"Hello, old soak," came the loud and carefree hail. "How go things?"

— Isaac Asimov

May this seem, maybe, grammatically proper?

How goes it?

What say you?

And, may these seem, maybe, grammatically proper?


The following two show normal subject/verb agreement:

How go things?

Subject: things
Verb: go

Things go (how?).

How goes it?

Subject: it
Verb: goes

It goes (how?).

The next one is grammatical but old fashioned; but it shows normal subject-verb agreement:

What say you?

Subject: you
Verb: say

You say (what?).

In today's English you would usually say

What do you say?

You do say (what?).

Might I comment on a sentence in your answer that uses a highly unnatural style and choice of words? –one which you use over and over in your questions?

May this seem, maybe, grammatically proper?

This sentence is entirely unnatural, and probably no native speaker would use this. Just use the verb to be and stop using the modal may, the verb seem, and the word maybe (although this last thing is the least unnatural).

Therefore just ask:

Is this grammatically correct?

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  • 1
    I would say "What say you?" is more "What do you have to say?", a minor point. – Peter May 20 '16 at 3:27
  • @Peter yeah, thanks. I hadn't thought about that. I think it can have that force, but not always. – Alan Carmack May 20 '16 at 3:57
  • @AlaneCarmack Let's see whether I got it. "How go things?" is old fashion and in modern English, which I learned, "How do things go?" is correct and the former not, isn't it? Or is it still possible and common to use it? – user33000 May 20 '16 at 7:29
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    @sina How do things go? is not idiomatic as a greeting. You can say How are things going? or even How are things? The expression How go things? may be old fashioned but native speakers still use it sometimes. How goes it? is probably more common. – Alan Carmack May 20 '16 at 16:42
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    Also, "How's it going?", "How are things?" get used a lot. "Hey, what do you say?" is an much older informal way of saying "Hi!", and then there's always "How you doin' ? – Peter May 20 '16 at 17:40

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