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If someone asks "How are you?", which of the following is grammatically correct?

"I am well, thank you. And you?" or "I am well thank you. And yourself?"

'Yourself' sounds more formal, and is used frequently in everyday language (at least in my surroundings). However, I've been doing a little bit of investigation into the use of my vs myself and you vs yourself and it seems that it is only used reflexively to reflect back to 'you' or 'me' as the subject. E.g., you hurt yourself. In the case of "and you/yourself?", you/yourself is being used as the subject, in which case it would seem that the correct version would be "And you?".

Any clarification on this would be great!

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Either of these is fine, although if you're going to use and there should be a comma. The second sentence has a silent you in it, referring back to the fact that it was the original person who asked first and is being thanked.

I am well, thank you, and you?

I am well, thank you, and (you) yourself?

However, asking, "How are you?" may well be derived from an old greeting, "How do you do?"

According to Stephen Fry, the only correct response to "How do you do?" is, "How do you do?". Since Stephen Fry is, of course, the authoritative source of all things English, perhaps we're both wrong.

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As for the comma, that seems to be a style thing. I looked this up on Google books, where both the period and comma can be found (as well as a semi-colon or two). –  J.R. Dec 4 '12 at 15:55
    
Semi-colons would work well, actually. I keep trying to force myself to use them less in writing, and it seems to have worked in this case since I forgot about them completely! –  Lunivore Dec 4 '12 at 17:25
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As far as I am concerned, yourself is plainly wrong here. And you? is short for And how are you?. There is an increasing tendency to use reflexive pronouns (-self words) unnecessarily.

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