(Very) Casual Greetings by Jacquelyn

Today I want to write a short blog about casual “real life” greetings in English.

Although we’ve practiced greetings such as: “Hello, it’s nice to meet you” and “It’s a pleasure to meet you” many times, there are still a number of casual phrases that many English speakers use when greeting each other.


「Hello, it’s nice to meet you(こんにちは、はじめまして)」とか「It’s a pleasure to meet you(あなたに会えて嬉しい)」


There are two main types of greeting questions that we often ask each other – “How” questions and “” questions.



“How” questions generally ask about the other person’s feeling or condition:
Here are some common “How” question greetings:



・How’s it going?
・How are you doing?
・How are you?
・How’s everything?
・How’s life?
You can answer these questions by saying things like:



How’s it going? —> Good(いいよ!)

How are you doing? —> I’m doing fine, thank you. (うまくやってるよ、ありがとう!)

How are you? —> Pretty good(すごく元気だよ)

How’s everything? —> Not too bad(そう悪くないよ)

How’s life? —> Great! (最高だよ!)


“What” questions generally ask about news or information:

Here are some common “What” question greetings:




What are you up to?
What have you been up to lately?

What’s up?
What’s new?
What’s going on?

What’s happening?
You can answer these questions by saying things like:



What are you up to? —> Well, today I am shopping for a present for my mother.


What have you been up to lately? —> Oh, just working.(んー、ただ、仕事をしてるよ)

What’s up? —> Not much, you? (何にもないよ、君は?)

What’s new? —> I just joined an English conversation school!(英会話学校に通い始めたよ)

What’s going on? —> I just finished work and now I’m going to my yoga class.(ちょうど仕事が終わってこれからヨガスクールに行くよ)

What’s happening? —> Not much, I’m on my way to the supermarket. How about you?



Often times, however, when we ask “What” style greetings we answer that nothing is going on or nothing is new in our life when we are in a hurry. (I know it sounds funny, right!)



For example, if you are a student and you are walking down the hallway going to class and your friend passes you in the hallway, he or she might say, “what’s up?”.

At this time, it would be natural to say, “Not much, you?”, because you are walking to class and you don’t have time to stand in the hallway and talk to your friend about your life.

例えば、あなたが学生で、授業に行く玄関を歩いている時に友達とすれ違ったら「What’s up?」と言われたとしましょう。



So, many times, even though the question is asking for news or information, we don’t say very much, because it’s more implied as a way of saying “hello” rather than really asking for more information.

Therefore, answers such as these, would be fine.




> Not much
> Nothing much
> Same old, same old (this means nothing has changed in your life)


One exception, though, is when we do have a lot of time, such as when your lesson partner asks you “What’s new?” during your lesson.

In this situation we are sitting down in a relaxed environment and we have a lot of time to talk.

And as lesson partners, we genuinely are interested.

Therefore, it would be appropriate to go more into detail about what’s happening in your life.

でも例外はありますよ。レッスン中にレッスン・パートナーがあなたに「What’s new?」と聞いたときです。








One last point is how these phrases sound when spoken at a high speed.



How’s it going? —> sounds like “howzit goin”

How are you doing? —> sounds like “howya doin”

How are you? —> sounds like “how are ya”

What are you up to? —> sounds like “what are ya up to”

What’s up? —> sounds like “wassup” or “sup”

What’s going on? —> “what’s goin on”

What’s happening? —> “what’s hap’nin”


I hope this clears up any confusion that you may have about casual style greetings and I hope you will find it helpful the next time you see your friend.



See ya!





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