Is or can be

Have you been, Jack?

short for

How have you been, Jack?

  • 1
    No, never. "Have you been?" could be understood to be "Have you ever been there?" completely different meaning.
    – Peter
    Nov 11, 2016 at 9:34
  • "How have you been?" means, very technically, "What has been the nature of your existence?" "Have you been?" literally would just mean "Have you existed?" It doesn't mean the same thing and is not something a native speaker would ever say.
    – stangdon
    Nov 11, 2016 at 15:24
  • The question should be taken in spoken contexts, namely greetings. But, I think I got the answer. Thanks you.
    – learner
    Nov 11, 2016 at 18:19
  • 1
    Depending on the accent, "How've" (a contraction of "how have") might be spoken as "Hav".
    – Hellion
    Nov 11, 2016 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


In written text, no: "Have you been" is not a greeting query. It could be used to confirm or ascertain a previous state, although most likely the "been" would be left off:

John has never been to England.
Have you been?
-or, more commonly-
Have you?

The standard greeting is, as you say, "How have you been?" In spoken discourse, however, it's very common to contract "How have" to "How've", and in some accents or in rapid, under-enunciated speech, it's quite possible to lose some or even all of the rounding on the ow sound, so the word comes out sounding closer to "have" than "how've".

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