I'm a teacher and I'm preparing the simple dialogues for my students. Here's one of them:

  • Hi!
  • Hello!
  • How are things?
  • Could be better. You?
  • Pretty good.

May I shorten the response to "you" here? As I understand now, "you?" only follows the previous question with the you-subject (how are you doing/how are you). And if I can't shorten it this way, is there any other way to make "How are things/how is it going" shorter and thus less formal?

closed as unclear what you're asking by cobaltduck, Mitch, tchrist Feb 26 '17 at 3:20

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  • Yes, you could answer a question like "How are things?" by just saying "Good" or "Fine." – Yosef Baskin Feb 24 '17 at 19:35
  • All of those are reasonable in context and grammatical. If native speakers actually say it predictably, it's automatically grammatical. Though you didn't say, I'm assuming your students are not native English speakers; these are perfectly good for them to understand, too. An awful lot of parts of English sentences -- especially at the beginning -- can be left off in speech. The phenomenon is called Conversational Deletion. – John Lawler Feb 24 '17 at 22:29
  • Yes, you can shorten the response to "You?" It would be more natural to say "And you?" or "What about you?". – ab2 Feb 24 '17 at 22:34
  • I don't understand why you want to do more shortening. – aparente001 Feb 25 '17 at 0:08

As I understand this example, there are two people having a conversation:

  1. A: Hi!
  2. B: Hello!
  3. A: How are things?
  4. B: Could be better. You?
  5. A: Pretty good.

You're asking if line (4) spoken by B can be shortened from "Could be better. You?" to simply "You?".

Without knowing the purpose of the dialogue and how it's going to be used the assumption is this is text only so the answer would be no, it's illogical for B to answer only "You?" in line (4) as a response to A's question in line (3).

You could B's question in line (4) into a conjunction: "Fair and yourself?"

If you're avoiding slang, A's question in line (3) can be shortened to:

  • "Good?"
  • "Well?" or "Doing well?"
  • "Happy?"

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