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The response to ‘How do you do?’ is not ‘I am fine’: See the correct reply and others you got wrong

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English Language proficiency, both oral and written, is a very important tool in the art of communication between humans of different cultures and dialects, especially in English-speaking regions. For this reason, it is imperative that people of African Anglophone countries like Nigeria, know at least the basic grammar rules, their uses, and how to apply them in sentences.

An adequate grasp of these will come in handy for you in day-to-day exchange with local or foreign persons. And one of the basics of the English Language is the standard greeting procedure.

Good morning/good afternoon/good evening

When a person greets you “Good morning”

Response: ‘Morning’(wrong)

‘How are you?’(wrong)

‘Good morning to you, too. ’(correct)

‘Good morning to you, too. ’ is the formal response to the greeting, the same rule applies to ‘Good afternoon and ‘Good evening’. If it’s an informal conversation, “So what’s up with you? ” is appropriate as a follow-up to the response.

How do you do? 

This is one of the most confusing follow-up greeting questions, not because of the question but the response to it. There is the increasingly popular answer which is “I’m doing fine” or “I’m fine”. But they are both wrong.

How do you do? ” is the correct reply to the “How do you do?” question.

It’s awkward, right? But that’s the right response, or simply say ‘Nice to meet you.

Now, did you notice that I used ‘I am fine’/‘I’m fine’ and not ‘Am fine’? Yes, that’s because ‘am’ is an auxiliary verb, which means that it can’t stand definitely on its own and requires a preceding or succeeding ‘I’ to complete it to make sense, for example: ‘I am fine, ‘Who am I? ’

Guess what! (it doesn’t have a question mark): there are other ways to appreciate something or someone instead of the cliche ‘Thank you. Phrases like, ‘I really do appreciate this gesture’, ‘Thank you plenty’, ‘Oh, I’m blushingly thankful for this, are suitable.