It is common for people to ask how you are, either as a greeting or in casual conversation. For example, you may hear someone ask, “How was your day?” What does it mean, and is it grammatically correct?
It is correct to ask someone, “How was your day?” It is a polite question you may use as a greeting or directly after. You can use this question to ask someone what happened earlier in their day and to see whether they have had a good or bad day. For example, you may ask your spouse, “How was your day?” at dinner.
Read on to learn more about “How was your day?” and the proper ways to use it.
What Does “How Was Your Day” Mean?
“How was your day?” is a colloquial question we use to inquire about what occurred earlier in the person’s day.
A colloquial question is informal and takes place in everyday speech. You use such questions often in regular conversation.
“How” is one of the main interrogative or question words we use when asking questions. “How” can be an adverb, conjunction, or noun. As a question, it can ask about many topics. You can use “how” to ask about the extent or amount of something.
For example, “How big is the moon?” asks about the size. Your answer would be about the amount of space covered by the moon (source). You can also use “how” to ask about the form or shape of something. For example, “How does the sandwich come? Hot or cold?”
Another way you can use “how” as a question is when asking about the state or condition of something, like the common phrase, “How are you?”
When you use “how” in “How was your day?” you ask about the state of their day. Has it been good or bad, easy or difficult? You might also be asking about the extent of their day. Was their day long or short?
“Was” is a verb. You use “was” in either the first or third person. It is a past tense form of “to be.” In “How was your day?” “was” refers to the events that have already happened, but only within the current day.
If it is Tuesday, you should not answer the question, “How was your day?” with how you felt about Monday. Only respond with your feelings or a summary of Tuesday (source).
“Your” is the possessive form of “you.” You will use “your” when talking about something belonging to the person you are speaking to. In “How was your day?” “your” means the day one is having, and asks for a personal opinion on how one feels about the events of his or her day so far (source).
“Day” is a noun that means during daylight or the hours between sunrise and sunset. A “day” can also refer to the period at work or school, also called your school day or work day (source).
In “How was your day?” “day” means the time period from when you woke up until the time the question is being asked. Using “was,” which is past tense, means “day” cannot refer to a time in the future, only what has already happened.
How Do You Use “How Was Your Day”?
When you ask someone how their day was, you invite further conversation. They will tell you about what happened to them earlier that same day.
We commonly use “How was your day?” to find out what events or exciting things occurred in your family members’ days. You can ask your spouse or partner, “How was your day?” or “How was your work day?” when they come home. You can ask your children, “How was your day?” or “How was your school day?” when they come home from school.
How Do You Answer “How Was Your Day”?
You will answer “How was our day?” with a brief summary of either one word or a statement of your general feelings about your day. Sometimes you might answer in a longer sentence if it is someone you know well.
Some answers you may give to “How was your day?” are:
|Good.||My day was good.|
|Terrible.||My day was terrible.|
|Long.||My day was long.|
|Busy.||My day was busy.|
|Challenging.||My day was challenging.|
|Productive.||My day was productive.|
Notice how you can answer in either one word or a complete sentence. Alternatively, instead of saying, “My day was ____.” you could also say, “My day has been ____.” You can also add more to your answer, as in, “My day was bad. First, I overslept, and then I missed the bus!”
Regardless of how you answer, make sure you answer according to your general feeling about the day so far. You can use a superlative, like “good” or “great,” or an adjective, like “productive” or “fun.”
Using “How Was Your Day” in a Full Sentence
Use “How was your day?” as a conversation starter after you greet a speaking partner. You can also use it as a follow-up question after you share about your day.
Here is an example conversation using, “How was our day?”
- Speaker 1: “Hello!”
- Speaker 2: “Hi!”
- Speaker 1: “How was your day?”
- Speaker 2: “My day was good. How was yours?”
Notice how Speaker 2 repeats the question back to Speaker 1. This is both polite and common. Alternatively, Speaker 1 could have started with the question in his or her greeting: “Hello! How was your day?” The conversation would have continued in the same way from there.
Here is another example:
- Speaker 1: “Hi, how are you today?”
- Speaker 2: “I am good; thanks for asking. How was your day?”
- Speaker 1: “My day has been busy!”
Here, the speaking partner used the alternate but similar question, “How are you today?” In this case, it is acceptable to use “How was your day?” instead of repeating “How are you?” because they are both polite and ask similar questions.
When Can You Use “How Was Your Day”?
Use “How was your day?” in a polite conversation or casual conversation. It does not need to be someone you know well. For example, you can ask the support specialist, “How was your day?” while waiting on a response from another representative if you are calling in the late afternoon or early evening.
You can use “How was your day?” as a greeting to your child or spouse when they come home and you want to know more about what they did that day. You can also use “How was your day?” when seeing an acquaintance at a store, a customer, or a client at work.
When Not to Use “How Was Your Day?”
Do not use “How was your day?” After you and your speaking partner have already been in conversation for a while, or if you have both already asked similar questions, like “How are you?”
You also should not use “How was your day?” when greeting someone earlier in the day. Asking it in the morning can be confusing because the day is not close to being over yet. Instead, use a question like “How is your day?” or “How is your day going?”
What Can You Use Instead of “How Was Your Day”?
Instead of “How was your day?” you can use another polite question that invites your speaking partner to tell you about their day. There is a range of formality to keep in mind, though.
Some examples are:
- How are you?
- How is your day?
- Did you have a good day?
- How are you doing?
- How is everything going?
- Did your day go well?
- How was work today?
- How was school today?
We use polite questions in conversation with others to make the situation pleasant. You can use polite questions as small talk with someone you do not know well or use them to get to know someone by asking about them.
You can also use them to show the people you already know that you care about them and are interested in hearing about their experiences.
If you need to ask someone for information, you can begin with, “Excuse me” and follow up immediately with your question. For example, you could ask:
- Excuse me, where is the bus stop?
- Excuse me, do you know the time?
- Excuse me, can you help me?
You can use other phrases to make your questions sound more polite. These are:
|Do you know||Do you know where the bathroom is?|
|May I||May I borrow your phone?|
|Could you||Could you point me toward the shoe store?|
|Could I||Could I squeeze by you?|
|I was wondering if||I was wondering if you knew the time?|
|Are you able to||Are you able to grab a bigger size for me?|
|Would you like||Would you like a chocolate donut?|
None of these phrases add to the request itself but simply serve to soften the question to avoid sounding like a command.
You can use “How was your day?” to politely greet someone or to start a conversation shortly after a greeting. Anticipate a response from your speaking partner and ask follow-up questions if you want to know more about their day.