #5
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    Re: how do you do; take care

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    A common response to "Take care" (when it means goodbye) is: "You, too."

    David is right about "How do you do." In the U.S., it's common to just repeat the phrase back. No real answer is expected or required here.

    Regarding "well-to-do society": David is from the U.K. In the U.S., rich doesn't necessarily mean formal. For instance, Texas oil millionaires are more likely to say Howdy. Here, formality is just as common with the middle class - and with working class people who want to sound middle class.

    [I edit copy and have tutored college writing.]
    Thank you.

  6. #6
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    Re: how do you do; take care

    Well, in a well-to-do society the common answer to "how do you do" is "how do you do". This is becoming old-fashioned except in very formal situations.
    "how d" is soemtimes used in less formal contexts, and the answewr would be "well thanks"

  7. #7
    Searching for language is offline Senior Member
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    Re: how do you do; take care

    I've always thought that "How do you do?" is rather formal, I prefer to say "It's nice to meet you, or it's a pleasure to meet you."

  8. #8
    Charlie Bernstein is offline Senior Member
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    Re: how do you do; take care

    PS -

    And to answer your first question, yes, we only say "How do you do" on the first meeting.

  9. #9
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    Re: how do you do; take care

    Thanks all.

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