General Writing and Grammar Help/How about & what about


Dear Ted:

Is there any difference between "HOW about....." and "WHAT about....."?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Again, many, many thanks for your kind help.


Dear Paolo:

Is there any difference between "HOW about....." and "WHAT about....."?

*** It depends on the context.  For instance, "HOW much of the proposal is ABOUT money?"  In this sentence, "how . . . about" is used as an adverb.

"WHAT are you going to do ABOUT your financial problems?"  In this sentence "about your financial problems" is used as an adjective.

*** If your question is concerning "how about" and "what about" with no intervening words, then the sentence in which the phrases appear will most likely be a sentence fragment, as in "WHAT ABOUT me?"  "HOW ABOUT going to the movies?"


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Ted Nesbitt


I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.


I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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