YESNYOU – Hello, how do you do?

Hello all,

Welcome to the News, Noticias, section of our site!

My name is Adrian Tansley, one of the YES trainers, and I would like to say…

How do you do?

Have you ever heard the expression ‘How do you do?’?  Do I really want to know how you are and how you do things  when I say this?

Not really…

Have you ever thought about where this expression came from or why we say it? Well I have, so here’s a quick summary!

This expression appears in John Foxe’s ‘The Book of Martyrs’, which was first published in 1563. At that time people used to say ‘how do you?’ to ask about someone’s health. It was exactly like saying ‘how are you?’ today.

But, why do we use the ‘do’ to ask how people are?

Well this started in the 14th century when ‘do’ meant ‘to thrive’ or ‘to prosper’ – so we could say that the earliest forms of this expression really meant ‘How are you surviving?’!

Which would be quite appropriate for nowadays,  wouldn’t  it?

Over the last 200 years, ‘how do you do?” slowly came to be used as a general greeting and has been used in many different forms and spellings: ‘how-do-ye?’, ‘howedye?’, and the  very American ‘howdy?

In 1992 Swedish pop duo Roxette released their song ‘How do you do!’, in which they explore both the typical greeting and the more literal interpretation which is ‘how are you able to do…?’.

You can watch the video below and  you can also print the lyrics and sing along if you want.

So now you know everything there is to know about ‘How do you do?’. Oh, but what is a good reply? Oh, yes!

Pleased to meet you!

Best,

Adrian

GLOSSARY

Martyr:  Countable noun –  A martyr is someone who suffers or is killed for a political or religious cause

To thrive:  verb  – To become very successful happy or healthy.

To prosper: Verb – To be successful, especially making money.

To survive:  Verb – To stay alive or continue to exist despite the difficulties we may encounter.

Pop:   Colloquialism used to talk about popular music.

5 Comentarios

  1. Rosa Mª Bendicho
    Posteado 29/05/2013 en 18:21 | Enlace permanente

    Good afternoon.

    has been very nice to meet this new facet of YES’N’YOU and will be happy to receive news and developments as they arise.

    regards

    Rosa

    • admin
      Posteado 30/05/2013 en 10:52 | Enlace permanente

      Hello Rosa,
      Thanks a lot for your kind message!
      We are all very excited about all this social media work we have just started and it is very good to know that our students are also! :-)
      Best;
      Adrian

  2. Ana
    Posteado 03/06/2013 en 22:17 | Enlace permanente

    WOW!! That’s amazing.
    Here we can not only have fun but also learning. I’m glad to have this posibility to share comments and have fun.
    thanks a lot!
    Ana

  3. Angel Español
    Posteado 26/05/2015 en 21:53 | Enlace permanente

    Very interesting this explanation of the expression, How do you do?
    And very interesting this section of news.

Un Retroenlace

  1. […] confusing grammatically! Our first blog, for example, back in May 2013, was about the expression “How do you do?” which is a very common greeting. Click here to read […]

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