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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 inglesonline.com.br 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.
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
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