Is “I’m fine, thank you. And you?” a good greeting?

Greetings – Be Creative

So, I was teaching an online spoken English class yesterday from my center here in Chennai and we were practicing “small talk”. I greeted one of my students with “How’s it going?” and she replied with this oft repeated reply that non native English speakers typically use – “I’m fine, thanks. And you?”

You may wonder, what is wrong with “I’m fine, thank you. And you?” . In fact, a lot of spoken English teachers teach this as one of the first phrases in their class.

There is no problem with it grammatically, of course. The concern is more of perception. Native speakers don’t use this phrase. This has become a phrase that folks who have learnt English as a second language almost exclusively use. I have seen folks use this in a pretty robotic way. This is a phrase that is ingrained in a lot of my students from their earlier encounters with learning English.

Most native speakers will be polite when they encounter this phrase and smile and say, “Pretty good, thank you”. However, there is a high likelihood of them thinking in the back of their minds that this person’s English is probably not that good.

There are so many other ways to reply to this that will make one sound a lot more interesting and creative. A greeting is a way to show positivity and make yourself interesting so that the conversation continues.

Consider something a bit more creative, such as :

How is it going?

Living the dream dude, you?

How was your weekend?


How are you?

Couldn’t be better! You?

If you want to get some additional ideas that you can use, please check out the article or video on greetings.

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