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    • Join Date: Jan 2009
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    another question

    What's the difference between 'how is it going?' and 'how is it coming?'

  1. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
    English Teacher
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    • Join Date: Jul 2006
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    Re: another question

    The difference is mainly in the attitude of the speaker:

    [to a child making a wooden ship] 'How's it going?' - the speaker is interested in progress, but probably doesn't mind if there hasn't been much/any

    [to a student following a new course] 'How's it going?' - the speaker is interested how the person spoken to feels about progress

    [to a subordinate] 'How's it coming? I need that report by lunchtime.' - the speaker is interested in progress towards a goal that directly affects him/her

    Of course, in actual cases the amount (and balance) of interest may vary. A parent speaking to a toddler of limited artistic value may say 'How's it coming?' as a means of encouraging the child - making him/her think that the completion of the painting matters to the adult; and if it's nearly Someone's bedtime the parent might say 'How's it coming?' with a real interest in its completion.

    That's the way I hear it. Other teachers may feel there's less of a difference than I detect.


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