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I have been reading a novel (Sometimes it Lasts) for sometime now. And I read something that did not sound natural to me, so here I am to get some help on it.

In the novel:

“Yeah, he did” was Dad’s only response. “How’s things going for you, little girl? That boy still treating you right?”

As per my opinion it should have be:

“Yeah, he did” was Dad’s only response. “How’re things going for you, little girl? That boy still treating you right?”

As her dad was asking about things so there should have be are instead of is. Have I made the sense?

  • I guess that this usage in the novel is related, if not identical, to the one explained in this question: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/26382/…. – Damkerng T. Jun 18 '14 at 3:54
  • Thank you for your quick response. I will check it soon and if I find anything that I could not understand I will ping you! – user62015 Jun 18 '14 at 4:02
  • @DamkerngT. I have checked the discussion. They were telling that some people do not follow grammar rules. And it is a part of a non-standard English. I have asked because I wanted to know, was it completely right to use "is" with "things" or it should have be "how are things"? – user62015 Jun 18 '14 at 10:15
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    I think it's better to avoid mixing up Standard with right or correct (and by the same token, Non-Standard with wrong or incorrect). Normally, we say "How are things ...?" in standard English. – Damkerng T. Jun 18 '14 at 10:22
  • @DamkerngT. Thank you so much! I wanted to hear that. I am done now. I always use "are" with "things" and I will keep it going. By the way when do you sleep? When I went to bed last night (as per my timezone) you were awake and you are still here!!! Just kidding. I appreciate your work and dedication to it. – user62015 Jun 18 '14 at 10:28
4

You are correct. The reason that you will run into this in conversation is because of several related questions:

How's it going?
How's everything?
How's he doing?

Since there are numerous related phrases, it's fairly common to mix the number and come up with "how's things?" Probably because it's fairly common for humans to change their minds about what they are going to say while in the middle of saying it.

2

You are correct. Often authors intentionally have characters use more informal variations for the purpose of characterization.

  • "How’s things going for you" is not a grammatical mistake. It is a common, very informal variation. – Sydney Jun 19 '14 at 0:43

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