English as a Second Language/greetings


I am an international student in the US from Asia. I speak English fairly well, but people sometimes greet me with expressions and I don't know how to respond. These include:

What's up?
What's new?
What' going on?

I know these don't call for a literal answer. It's like "how are you?" calls for "Fine," "OK" or something similar rather than a detailed explanation of one's health.

What is a reasonable way to respond?



Hi Joemma!

I'm an English teacher in Japan, and those particular greetings often cause Japanese people trouble, too!

You're right; you're not actually required to give an "answer" to those questions.  Often just repeating the question back is an appropriate response!

A: "Hey!  What's up?"
B: "Hi!  What's up?"

An interaction like that is often completely natural!  However, there are some pretty standard answers as well:

"Nothing much."
"Nothing special."
"Not much."

The question is asking about any recent and interesting or unusual news in the person's life.  Often, there is nothing unusual, special or especially interesting happening, in which case the above responses are appropriate.

Hope that helps!  Thanks for the great question.

English as a Second Language

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Brian Connelly


I can answer pretty much any question a student might have about English; about grammar, vocabulary, meanings of words, phrases, expressions or idioms, pronunciation, etc. I can answer questions about how to learn or study English better, how to improve certain aspects of communication (listening, writing, speaking, etc), about why we have certain rules.


I've been teaching English in Japan, mainly as a private (one-to-one) teacher, but also at companies such as Universal Studios or international airports. I have taught professional interpreters and translators and I have also taught students who dropped out of high school and never learned any English. Several years ago I acquired the CELTA and I have been running my own classroom for the past year.

None in particular, but I work with a number of companies who regularly introduce me to new students and occasionally to other companies that are looking for English teachers.


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I currently have approximately 40 individual students with whom I work one on one. I have also worked with local manufacturing companies, colleges, local retailers, as well as Sharp, Universal Studios, Itami International Airport, Kobe International Airport

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