I was just wondering if the question/greeting "How're you going?" is correct usage? I know it's more prevalent in Australia because I live here and have heard it very often. I guess the American version is "How're you doing?", but I'm not sure.

I'm assuming all these are very informal in their usage.

Any insights would be great.

  • 1
    I think it is "How is it going," the it referring to "the state of affairs with you."
    – Kris
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 5:12
  • Kris that's absolutely right. I have heard the "how are you going?" phrase more often in Australia though.
    – Faredoon
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 5:53
  • @Kris I think "How're you going?" is more common that "How's it going?" Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 8:30
  • 6
    The comments so far make it pretty clear that we're dealing with a difference between U.S. and Australian usage. Living in the U.S., I hear "How're you doing?" and "How's it going?" often, and I don't recall ever hearing "How're you going?" I wonder what the common usage is in the rest of the English-speaking world. Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 13:20
  • 4
    In the U.S., the question "How're you going?" would most likely be asked in the expectation of an answer such as "By bus."
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 8:36

3 Answers 3


All right. Turns out, it is a greeting, after all! Perhaps quintessential AusE (Australia & New Zealand).

Jim Nicolson, Long Creek, 2010, p.145 (GoogleBooks) (emphasis added)

(From the Preface): The principal settings are two cattle runs (ranches) in Australia's Northern Territory … In 1947, Darwin's population was 2,538 …

"G'day, Murranji," he called out. "I thought you were still over at the River." "Yeah? How're you going, young feller?" "Good."

"No way Jack'd miss the races and a chance to catch up with old mates. How're you going, Jack?" Brian called out. "Not bad. An' how're yer drinkin', fellers? Left any beer in O'Hara's?"

See also:

  • Ron Player, Under Different Skies, 2010 (GoogleBooks)
    (Setting: Narrow Neck Beach, Auckland, New Zealand) Note the author's remark, "That was a pretty normal greeting in those days." about "G'day, Allan, how're you going?" (p.24)

  • Jan Eriksen, Goldmine Experience, 2013 (GoogleBooks)

  • Di Morrissey, The Islands, 2008, p.535 (GoogleBooks)

D.H. Lawrence, The Primrose Path, in "England, My England":

‘And how’re you going on, lad?’


If you're not sure, stick to what you're certain to be correct! I've been living in England for the past 15 years and have been studying English grammar for about 14, and have not heard 'how're you going' as a way to greet someone else.

It must, most certainly, be an Australian and New Zealander expression, but I have to say though I haven't ever heard my Aussie friends saying it; perhaps because they might know that it's not the way the Brits would say it.

My suggestion is, always communicate in the same way the locals do; that shows respect,that you're well integrated in their way of living, and you'll sound less foreign.


I don't know how you'd judge whether this is formal or informal, but it is a very natural Australian greeting. Personally I would use it when talking to pretty much anyone.

I guess it corresponds to "How are you doing?" but I'm not fully aware of all of that phrase's connotations. It's perhaps best known for Joey's attempts to pick up girls (in Friends.)

  • That's true. I wouldn't really know what's informal and what's not, which is why I mentioned that I assumed that. I guess the most formal version "How are you?" serves as a reference point, and "Wassup?" would definitely be informal. Although I would hesitate to use "How are you going?" in, say, a business meeting, especially when greeting non-Australians.
    – Faredoon
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 10:14
  • 1
    "How are you doing" is the American equivalent of "how are you going"; you shouldn't view it as any more of a pickup line than "hello", Joey notwithstanding. Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 12:14

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