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ASK A TEACHER - How Do You Feel Or How Are You?

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This week we answer a question from Ngan.

Question:

Ngan writes, "What is the difference between 'how do you feel?' and 'how are you?'"

Answer:

Dear Ngan,

Thank you for writing us.

The answer to your question depends on who is asking it, and also, who is answering it. It can depend on how well the two people know each other.

'How do you feel' can be a question you ask a friend. It is a personal question about how you feel now.

Let us say you are talking with your friend who just got out of the hospital:

"Hi Janet. I know you've been sick. How do you feel now? I hope you are better!"

This phrase can be about how a person feels physically or emotionally.

Like this question you may ask your friend who just got married:

"How does it feel to be a married man?!"

Add "i-n-g" and you get the word "feeling."

Now you are asking how someone feels over a period of time.

Here is an example:

"How are you feeling since your foot surgery?"

"How have you been feeling since your father died last month?"

You might also be asking someone her or his opinion.

"How do you feel about the Nats baseball team playing in the World Series?!"

Let's turn to 'how are you?' This is something friends ask also each other. But it can be a wider question— one that is not related to a specific issue.

Like this:

"I haven't seen you for a while, how are you?"

It is also a polite phrase you can use when you meet someone:

"Sam, this is Elizabeth."

"Nice to meet you Elizabeth. How are you?"

And that's Ask a Teacher!

I'm Anne Ball.

Anne Ball wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter Jr. was the editor.

Do you have a question for the teacher? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

Words in This Story

specific – adj. clearly and exactly presented or stated : precise or exact

polite – adj. having or showing good manners or respect for other people

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