English Greetings

                                       “Top of the morning to you!”

is a greeting that Irish people never use, unless they are American with an Irish great-great-great-great grandmother.   But we do ask on a daily basis:  “How are you?” or a long number of variations:

‘How’s it going?’  (How’s it goin’)

‘How are you doing?’ (Howrya doin’)

‘What’s up?’ (Whatsup. Can you see where the app comes from now?)

“How’s she cutting?” (From Kerry)

And my favourite Dublin greeting (said in a rich masculine grunt): “Story?”

And the answer to these questions about your health and well-being?  “Fine”, always “fine.”  Because unless the person looks deeply into your eyes and changes their tone to: caring and concerned, they do not actually care!

 “How are you?” And all its variations, are greetings not questions.

This is often not understood by non-native-speakers who start to answer the question:

“Well I’m a bit tired, didn’t sleep well last night because of the party next door and my sore toe which I banged into a lamppost yesterday and it’s quite swollen now, I hope it’s not infected…”


When we ask you “How you are?” it is just a greeting: it means “Hello” and when you ask it, it is fine to keep on walking…

Your response (which may not be heard by a greeter who has kept on walking) should be positive:

“Fine, thanks!’”

Positive and polite: “Fine, thanks and you?”

Or: “Grand!” (Very Irish)

“Good!” (American)

“Not bad”

And the response to: “Story?” ?


And all of these responses mean: “Hello, to you too!”

So, “Have a nice day!” “See ya!”