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  1. Unregistered
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    #1

    Proper response to "How are you"

    Professor - in response to the generic question, I often hear one of the following, and I was just wondering which is correct?

    1) I'm good
    2) I'm doing good
    3) I'm well
    4) I'm doing well
    or
    5) I'm fine.

    I've always thought it was "I'm well", but this is at least in part due to the Spanish translation of "Estoy bien". Please help!!! I don't want to sound ignorant.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
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      • United States

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 13
    #2

    Re: Proper response to "How are you"

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Professor - in response to the generic question, I often hear one of the following, and I was just wondering which is correct?

    1) I'm good
    2) I'm doing good
    3) I'm well
    4) I'm doing well
    or
    5) I'm fine.

    I've always thought it was "I'm well", but this is at least in part due to the Spanish translation of "Estoy bien". Please help!!! I don't want to sound ignorant.
    Here in the United States, it is common to hear all of these answers, and I think they are all acceptable. In my English class, I usually teach my beginning students to answer this question with "I'm fine, thanks. How are you?" Then as they become more comfortable in English, they can answer in all those other ways too.
    "I'm fine" and "I'm well" are more formal responses than the others, but all are fine to use, in my opinion.

    I hope that helps!

    Martha

  2. jackolantern's Avatar

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 94
    #3

    Re: Proper response to "How are you"

    They actually all work.

    While strict English (if I am remembering correctly) tells you to say "I am doing well", you will actually hear most natives (in the USA at least) say "I am doing good" or "I am good". There really is no set response like in many other languages.

    A note to make here is that it is common courtesy to ask the other person "And how are you?" after they ask how you are doing. Many people will think it is rude if you do not, even though it is a formality and you are not expected to actually say how you are doing (and it can actually be seen as "low-class" to say anything but "good" or "well" in response if you do not know the person fairly well).

    I am not a teacher, but I am a native speaker, so a teacher may want to give their input.

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