How To Respond To How Are You?....and other conversation starters!

There are some very common questions that we  hear at the start of conversations. I'm sure you have heard these questions many times, but do you know how to answer them naturally? No? Well, read on......

How are you?

Good, thanks. - polite, relaxed and informal.

Very well, thank you.- polite and formal.

Not too bad, thanks. - polite, informal, neutral.

After each of these examples it is polite to say And you? EG Good thanks. And you?

I've been better. - used when the person wants to tell the listener something that is wrong.

How are you?

I've been better.

Oh no. What's wrong?

I have just lost my job.


How's it going?

This is very common in British English and you can answer with the same responses as above. Also you can answer like this:

It's going well, thanks. And you?


What's up?

This has a different meaning in British English compared to US English. In US English people use it in a way to ask what is going on in your life. It's used in informal situations.

What's up? - informal

Not much. Just work and stuff./ Loads, actually! Work, birthdays....

In British English people use this if they think there is something wrong.

What's up?

Oh, I don't feel too good and I've got lots of work to do.


How are things with you?

This is used when someone wants to know a little bit more. Good for formal and informal situations.

How are things with you?

Good, thanks. I have just moved house and I'm going on holiday next week.


I hope you find these useful. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments box. Practise your English conversation skills for free in a trial class with me here.