We bet you read the latter sentence in Joey Tribbiani"s voice. There are many more differences than that!

1 November 2021 - Ellis


Most likely, you ask your conversation partners - foreign friends, English-speaking colleagues, or just new acquaintances - how they are doing on a daily basis. But are you sure you"re doing this correctly?

While "How are you?" and "How are you doing?" in theory might have the same meaning, you might be surprised with how their usage differs in practice, depending on the tone và context of the conversation, as well as its participants.

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You may wonder why we didn"t địa chỉ cửa hàng "How bởi you do?" khổng lồ this comparison. To take this off the table right away, it is worth mentioning that the expression that most of us consider being a question, in fact, is not.

It is a fixed phrase in the formal English language that had been in use for a long time as a commonplace greeting & a strictly official one (think of white-tie-and-tails official). Native English speakers most often use it instead of "Hello!", but it also sounds a bit old-fashioned (just lượt thích in that Steve Buscemi meme, yes).

To avoid mistakes in the field, let"s start small. In this post, we"ll help you figure out the difference between "How are you?" & "How are you doing?", when to use & how to answer them, as well as which one you should use in business correspondence.

"How are you?" is a more personalized expression that focuses specifically on a person"s condition - their mood, state of health, or general well-being. However, it is a more formal form than "How are you doing?" và is usually used when speaking lớn a person you"ve met for the first time or someone you aren"t particularly close with.

While "How are you?" is already a question that requires an answer (in contrast to lớn "How vị you do?"), there is a certain subtlety here, too. Fortunately, there aren’t as many of them as in French.

By asking this question, a person does not intend to listen khổng lồ the details of one"s personal life - this is just a common form of starting a conversation, an alternative to a polite - but still formal - greeting, and nothing more.

So, how should you answer "How are you?" in a polite manner while also staying within the boundaries of your acquaintance? It is worth noting that "How are you?" should never be answered negatively or in too much detail.

"Great," "Fine, thanks," và "Couldn"t complain" are all appropriate responses. Ideally, the answer should be followed by a corresponding "How are you?", "How about you?" or a quick "And you?" to keep the chit-chat as polite as possible.

I"m fine, thanks. How are you? - This is by far one of the most socially acceptable answers & a basic size of social interaction that does not require any further details, regardless of your current life circumstances.Never better! & you? - The fact that the response lacks detail does not mean you cannot express any emotions at all - especially if you"re in a good mood.Could be better. How about you? - On the other hand, if you are having "one of those days," it"s okay to chia sẻ it with the other person if they seem lớn have a tough day as well, offering some sort of a quick yet friendly commiseration or a bit of support. However, it is crucial lớn read the room to avoid creating an impression of an attention-seeker.


While "How are you?" asks for a statement of a person"s condition, "How are you doing?" asks for a more detailed answer. This is a more casual form of greeting that can also mean "How’s it going?", "How"s your day been so far?" - aimed khổng lồ find out how things are in general or whether everything is fine.

According khổng lồ a forum discussion at English Language & Usage Stack Exchange, the difference may also vary depending on the region.

Thus, while "How are you?" can be considered a bland greeting for someone you haven"t seen for a while, "How are you doing?" spoken in full (as opposed to being shortened lớn "Howyadoin?") may be an actual inquiry. The latter usually occurs when there is some expectation that the subject might not be doing well.

In practice, this means that the word "doing" in the question marks the greeting as very informal, even conversational, & the greeter as a peer - a close colleague, a friend, or maybe a family member.

In some contexts, "How are you doing?" can also imply questions such as "How are you faring?" or "Do you need anything?". For example:

How are you doing with this puzzle?I"ve heard about the diagnosis. How are you doing?Congratulations on a new job position! How are you doing?


"How are you doing?" should be answered positively - just lượt thích "How are you?", but this one allows for a more honest & possibly more detailed response if you are close enough with the person asking.

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When answering this question, you bởi not need lớn worry about the fact that the phrase "How are you doing?" contains a verb in the Present Continuous tense, trying lớn come up with an answer with a verb in this khung as well. You can give a simple reply, such as:

I"m good, thank you. How about you? - In fact, replying with "good" isn"t grammatically correct either, but this is widely used in colloquial speech.

However, close friends and family members most frequently would ask, "How are you doing?" with a direct intention to hear a full, thoughtful answer from you, not just a polite one.

As a result, if you answer them with a short bình luận "Fine, thanks" - the same way you replied lớn "How are you?" - they may just ask it again because you haven"t answered their question at all.

However, the phrase “how are you doing” functions both as a question & as a fixed phrase greeting. Here are some useful tips proved by experience to lớn help you distinguish the question from the greeting:

A person was walking past somewhere, saying "How are you doing" for appearance"s sake, & went on without waiting for an answer.You"ve heard a mumbled “Howyoudoin?” shouted from someone on the go or just waving their hand in greeting.Someone asks you with an affirmative intonation, not a questioning one.

Depending on the word you put an emphasis on when speaking, these phrases can also convey different, unique meanings.

For example, while "How are you?" can be used as a size of a versatile greeting, an accented "How are you?" would have a more personal, sincere, & even heartfelt tone, allowing you to lớn express concern.

When it comes to the other phrase, a straightforward, unassuming "How are you doing?" can be converted into a more intriguing one when putting an emphasis on "How are you doing?" - thanks khổng lồ Joey Tribbiani, you already have a clear understanding of how to lớn say it properly.


When used colloquially, the differences between these two phrases may seem invisible or too insignificant khổng lồ bother. However, when comprising a business email, you might wonder which one will look more professional and appropriate for the context.

While both phrases are suitable enough for work-related correspondence, it is better khổng lồ stick lớn a more generic "How are you?", especially if you vì chưng not know the receiver very well. "How are you doing?" can seem a little too friendly in a formal context.

Moreover, it is completely okay lớn leave "How are you?" unanswered when writing a reply lớn the email (or when using other online means of communication) & move directly to lớn the email"s main subject.

You may want khổng lồ avoid starting an email with any of these phrases, as they might seem too casual or even ambiguous. Fortunately, you don"t necessarily have khổng lồ stick to lớn them - there are plenty of ways khổng lồ compose an thư điện tử using alternative greetings but still staying polite and formal.

I hope you’re having a great weekend / productive week / upbeat day.I hope you’ve had your coffee already. / Are the ideas flowing along with the coffee?I enjoyed your social media post / tweet / picture.

This is also a good practice to refer to shared experiences, such as industry events or specialized workshops attended earlier, to make the message more personalized - just make sure that such a chú ý is relevant khổng lồ the topic you"re going lớn discuss further in the email.


As you can see, the difference between "How are you?" và "How are you doing?" is not as insignificant as it might seem at first glance - the exact same words can gain a different meaning when spoken, depending on how well you know the person speaking, their intonations and accents, as well as the overall context of the conversation.

Don"t worry if you"ve realized that there is a difference between these two phrases only today - language learning is a life-long process, and you are now ready to lớn apply this knowledge in practice.

For example, you can start by watching English movies or listening to stories narrated by native speakers - we"ve got plenty of them on the tuygiangho.vn app. This way, you will not only get more familiar with the real-life usage of these phrases, but you’ll also learn more variations lớn answer them.