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The 10 Best Ways to Respond to “How is it going”

The 10 Best Ways to Respond to “How is it going”

One of the most common ways we humans greet each other is by asking “How’s it going?” We say this no matter how well we know a person, and sometimes it is a “safe” icebreaker for people who are acquaintances rather than close friends.

You might not be aware that there are multiple ways to respond when asked “How’s it going?” However, this familiar way of greeting someone can be answered in multiple ways.


“1. I’m (doing) well.”

1. I'm (doing) well

As of late, this is becoming the most common way to answer “How’s it going?” Some variations might be “I am well” or “I am well; thank you.”

Although people think this sounds like proper English, “I am well” is actually grammatically incorrect.

Why? Isn’t “well” better than the typical alternative of “good”? If you go by grammar rules, you’ll understand why it’s not.

“Well” is an adverb. That means that the word follows a verb and it describes a verb. Look at the sentence “I am well.”

“Am” is the verb, and it is a linking verb (notice that “am” does not show action). Nevertheless, many people respond to the question “How’s it going?’ with “I am well.”


2. “(I am) Good.”

2.(I am) Good

There are quite a few people who will answer the question “How’s it going?” with an enthusiastic and succinct “Good!” You might be surprised to find that this is actually the most formal way to respond to the greeting!

Again, look to grammar rules for the answer. “Good” is an adjective, which means that it describes a person, place or thing. Note many people leave of the “I am” before saying “good.”

The word “good” is describing the subject, which is “I” (the speaker). The speaker is a person, so grammatical rules are being followed correctly.

Although many educated people might second guess your answer, “I am good” is the most formal way to answer “How’s it going?”


3. “Fine.”


Fine can mean many things. The dictionary tells us that “fine” can mean “of high quality.” A more informal meaning is “very well” or “satisfactory.”

The connotation of “fine” is often “good, but could be better.” When responding to “How’s it going?” with “Fine,” one might provide this answer because he or she doesn’t want to go into detail regarding how a day is playing out.

This is a fairly common, informal way to respond to “How’s it going?”


4. “Okay.”


Much like the response of “fine,” replying “okay” when asked how things are going is often way of politely responding without giving much detail regarding the actual events of the day.

Some variations of this response include “It’s okay” or “I’m okay.”

You might also add “How’s it going for you?” This can assist you if you want to get past the initial greeting and shy away from any real details of the day.


5. “Just fine, thank you.”

5.Just fine, thank you

This is a grammatically correct and polite way to respond to “How’s it going?” You might use this response when you want to make an impression, such as when at a job interview or meeting your child’s teacher.

It is succinct, respectful, and does not offer unnecessary details.


6. “Not great.”

6.Not great

This is an informal way to respond to “How’s it going?” It is also likely not a way you truly want to reply to the question, particularly if you don’t know the person posing the question very well.

Remember that the question “How’s it going?” is basically a greeting. Social norms dictate that we give a short, fairly positive answer.

Unless you know the acquaintance fairly well, you’ll generally want to avoid the “Not great” response.


7. Not bad, but the day is young!

7. Not bad, but the day is young!

This is a humorous response that should be used before lunch. To respond with a little humor such as this is actually a great icebreaker when making conversation, and it adds a little lightheartedness to the discussion.

You may use this informal response with co-workers, or even when picking up your morning joe at the coffee shop.


8. “It could be worse!”

8.It could be worse!

Again, this informal way of responding to “How’s it going?” is somewhat lighthearted, or depending on your personality, could be a tad sarcastic.

You can use this response with a close friend or an acquaintance.

One scenario for this response that comes to mind is a patient in an emergency room upon being greeted by the doctor: “How’s it going? I see you’re going to need a few stitches.” (Patient response) “Well, it could be worse!”

This response can be used to bring a little humor on a day when things truly are not going very well!


9. “Not bad. You?”

9.Not bad. You

This is a way of politely responding to “How’s it going?” without giving too many details about your day, and it puts the onus for carrying on a conversation back on the original speaker.

You might use this informal response when you don’t know the speaker well, or if you want to be polite but simply don’t feel like carrying on much conversation.


10. “I’m blessed!”

10.I'm blessed!

Although you’ll probably hear this response in the South more than any other locale in the United States, one unique – and formal – way to respond to “How’s it going?” is to say “I’m blessed!”

This is a positive response, and it typically prompts more conversation.


Final thoughts

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are many ways to respond to the question “How’s it going?” Some are grammatically correct and formal in structure; others are very informal (and even horrible usage of grammar!)

Keep in mind – most times when people ask “How’s it going?” they are simply greeting you.

Keep your answers short and sweet; you might even try a little humor in your response!