How are you vs How are you doing? What’s the difference?

How are you and how are you doing essentially mean the same thing but can have subtle differences in meaning. “How are you doing” is slightly more informal than How are you.

Hey, How are you doing?

How are you today John?  

How are you?

“How are you?” can be used to inquire about someone’s health and wellbeing. It can also be used as a greeting (like “Hello”) in English.

“How are you?” can be used in informal and formal settings and is a very common way to start a conversation in English.

Learn more about how to reply to How are you here.

How are you doing? 

“How are you doing?” can be used to ask about a person’s health and well-being. It can also be used as a greeting or for an update on the progress someone is making in a task.

“How are you doing?” is usually used in informal settings but can also be used in formal settings when asking for an update on a task.

How are you? How are you doing? Differences

The differences between How are you and How are you doing are subtle.

In most cases, they can be used interchangeably such as asking about the condition of a person and as an informal greeting. 

Here are some differences:

“How are you?” can be used to begin a formal email whereas you should not use “How are you doing?”.

“How are you doing?” is often understood to actually be an inquiry into someone’s health and well-being so the answer to the question is often something like “good” or “great”. “How are you” can sometimes be understood as a greeting and therefore no response on your wellbeing is needed.

“How are you doing?” can be used in a different context where the person is asking “How are you getting on?” or “What is your progress?”. You can’t use “How are you?” in this context.

(Teacher gives student exercises)

(10 minutes later)

Teacher: How are you doing?

Student: Hmm ok, I am not sure about number 4.