How's It Going: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
June 10, 2023

The idiom "How's it going" is a casual way to ask someone about their current state or condition. It's a friendly, informal greeting or inquiry often used in day-to-day conversations.

In short:

"How's it going" is a conversational phrase used to ask about someone's well-being or activities.

What Does "How's It Going" Mean?

The phrase is an informal greeting used to inquire about someone's well-being or to initiate a conversation. It is a contraction of the longer phrase "How is it going?" and can be considered a variant of "How are you?" or "How do you do?"

It is important to note that sometimes people use the phrase as a rhetorical question, not expecting a detailed reply. In these cases, the phrase serves more as a casual greeting rather than a genuine inquiry into someone's well-being.

Key aspects of the idiom's meaning:

  • It generally asks about someone's current state or condition.
  • It serves as a casual, informal greeting or conversation starter.
  • Although mostly used in informal conversations, people can also use the phrase in professional settings with a familiar tone.

Where Does "How's It Going" Come From?

The phrase "How's it going" is believed to have originated in the United States around the mid-20th century. It's a contraction of the more formal query "How is it going?" and has become a popular way of greeting or initiating conversation in many English-speaking cultures.

Historical Example

"How's it going these days? Perhaps it needs a bit of stoking up right this very minute, to hold its full head of steam against the competitive demands of the holiday season."

- EE Systems Engineering Today, 1942

10 Examples of "How's It Going" in Sentences

Here are some examples of using the idiom in sentences:

  • I ran into my old schoolmate at the supermarket and asked, "How's it going?"
  • I heard you're stuck in traffic again, how's it going over there?
  • About last night's party, how's it going with the cleanup?
  • After not seeing each other for years, they met again, and the first thing he said was, "How's it going?"
  • Now that you've logged in, how's it going with the new software?
  • "How's it going?" he asked, offering a warm smile to the new student.
  • You're out and about early, how's it going so far?
  • I see you're in the pink of health, how's it going with the new diet plan?
  • Even after a hard day at work, he managed to greet his family with a cheerful "How's it going?"
  • How's it going? Do you still feel down today?

Examples of "How's It Going" in Pop Culture

The phrase "How's it going" is a common dialogue in numerous movies, TV shows, and songs, often used as a casual greeting or conversational starter.

Let's examine some examples:

  • The song "How's It Going to Be" by Third Eye Blind from their self-titled album (1997) illustrates a contemplative question about the future of a relationship.
  • How Is It Going? (1976) is a French political film directed by Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville. The film follows two workers in a newspaper plant as they attempt to make a film about the political situation in France.
  • "As I expected, the reverend's tone was soft and paternal as he asked, 'So how's it going?'" is a quote from the 2015 book Love and Death Among Pigeons by Lawrence A. Wood MD.

Other/Different Ways to Say "How's It Going"

There are several alternative expressions that convey a similar sentiment to "How's it going."

Here are some of them:

  • How are you?
  • What's up?
  • What's new?
  • How do you do?
  • How are things?

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "How's It Going":

  • What does "How's it going" mean?

"How's it going" is a conversational phrase used to ask about someone's well-being or activities. It's often used as a casual greeting or conversation starter.

  • How can I use "how's it going" in a sentence?

You can use "how's it going" as a greeting or to inquire about someone's status or activities. For example, "How's it going, John? Have you finished the report?"

  • Where does the idiom "how's it going" come from?

The phrase originated in the United States around the mid-20th century as a contraction of the more formal "How is it going?"

  • Is "how's it going" a formal phrase?

No, "how's it going" is a casual, informal phrase often used in day-to-day conversations. It can be used in a professional setting, but usually when the tone is familiar or relaxed.

  • Can you use it to start a conversation?

Yes, "how's it going" is often used as a conversation starter or ice breaker in social interactions.

  • Does "How's it going" inquire about personal well-being or activities?

"How's it going" can refer to either personal well-being or current activities, depending on the context. It generally implies an interest in the person's current state or actions.

  • Is "how's it going" only used in American English?

While it's widely used in American English, the phrase "how's it going" is understood and used in various forms of English worldwide.

  • What's a proper response to "How's it going"?

In response to "How's it going?", people often provide a brief answer that reflects their general mood or situation. Common responses include "Good," "Not too bad," "Could be better," or "It's going well, thank you."

  • Does it require a detailed response?

Not necessarily. While one could answer in detail, a brief response is usually expected in casual conversation. The degree of detail often depends on the context and the relationship between the interlocutors.

  • Can you use it in written communication?

Yes, "how's it going" can be used in informal written communication, such as personal emails, text messages, or social media posts.

Final Thoughts About "How's It Going"

The phrase "How's it going" is a common informal greeting or conversational starter to express interest in someone's well-being or current activities. It is largely used in casual, day-to-day conversations.

Here's a quick recap:

  • People say it to inquire about someone's status or well-being.
  • Originating in the United States, the phrase is now understood and used globally.
  • "How's it going" is versatile and is applicable in a variety of social situations.

The phrase embodies a friendly, approachable nature in conversation and helps build rapport among individuals. Its universal use underlines its effectiveness as a handy tool in daily communication.

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