"How do you do?" old school expression?

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Williamyh

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Hi Everybody,

In my little time, teachers always taught us to say "How do you do?" for greeting, however when I grew up, I never hear people say "How do you do?" in movies and in daily life.....I just want to know anybody would use "How do you do?" for greeting now? is it an old school expression? Please advise.

W
 

Williamyh

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I don't know that it is "old school", but it is formal. It is the way I would greet someone on the first meeting.

I am a not native speaker, but everytime I went to America, I got in the shop, sales clerks just said "How's it going?", "How are you?","How are you doing?", but I never heard that they would say "How do you do?" to me, I just wonder the new generation would still say "How do you do?" on the first meeting? Please advise.
 

Tdol

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I wouldn't use it as a greeting; it's for formal introductions.
 

emsr2d2

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I've never heard it during visits to America, nor in American TV or films. I would say that it's a particularly BrE expression.

As previously stated, it's not a greeting as such, but at formal parties or business meetings, when people meet for the first time, they are likely to shake hands and simply say "How do you do?" It doesn't require a response - it's almost a statement, rather than a question.
 

crazYgeeK

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Is it impolite to start the conversation without replying when someone say to me "How do you do" ?
Can we reply with that statement "How do you do" or simply say thanks ?

Thank you !
 

emsr2d2

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Is it impolite to start the conversation without replying when someone say to me "How do you do" ?
Can we reply with that statement "How do you do" or simply say thanks ?

Thank you !

I wouldn't recommend saying nothing at all in response. "Thanks" doesn't work as it's not really an answer.

Most people would probably just repeat "How do you do?" back to the other person then get on with the conversation. It's an odd question, because even though it means "How are you?", people very rarely say "Fine, thank you" in response.
 

buggles

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"How do you do?" has become corrupted over time and has become simply, "Howdo".
This is used as a greeting in informal situations, but it's not a question - it's just another way to say, "Hello" or "Hi". I suspect that this is specific to BrE.

The usual response to "Howdo" is "Howdo"!

buggles (not a teacher)
 

emsr2d2

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"How do you do?" has become corrupted over time and has become simply, "Howdo".
This is used as a greeting in informal situations, but it's not a question - it's just another way to say, "Hello" or "Hi". I suspect that this is specific to BrE.

The usual response to "Howdo" is "Howdo"!

buggles (not a teacher)

Dare I add that this is a somewhat regional variation (Northern)! I've never heard a native of London or the Home Counties say it.
 

buggles

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Dare I add that this is a somewhat regional variation (Northern)! I've never heard a native of London or the Home Counties say it.


You certainly dare - and it probably is! :)
 

Ouisch

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In AmE, "How do you do?" is typically used as a greeting while shaking hands in a formal situation - a business meeting (one of those meetings where everyone involved is wearing suits and ties) or when greeting folks that you haven't previously met while standing in the receiving line at a wedding or funeral.

In less formal situations, "how do you do?" would sound very stilted and it is more appropriate to say something like "Nice to meet you" or "How's it going?" or "Hi, how are you?"
 

~Mav~

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I've never heard it during visits to America, nor in American TV or films. I would say that it's a particularly BrE expression.

As previously stated, it's not a greeting as such, but at formal parties or business meetings, when people meet for the first time, they are likely to shake hands and simply say "How do you do?" It doesn't require a response - it's almost a statement, rather than a question.

It's interesting. I was taught that the polite way was to repeat "How do you do?" in response. By the way, does "Mr. and Mrs. Git" ring a bell? ;-) It's unforgettable how John Cleese said (at about 0:40, in this video) "How do you do?". :mrgreen: (And the nun at the end: "I preferred the dirty version." :lol: )
 

Tdol

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Dare I add that this is a somewhat regional variation (Northern)! I've never heard a native of London or the Home Counties say it.

I have heard it used in London, but as an imported term. ;-)
 
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