Como responder ‘How have you been?’ de várias maneiras

By Ana Luiza | Podcast Inglês Online

Feb 08
Como responder ‘How have you been’ de várias maneiras em inglês

Hello! What’s up?

Nesse episódio do podcast Inglês Online vamos falar sobre várias maneiras diferentes de responder a pergunta How have you been?


Hello, all. How have you been? Today we have a new episode of the inglesonline podcast. To download or just listen to other episodes and download transcripts, go to and click Podcast Inglesonline.

Notice that I didn’t ask “How are you?”. I said “How have you been?” and that is another way to greet someone and ask how they have been lately, how they have been recently, maybe, or how they have been since the last time you two saw each other. How have you been? What have you been up to?

Of course, in the United States and, I believe, in other English-speaking countries as well, you’re not really supposed to launch into a detailed account of everything you’ve been doing or every illness you’ve had since you last saw that person… Remember this is a way to greet someone, so unless this is a really close friend or relative, your answer should probably be brief, and this is what we’re gonna talk about today.

So here’s one way you could answer someone who asks you ‘How have you been?’ – you could say “I’ve been keeping busy” or simply “Keeping busy”. That obviously gives the idea that you have been… doing stuff, whatever it is that you do. You’ve been studying, working, taking care of your kids, collecting stamps, cooking, whatever. You’ve been keeping busy. So if anyone asks you “How have you been?” you may answer “Keeping busy” or “I’ve been keeping busy” or even “I’ve been keeping myself busy”.

Here’s another phrase that people say a lot in answer to “How have you been?”: I’ve been keeping out of trouble, or just ‘Keeping out of trouble’. This can be kind of a facetious answer, you know… Facetious means slightly humorous. It could be that you really HAVE been keeping out of trouble – maybe you used to commit crimes and after some time in jail you decided to keep yourself out of trouble, so, hey, that’s literally what you mean, right, when you say “I’ve been keeping out of trouble”. But usually people just say that in a more tongue-in-cheek way, you know. How have you been? Oh, keeping out of trouble.

Now, if you want to express that you’re kinda going through some hard times, or that things haven’t been easy, you could say “I’ve been getting by”. Hey, how have you been? Getting by. I’ve been getting by. “Get by” is a so-called phrasal verb, right? When you get by, that means your life may not be ideal, you may not be performing at your best in some kind of situation, but you’re doing just enough to go on with your life or… you’re doing your best to overcome whatever difficulty you’re facing. So when you say “I’ve been getting by”, you’re saying that you probably wish things were different. There’s something going on that is kind of a setback in your life right now, so it’s not an ideal situation, but you’re getting by.

Here’s another one you may use in case you have been feeling a little sick, a little indisposed maybe… And, of course, you feel like sharing it so when someone asks you ‘How have you been?’, you can say ‘I’ve been under the weather’. When you say you’re under the weather, you’re saying you’re not feeling very well, you’re probably ill so… ‘How have you been?’ ‘I’ve been under the weather, but feeling better today’, if that’s the case. Also, let me bring the pronunciation of ‘under’ and ‘weather’ to your attention: under, and weather. For the second syllable of weather, the tip of your tongue will go briefly between your teeth, so… just something to notice. Under and weather.

Now let’s wrap things up with something you can use right now in case you’re in Brazil. Today in São Paulo we have a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius and I know that it’s a lot hotter in other places such as Rio and the northeast. And you know that the weather is one of people’s favorite things to talk about when they’re making small talk. So if someone asks you today “How have you been?” you could answer “Keeping cool”. “I’ve been keeping cool”. Well, in case that’s true, of course. That answer would make sense today, I think anywhere in Brazil, since it’s so hot. What have you been doing to keep yourself cool? I’ve been drinking water and staying out of direct sunlight for the most part.

So how have you been? Now it’s time for your answer in the comments. How have you been? Have you been keeping cool? Have you been under the weather? Have you been keeping busy? I know I have. Have you been… getting by? Let us know in the comments and talk to you next time.

Key expressions

  • (I’ve been) keeping busy
  • (I’ve been) keeping out of trouble
  • (I’ve been) getting by
  • (I’ve been) under the weather
  • (‘I’ve been) keeping cool



launch into a detailed account = começar um relato detalhado

to greet someone = cumprimentar alguém

tongue-in-cheek = irônico, pra ser engraçado

so-called = assim chamado, chamado

a setback = algo indesejado que veio para atrapalhar/atrasar

small talk = conversinha com estranhos na fila ou no consultório do dentista, pra quebrar o gelo, passar o tempo, etc



About the Author

Ana Luiza criou um blog de dicas de inglês em 2006, e depois de muito pesquisar o que faz alguém ganhar fluência numa segunda língua, criou seu primeiro curso de inglês em 2009.

  • Muy chulo, me ha gustado mucho

  • kennedy bacelar says:

    I’ve been keeping busy, with the high school and more some troubles, and…thanks by lesson! It’s Amazing.

  • Daniel says:

    hi ana i’m from manaus,amazonas, and i just want to come here on your website for thank you,because you had helped me to improve my english speaking and listening,because i’ve spend about 2 or 3 hours for a day listening each podcast i’ve ever downloaded,a big hug ,take care…..

  • Anna says:

    I’ve been keeping cool =) Love this website

  • Josimar Machado says:

    Hello Ana, great episode, very useful.
    By the way, I’ve been keeping busy :)

  • Nivaldo Leôncio says:

    Hi Ana. What’s up?

    I’ve been under the weather. I hurt my spine last week, but I feel better now. See you!

  • JULIANA says:

    Hi Ana, How have you been? I have been keeping busy with a lot of issues, but the main is studying English.
    This podcast is awesome!

  • Fabricio says:

    Ms. Ana:
    Parabéns!!! Fantástico esse podcast do englisonline de hoje!!!
    Muito bem explicado – sua explanação é ótima!!! didática Nota 100.
    Assim eu vou aprender inglês, com essa metodologia!!!! Muito bom, Ms. Ana!!!
    Congratulations!!! Grande abraço.
    Fabricio. (em 12 de fev.2012)

  • Agnaldo says:

    Hello Eloisa,

    this new episod is really fantastic. I love it so much. Congratulations!! Big hug for you… Agnaldo Novais

  • Raymundo says:


    I’m keeping busy. I study English a bunch through your podcasts and others.
    As it’s very difficult, I’m putting my shoulder to the wheel. Thank you for
    helping me so much.


  • Luciano says:

    Hi Ana Luiza, great new podcast. Good job. Very useful.
    I’ve been completely busy :))
    Have a great weekend and take care.
    Bye bye.

  • Ana Luiza says:

    HI everyone!! Thanks for all the answers.. Love them :)

  • EducadorZero says:

    Hi everyone!
    I’ve been keeping busy, because my hollidays finished and started the classes.

    I’m trying to keep studying, but I’m not sure if will be possible, so I’ve been getting by

  • douglas says:

    I’ve been really busy .

  • Edson says:

    Ana, congratulations for this podcast! it’s really good! I just would like you to explain this question better: What have you been up to? how would you translate it into Portuguese? what would be the better way to answer this question ? What am I supposed to answer when someone asks me that? Thank you so much! :)

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Edson – eu não trabalho com tradução, então posso te dar só mais ou menos a minha – E aí, como tão as coisas? E aí, o que vc tem feito? E vc responde com o que vc tem feito. Pode ser “Not much” ou “I’ve been doing this, that etc”

  • José says:

    Hi! I really enjoy these podcasts! Please keep sending us. It really helps. I like to listen as I need to improve my listening skills.

  • Goreti says:

    I loved this podcast! I’ve learned a lot. And, I’ve been getting by…

  • Anna Lima says:

    This podcast is realy nice like the website!
    I’ve been keeping out of trouble ;D

  • Manoela says:

    To be honest, I’ve been getting by. I don’t really like my current job right now. I’ve been looking for other opportunity. Meanwhile, It’s really difficult to keep myself happy everyday.

  • Hello, how have you been? I like so much this podcast ‘couse I didn’t know almost that answers.
    But have one that I have heard sometimes when someone asks -Hi, what’s up? then the other people says: -Not much.
    I´d like to know your explanation about this, if it’s possible.

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Angelo, é mais ou menos “E aí? Que se passa?” E a resposta q você deu é “Não muita coisa”. Não sei porque eles falam assim, mas começa a fazer sentido quanto mais você ouve!

  • beto says:

    I’ve been getting fun.
    what about ya ? how have you been?

  • Jeff says:

    It’s a nice topic! I loved it! :D
    I’ve been keeping busy.

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