Curious Question #8 – How have you been?

How have you been? When you greet someone you can say, “How are you?” and you can say “How have you been?” A smart listener asks, “what is the difference between “How are you?” and “How have you been?”


Expressions included in the learning materials

How are you? This is for everyone and is always OK!

Other ways we can say “How are you?” more casually and some usual responses

How is it going?” or more slang:

How’s it goin’?” Some possible responses:

I’m good/well/fine.” “It’s going.” “It’s going alright.” “How are you doing?

or more slang: “How’re ya doin’?” Some possible responses: “I’m good/well.” “I’m doing good/well/fine.” “What’s up?” or more slang: “Sup?

Some possible responses: “Not much.” “Nothing special.” “Nothing.” “What’s new?

The difference between “How have you been?” and “How are you?” Like I said above, “How are you?” is good with everyone all the time.

Do not ask “How have you been?” to someone you do not know well. You ask questions like “How have you been?” with people you know, friends and family, and closer colleagues. You can use it with any person you are close to.

It is important to not use “How have you been?” with someone you do not know or only know a small bit.

If you ask a friend “How have you been?” some amount of time should have passed. I would not ask a good friend “How have you been?” if I saw them yesterday. I would probably ask a really good friend, who I see often, “How have you been” if I hadn’t seen them in a week. For other people I would wait at least two weeks.

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Podcast/ Lipservice: Culips ESL Podcast