Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Hi guys! Dan here for BBC Learning English with this week's Learner Question.

  • Find out what it is after this.

  • OK! This week's learner question comes from...

  • Ashfaq from Pakistan, who says, "What is the difference between these two sentences: 'How are you?' and 'How do you do?'"

  • Well, Ashfaq, "How do you do?" is quite formal and it's not used much these days.

  • You might possibly use it the first time you meet somebody for business or with somebody very, very important.

  • It's usually accompanied with a handshake.

  • The response to "How do you do?" is: "How do you do", but with a slightly different emphasis.

  • For example, - How do you do? - How do you do?"

  • Did you see the difference?

  • You could also say: "I'm pleased to meet you" or "It's very nice to meet you."

  • "How are you?" is used in both informal and formal circumstances.

  • So, usually it's quite a good question to begin a conversation with.

  • It's a question which asks about the other person's state of being.

  • But don't go into too much detail when you give the answer.

  • Standard replies include, "Very well thank you", "I'm fine thanks,"

  • And, of course, it's traditional to then return the question to the other person and ask, "And yourself?", "And you?", "How are you?"

  • Very informal greetings include, "Hey", "Hi", "Hiya", "Heya", and are often accompanied by questions such as, "What's up?", "What's going on?", and "How's things?"

  • Finally, if we're talking about formal greetings, we should also talk about formal farewells.

  • Again, these are usually accompanied with a handshake.

  • And we might say, "It was a pleasure meeting you."

  • Or "It's been great meeting you. Thank you very much for your time."

  • Thank you for your time, Ashfaq. I hope that's answered your question.

  • If anybody else out there has a question for Learners' Questions, you can email us on:

  • Please remember to include Learners' Questions in the subject box and your name and the country that you're writing from.

  • We can't answer every single question, guyswe just get too manybut we do read every single one.

  • And for more information, go to our website:

  • That's it for this week's Learners' Question. I'll see you next time.

Hi guys! Dan here for BBC Learning English with this week's Learner Question.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

A2 UK question formal accompanied learner question handshake learner

'How are you' and 'How do you do'' - Learners' Questions

  • 55683 1845
    Yukiko posted on 2019/05/12
Video vocabulary