I'm confused between two kind of greetings in English, "How do you do ? And "How are you ?

I googled for it and found this:

How do you do?

This is not a question. It is another, very formal way of saying "Hello." It is also very British. The correct response is; "Pleased to meet you." or "How do you do." or just "Hello." We only really use it the first time we meet someone.

----How are you?

This is a question, but the person asking it doesn't really want to know the truth about your aching back or hangover. A polite response is; "I'm fine thanks. And you?"


But I want to know are they really different in the meaning and use in our daily conversation, especially in terms of British and American English?

  • What English are you asking about? British? Irish? American? It varies from country to country.
    – Mick
    Oct 23, 2016 at 4:27
  • I'm talking about British and American English
    – yubraj
    Oct 23, 2016 at 4:38
  • How do you do? Has the answer, how do you do? Maybe, there are some differences between The British English and The American English. Oct 23, 2016 at 4:38
  • @Alan Carmack But my question is about the difference between 'How do you do and How are you, the previous one is only about 'how do you'. Why duplicate?
    – yubraj
    Oct 23, 2016 at 5:07
  • Because at least one answer there talks about both greetings, the appropriate responses, and the differences. Oct 23, 2016 at 5:10

1 Answer 1


If you were being introduced to the Queen, she would greet you with "How do you do, Mr Sharma?" The correct response would be "How do you do, Ma'am?" Telling her about your recent liver transplant would be a faux pas.

"How are you?" is often used in the Irish Republic and has the same meaning. In the UK, it carries a connotation of mild interest, and you could respond with "I'm fine. How are you?" Don't expect an answer.

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