Asking basic questions in English

It is important to understand the questions you are asking and the appropriate context.

Here we will cover need-to-know English, starting with ‘How are you?’

After you understand the introductions, you must know how to ask the right questions when you first meet someone.

In a business scenario, you may want to also include the company you work for when you address yourself…

Hello, I’m (your name) from (company name), and you?

By adding ‘and you?’ at the end, you are asking for the same information from the person you are speaking with.

How are you? How are you + doing? How do you do?

It is very common in English speaking countries to include the verb ‘To Do’ in this question. ‘How are you doing has the same meaning and formality as ‘How are you’. You can also adapt this to say ‘How do you do?’ which is usually more formal. 

How are you + doing today?

     I am very well thank you, and yourself?

Adding ‘today’ to the end of your question is an easy way to show sincerity and interest, this is useful in formal situations. 

You can answer the question ‘How are you?’ in many ways, but in a professional environment it is expected for you to say you are ‘fine’ or ‘well’ because you are being asked out of etiquette. Including ‘thank you’  in between your answer and question also shows politeness.

You can also extend ‘you’ to ‘yourself’ to sound more formal. 

I am very well thank you, how are you doing?

Alternatively, you can ask the question again in full.

How are things

    They’re good thanks, and you?

This is a commonly used phrase, meaning the same as ‘how are you?’, but in an informal manner. Because ‘things’ is a plural in this context – meaning your life in general – you would refer to it as a group, using ‘they are’ or abbreviated to ‘they’re’. 

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