The teachers at school teach us these phrases that we can use instead of "How are you?" which of them are natural English and commonly used and which are uncommon?

I know surely that "How do you do?" is just a very formal "Hello!" but somehow our teachers not know of this!

Also "What's up?" and "What is up?" are synonyms, the latter, I think, is rare and uncommon.

I also think that "Wazap?" and "Wassup?" are too informal and mostly black people use them.

P.s. I'm not in school.

  • How's it hangin?
    – TimR
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 11:02
  • 1
    I have never heard anybody say "How wags the world?" and the only references I can find to it are either extremely old or from people who apparently used the same Russian textbook.
    – stangdon
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 11:08
  • 2
    "What gives?" is in use but it means something completely different; it is not a greeting, but more like a complaint. You would use it like, "Hey, the concert was supposed to start at 3, but it's four-thirty now and the doors still aren't open. What gives?"
    – stangdon
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 11:10
  • 3
    "What's the rumpus?" sounds weird as a greeting to me, because rumpus means "a disturbance, an uproar", but maybe it's in use in other English-speaking countries. "How far?" just sounds bizarre. If somebody said that to me as a greeting, I would give them a blank stare and a "Huh?"
    – stangdon
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 11:13

1 Answer 1


Informal, common

What's new?

What's up?

What's happening?

How are you getting along? (not standard but not uncommon)

How goes it?

How's life?

How are things?

How's it going?

Neither formal nor informal, common

How are you?

How are you doing?

Formal, common

How do you do? (very formal)

I have never heard anyone say in greeting:

What gives?*


What's the rumpus?

How wags the world?

How is the world using you?

How fares it?

How's by you?

  • What gives? - This is a question you ask someone when you want them to explain something. "The microwave is disgusting, what gives?" "This mail you handed me is already open, what gives?"
  • 1
    One thought I had about "How are you getting along?" is that it's sometimes used when you know the other person has just gone through some trying ordeal, such as a major illness, or the death of a close relative. It's a way of asking how the person is handling the crisis.
    – J.R.
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 15:16
  • How do you do? is a greeting and not a question, although the question mark belongs there. Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 16:40

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