When I first started learning English as my second language, I was taught that when you greet someone you can say stuff like:

"Hey, how are you [doing]?"

and the normal response would be:

"I'm doing alright (or pretty much any sentence with the same meaning). What about you?"

However, in practice, I found out that people tend to use phrases like,

"Hey, you Okay?" or "Hey, you alright?"

and I'm not sure what the proper response would be. I usually find myself saying something like, "I'm alright. Thanks" (I figured, saying "I'm alright. How about you?" wasn't really the proper response). But I feel like, by saying that, I'm being inconsiderate (I feel like I have to ask them how they're doing). What are some good responses that also ask about the listener as well?


All these phrases, in practice, are completely synonymous.

You Okay?


You alright?

Are usually (at least in the UK) used to mean

How are you doing?

Therefore, any reply you've listed above would work

I'm alright thanks, [what about] you?

I'm Okay thanks, [what about] you?

I'm doing pretty well, [how about] you?

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This rather depends on whether you are in the UK or USA. "Hey" is quite a casual remark in the USA, but is used as an interjection in the UK, so most commonly used as: "Hey! What are you doing?" (with an implied meaning of 'stop it').

In the USA "Hey!" as a single statement is frequently used where someone in the UK would say "Hi" (informal) or "Hello" (slightly more formal).

So, none of your examples would be safe to use in the UK - as many people say: "Hay is for horses."

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  • "Hey" is very common greeting in the UK and is used as "Hello" or "Hi". It can also be used as an interjection, but I wouldn't say it is only used as such. – Gamora Jun 17 '19 at 12:39
  • "Hey" is NOT common in the UK - it is generally considered rude. – Mike Brockington Jun 17 '19 at 13:39
  • I live in the UK and have done all my life and I wouldn't consider it rude, just informal. – Gamora Jun 17 '19 at 13:40

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