I am aware that common answers to

"What's going on?"

are phrases like:

"Not much. How about you?"


"Nothing much, you?",

but sometimes people use it in a manner like "hi" and you know that there isn't enough time to respond to it with the two above phrases. For instance, when they're just passing by you without stopping. In such cases, can we respond with the same phrase?

Example: Do the examples below sound natural?

He: What's going on? You: What's going on?


He: What's up? You: What's up?


He: How's it going? You: How's it going?

And if not, how do you handle such situations yourself?

  • 1
    These "greetings" can be little more than sounds to acknowledge the other person; they aren't uttered for their meaning, and responses aren't expected to be literally responsive. "S'up?" "Yo." Often, people don't really want to know the answer to questions like "what's going on?" or "How are you doing?" It's just an exchange of meaningless canned expressions, and statistical probability says sometimes both people will use the same expression. If someone consciously selects the same phrase as a response, it could even be a way to express that it's meaningless, so don't read anything into it.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 2, 2017 at 20:35
  • youtube.com/watch?v=Qls9jUK9s3w
    – The Photon
    Apr 3, 2017 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


Yes, I have heard it in exactly the scenario you describe. If you did it all the time as a formula though, it might seem a little weird. We usually try to add some variety. Examples (AmE):

"What's going on?" -- "Not much, you?"

"What's up?" -- "Hey!" or "Hey, how are you?"

"How's it going?" -- "Great! You?", "Pretty good, you?" or "All right, you?"

I'm also used to hearing:

"How are you?" for the initial greeting.

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