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  1. Is it right to ask "how are you all doing?"?
  2. Should I reply to a "How do you do?" with an "Am good" or should I say "How do you do" myself in return?
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I've always replied with, "Fine thank you, how are you?" –  Jim Sep 24 '12 at 4:45
    
Can anyone explain the reason for negative vote? For a non-native speaker of English even simple questions like these will always be in the back of the mind whenever conversing in English –  Raghav Sep 24 '12 at 6:28
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There is nothing grammatically wrong with your examples. I would say, how are things at your end, I am fine, how are you; hope everything is alright, etc.. Just like any other language, there are many ways to express something in English, and they all depend on the context at issue. –  Noah Sep 24 '12 at 7:03
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@Raghav: Don't worry about these negative votes that have no explanation. The people who downvote questions from non-native speakers without explaining are not English teachers or teachers of anything at all. If they were language teachers, they'd understand how confusing it sometimes is to learn a foreign language that real people use to communicate every day. They probably don't speak any language other than English: narrow-tongued ==> narrow-minded. They just assume that you're stupid because you don't meet their criteria for brilliance: i.e., you don't mirror them. –  user21497 Sep 24 '12 at 8:46
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The phrase "you all" and the contraction "y'all" in speech are primarily regional in the US, mostly confined to the South. –  bib Sep 24 '12 at 12:42

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted
  1. It's right only if you really want to know or are simply trying to be polite. Is it grammatically correct? Yes. It is idiomatic English? Yes, especially in the USA's southeast, except there it'd more likely be spoken as "How y'all doin'?" with a rising intonation. If you don't want to sound regional, you can ask "How are all of you?"

  2. If someone asks you "How y'all doin'?" and there's no one but the two of you in the conversation, then you can say "I'm fine, thank you, and you?" if you want to be perfectly polite and a bit didactic, "Fine, thanks, and you?" if you want to be a bit on the friendly side, and "Jes' like a goober in uh bottle uh Coke! How're y'all doin', Jethro?" if you want to pretend you're a comedian and can box very well or run very fast.

"How do you do?" is too formal a response for "How're y'all doin'?", and "Am good" is a bit idiosyncratic, even for most American speakers -- maybe "I'm good. And you?"

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My understanding is that "How are all of you?" maps to "How are all y'all?", while "How are you?" maps to "How are y'all?" (with "you" in the plural sense in both cases) memphis.about.com/od/midsouthliving/qt/yall.htm –  Erics Sep 24 '12 at 7:01
    
I don't believe I ever heard "How're all y'all?" when I lived in Georgia (1966-69). But I did hear "How are you all?" when I lived in Iowa City. –  user21497 Sep 24 '12 at 8:40
  1. It is right to ask "how are you all doing?" and it simply means "how are you all?"
  2. You can reply to "how do you do?" with
    1. I am good and yourself?
    2. I am good and how do you do?
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