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Monday, Jan 12, 2004

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How do you respond to "How do you do"?

(Dhruba Basu, Kolkata)

It depends on which side of the Atlantic you are from, I guess. People from Britain usually respond by saying "How do you do?". For them, "How do you do?" is an expression which is normally used when you are introduced to someone for the first time. "How do you do?" is not the same as "How are you?" For the English, the response to "How do you do?" is "How do you do?" It's like our "namaste". When somebody says "namaste", we respond by saying "namaste". Americans, on the other hand, think differently. You will find that many Americans do not always make a distinction between "How do you do?" and "How are you?" So don't be surprised if an American responds to a "How do you do?" with a "Fine, thank you", or "Doing good".

S. Upendran

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