Monday through Friday? Work. Saturday and Sunday? Free time! It’s what we all hope for, even if your schedule doesn’t reflect that pattern. Either way, when we rejoin our friends at work or in school on Mondays, we like knowing what they did without us. So it seems right to ask, “How was your weekend?” but is that correct?
It is correct to say “how was your weekend?” as a polite question to discover the quality of someone’s prior Saturday and Sunday. Anytime you interact with someone after a weekend in which you didn’t see them, “How was your weekend?” is a great way to ask what they did and how they were during your days apart.
Keep reading to learn more about the meaning and applications of this leisure-time inquiry.
What Does “How Was Your Weekend?” Mean?
“How was your weekend?” means, “What was the quality of the past weekend for you?” That being said, “Was the previous weekend good or bad for you?” is easier to understand. This question isn’t just about quality, though. It indirectly asks what happened over the weekend as well.
“How” is a question word concerning something’s condition (source). “Was” is the past tense conjugation of “to be,” which is an action of condition. “How was” asks about the quality of something that happened or existed in the past. “Your” is a possessive pronoun that indicates the weekend as belonging to the person you’re speaking to.
When you ask, “How was your weekend?” you’re asking about the past weekend’s condition. Now, there’s more than one weekend in every person’s past, and since there’s nothing to specify any particular weekend, we assume the question pertains to the most recent weekend.
The literal meaning doesn’t wholly capture the idea behind the question. Yes, “How was your weekend?” is an inquiry about the quality of “your weekend,” but this is also a way to ask someone what they did over the weekend.
The quality of a weekend closely relates to what took place. It also closely relates to that person’s likes and dislikes. Someone who enjoys social gatherings might say they had a good weekend if they got to hang out with friends. Someone who experiences social anxiety might call that same weekend bad.
How Do You Use “How Was Your Weekend?”
Use “How was your weekend?” as a standalone question. It contains all the necessary components to function as a sentence. As a subject question, there’s no clear object in “How was your weekend?”; however, it remains a complete sentence with no grammatical gaps. This is because “how” takes the place of the object.
A subject and predicate are a complete sentence’s essential components (source). In “How was your weekend?” the subject is “your weekend,” and the predicate is “how was.” We’ll discuss identifying the parts of this sentence later in this article.
How Do You Answer “How Was Your Weekend?”
The polite response to “How was your weekend?” is to answer the question and then ask how the other person’s weekend was in return. Something as simple as, “Good, how was yours?” is a fitting answer, although your wording depends on what happened over the weekend. Your response also determines the course of the conversation.
A simple “Good” is enough to answer the question but doesn’t invite further discussion. If you want to keep the ball rolling, you should respond with more than a single word.
Did you do something fun? Was it boring? Did something bad happen? Where did you go? The answers to these questions are good ways to respond to “How was your weekend?” Here’s an example response:
- My weekend was great! I went to a movie on Saturday and out to eat on Sunday.
This answer opens the conversation for discussion of what happened during your weekend. Perhaps you’ll talk about the movie you saw or the food you ate. If you want to take the conversation down a different route, respond with this:
- My weekend was good. How was yours?
This answer pushes the conversation forward with the focus on the other person. This is a tactful way to help the other person feel validated, giving them a chance to share what their weekend was like.
When Can You Use “How Was Your Weekend?”
You can use “How was your weekend?” when you see someone for the first time after the weekend and want to know how they’re doing. You’ll commonly hear this asked near the beginning of an interaction between two people that are in each other’s presence for the first time since the week began. It makes for a friendly greeting.
People returning to work or school on a Monday are in the perfect scenario to ask someone, “How was your weekend?” Since they most likely didn’t see each other over the previous weekend, it’s fitting to use this question to find out what happened and how the other person is doing. It often begins the interaction and is one of the first things said.
Using “How Was Your Weekend?” in a Full Sentence
“How was your weekend?” is a full sentence and needs no further additions to make it so. Even though it doesn’t have both an object and a subject, it is still a full sentence because it contains a subject and a predicate. Inverting the sentence helps identify the parts, so we’ll look at that next.
Here’s an inversion of the question which will help identify the parts of this sentence:
|How was your weekend?
|Your weekend was good.
The only word that changes between the question and inversion is “how.” We used “good” for the sake of this example. Viewing the question as an inverse statement helps identify the subject as “your weekend,” but there’s still no clear object.
This is because “good” is an adjective and cannot be an object. In the inversion, “good” functions as a predicative adjective, which means it modifies the subject of the sentence and is attached to it by a linking verb (source). The linking verb is “was.”
Since “good” is a description of a condition, “how” is the logical question word as it pertains to condition or quality. In the form of a question, “how” takes the object’s place since there’s only a predicative adjective. Thus, “How was your weekend?” remains a full sentence even without an object.
When Not to Use “How Was Your Weekend?”
Don’t use “How was your weekend?” during a weekend, near the end of a week, or in a formal setting. This question is only relevant immediately after the weekend in question. Also, because of the nature of the question, it doesn’t fit into formal environments where the conversation veers toward professional topics.
It doesn’t make sense to ask, “How was your weekend?” when you’re in the middle of a weekend since the question is about the weekend past, nor does it make sense at the end of a week when you’re about to enter a weekend and the previous weekend is no longer relevant.
“How was your weekend?” is a conversational question that doesn’t fit in formal or professional settings. There may be an initial greeting where “How was your weekend?” is appropriate, but once the discussion moves into serious matters, the window to use this question closes.
What Can You Use Instead of “How Was Your Weekend?”
Good substitutes for “How was your weekend?” include “Did you have a good weekend?” “Was your weekend okay?” or “What did you do last weekend?” These correlate directly to the literal meaning of “How was your weekend?” Since this question also functions as a greeting, other polite greetings work as well.
The following questions are different correct ways to ask “How was your weekend?”
- Did you have a good weekend?
- Was your weekend okay?
- What did you do last weekend?
- What was your weekend like?
- Did you do anything fun over the weekend?
Here are a few simple questions that, while they don’t ask about the previous weekend, are good greetings when you see someone after a weekend:
- How are you?
- How’s it going?
- What have you been up to?
Polite questions are friendly ways to make good impressions, build relationships, and carry on conversations. Good manners are crucial to social interactions, and polite questions are great ways to follow the customs of good manners in American culture. “How was your weekend?” is a good example.
Sometimes they come as a greeting; other times, they help you learn more about a friend. Either way, it’s a good idea to learn a few basics so you always have a way forward in social situations. Here are common polite questions you’ll hear from Americans:
- How are you?
- How was your day?
- How is your family doing?
- Do you need help?
- Is everything okay?
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
Take a look at our other article, Is It Correct to Say “How Is Everything Going”? to learn about another polite question.
Perhaps someone dropped their books in front of you, or you’re seeing a friend for the first time after the weekend. Whatever the situation, it’s never a bad idea to begin an interaction with a polite question or greeting.
Good impressions and relationships are key to building a network, and a solid network gives you endless opportunities for the future.