Most natural ways to say "How are you" in Vietnamese



Most people learn that "How are you" in Vietnamese is "Bạn khoẻ không?" However, native speakers only say "How are you" to someone that they know but haven't seen in a while.

In this lesson, I'm going to teach you 4 things:

  • When to say "How are you" in Vietnamese
  • 2 ways to say "How are you" in Vietnamese
  • other common phrases that native speakers say when meeting someone instead of "How are you",
  • and how to respond to those questions in Vietnamese.

This article uses mình for "I" and bạn for "you" as the general pronouns. Please change to the appropriate pronouns when speaking to different people in Vietnamese. Take my free lesson to learn how to address yourself and others.

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When to say “How are you” in Vietnamese

“How are you” is widely used as a polite way of greeting in English. It can be used with someone you know, as well as strangers.

Vietnamese people don't ask strangers "How are you". They use it to ask someone they know but haven't talked to in a while. That can be in person or over the phone.

As a Vietnamese native speaker, I mostly say “How are you” to my relatives and casual friends whom I see once in a while.

Besides "How are you", native speakers also use other phrases to ask about each other when they meet again as some kind of conversation starters.

Ways to Say "How are you" in Vietnamese

Below are two ways to ask "How are you" to someone that you know but haven't talked to in a while. Both phrases can be used in formal and informal situations (depending on you tones of voice).

1. Bạn khỏe không?

Literally means: "You are well?”

Khoẻ means "well", “healthy” or “strong”. Không is often placed at the end of the sentence to make a yes-no question "or not?"

You can also say dạo này bạn khoẻ không, which literally means "These days are you well?".

Possible responses:

  • Mình khỏe
    I am fine

  • Mình vẫn bình thường
    Fine as usual (literally, "I'm still normal")

  • Còn bạn?
    And you?

How to say Hello in Vietnamese like a native speaker

2. Dạo này bạn thế nào?

Literally means: “These days you how?"

This sentence can be translated as “How are you these days?”, where dạo này means “these days”, and thế nào means “how”.

Possible responses:

  • Vẫn bình thường
    Fine as usual (literally, "still normal")

  • Không tốt lắm
    Not so good

  • Dạo này mình hơi bận!
    These days I'm quite busy

  • Dạo này mình bận lắm!
    These days I'm very busy

Common Sayings When Meeting Someone

Instead of saying "How are you", here are 2 common sayings that you can use when meeting someone you know but haven't seen in a while.

1. Dạo này công việc thế nào?

Literally means: These days job how?

This sentence can be translated as “How's work these days?”, where công việc means “work” or "job"

This phrase can be used to start a conversation by asking about the person's current job.

Possible responses:

  • Vẫn bình thường
    Fine as usual (literally, "still normal")

  • Vẫn tốt
    Still good!

  • Không tốt lắm
    Not so good

  • Bận lắm!
    Very busy!

  • Nhiều việc lắm!
    Lots of work!

How to say "Good morning" in Vietnamese like a local

2. Gia đình của bạn thế nào?

Literally means: Your family how?

Gia đình means "family"

This phrase can be used to start a conversation by asking about the person's family. You can replace the word gia đình (family) with other words for family members. For example:

  • Ba mẹ của bạn thế nào
    How are your parents?

  • Ông bà của bạn thế nào
    How are your grandparents?

  • Con trai/Con gái của bạn thế nào
    How are your son/daughter?

  • Mấy đứa con của bạn thế nào
    How are your children?

Example responses:

  • Vẫn bình thường
    Fine as usual (literally, "still normal")

  • Gia đình của mình vẫn khỏe
    My family is still fine

  • Ông bà của mình không được khỏe
    My grandparents are not well

Asking "How are you" in Vietnamese to Someone You See Often

So you have learned different ways of asking “how are you” to someone you know but haven’t seen in a while.

To engage in a conversation with some know but see quite often, such as neighbors or coworkers, you can either say "Where are you going?" or "What are you doing?" in Vietnamese.

1. Bạn đang đi đâu đó?

This question can be translated as “Where are you going?” in Vietnamese..

đi means “to go”. đang đi means “to be going”. đâu is the question word for “where”

đó is a common ending particle in Vietnamese. It is often placed at the end of the sentence to mark an action currently in progress (at the moment).

You can use this phrase when you bump into someone you know on the street.

Example responses:

  • Mình đang đi công chuyện
    I'm going (out) to do stuff (to run errands)

  • Mình đang đi ăn
    I'm going (out) to eat

How to say "Thank you" in Vietnamese formal and informal ways

2. Bạn đang làm gì đó?

This question can be translated as “What are you doing?” in Vietnamese..

làm means “to do”. đang làm means “to be doing”. is the question word for “what”

  • Mình đang nấu cơm
    I am cooking

  • Mình đang tưới cây
    I am watering the plants

3. Bạn ăn cơm chưa?

This question means “Have you eaten (lunch/dinner)?” in Vietnamese .

This is such a casual way to start a conversation, especially when you don't know what to ask the other person.

ăn means “to eat”. cơm means “rice”. But since "rice" is the main dish in Vietnamese meals, so when saying ăn cơm, it simply refers to "eating" lunch/dinner in general.

To say "eat breakfast", you'll say ăn sáng.

  • Mình ăn rồi!
    I've eaten already!

  • Mình chưa ăn
    I haven't eaten

4. Bạn đợi lâu chưa?

If you've planned to meet someone and that person arrives before you, instead of "How are you?", you can casually start with "Have you waited long?"

This question literally translates to "You wait long yet?". Where đợi means "to wait"; lâu means "long (duration)"; chưa is the question word for "yet?".

Here are some possible responses:

  • Chưa. Mình mới tới
    Not yet. I've just arrived

  • Mình tới lâu rồi!
    I've arrived a long time!

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