I have two questions about the common phrase:

How are you doing?

  • What is the expected answer for this question?

  • I've never understood the logic of the sentence "How are you doing?" While we use "how" instead of "what" (What are you doing?) so to speak, or alternatively we could ask "How is your doing"? (in meaning how is your activity going on) What is the explanation for that?

  • 1
    "How are your doing" is incorrect. If you saw it somewhere, it's a typo. As far as the logic - it's an idiom or stock phrase. It doesn't have to have a lot of logic, it just is that way.
    – stangdon
    Dec 31, 2016 at 15:13

2 Answers 2


To answer your second question first, "How are you doing?" can be interpreted as "How is life treating you?" (which is sometimes used instead.)

There is no set response, and you can answer however you like. You can tell them about your recent gall bladder operation, or, if you are feeling uncommunicative, you can give one of many conventional responses, such as:

  • Fine. How are you?
  • Mustn't grumble.
  • Can't complain.
  • Fair to middling.

Note that "How are you doing?" is not the same as "How do you do?" The only correct response to this enquiry is another "How do you do?" No other answer is expected and none should be given. It is a meaningless formality that is observed when you are formally introduced to someone, and it is not repeated when you meet them for a second time (and subsequently).

All of the above applies to British English only. Customs elsewhere may differ.


When asking

How are you doing?
how are things going?

the expected answer is usually something positive


One can ask this question not knowing anything about the other person, or can also ask knowing that something serious has happened and you are looking for an update of some sort e.g. after a funeral or accident.

It is am idiomatic question to ask about the state of things in the recipient's life.

For your original post

How is your doing?

is not really understandable since one would not refer to one's activities as my doing instead you should use the specific "doing" in your question to be clearer.

You might ask specifically

How is your project (coming along)?
How is your pregnancy?
How is your final paper? (if you know they are in the hospital)

Do not confuse your hypothetical question

How is your doing?

with the idiomatic question

Is this your doing?
did you do this?
are you responsible for this?

  • 1
    The OP corrected a previous edit and wrote: "How is your doing"? Would you say that was grammatical? Why/why not?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 1, 2017 at 9:02
  • @Peter, thank you for your answer. As for your interpretation for "How are you doing?" as "how are things going?", this is exactly my question why when you ask about things which belong to someone then you have to use possessive word (your) i.e. "how is your doing?" (of course it's just hypothetical example in order to explain the question (That's why Mari-Lou shouldn't touch it and 'correct' it while it's written intentionally. Of course It's grammatical {why not?} but it's not in use and it's weird for use) Jan 1, 2017 at 10:56

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