Learn How To Use WHAT ABOUT and HOW ABOUT in English Speaking and Writing. | WHAT ABOUT vs HOW ABOUT


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What about...? vs How about...?

Do you know how to use the idiomatic expressions 'What about...?' and 'How about...?' in English writing and speaking? 

Is there any difference between 'What about...?' and 'How about...?' If any, then what's that? How to use them correctly?

Let's know the difference between the two and learn how to use them correctly in English speaking and writing by taking some examples.

First, we want to clarify that there is a little difference between 'What about...?' and 'How about...?'

How To Use 'HOW ABOUT...?'

We should use 'How about...?' to make a suggestion (that we feel/think to be the best in this situation) or to suggest a possibility of action.

Let's Understand This With An Example,

Tom: Hey John, my birthday is today. What should we do?

John: How about celebrating your birthday in the Golden Garden with the poor street children?

Tom: Oh John, that's a good idea.

In the above conversation, Tom can't decide on any plan for celebrating his birthday. John suggests to Tom that he can celebrate his birthday in the Golden Garden with the poor street children. And Tom likes his idea. [Here 'How about...?' is used to suggest an action.]

More Examples

1) How about going to see a movie? or How about going to a movie?

2) How about walking in the garden for half an hour every day?

3) How about reading a novel right now?

4) How about doing some shopping and then seeing a movie tonight?

5) How about we make dinner tonight?

6) How about applying for a part-time job?

7) How about a short vacation to Port Blair next week?

How To Use 'WHAT ABOUT...?'

On the other hand, the expression 'What about...?' is generally used to mention an objection or a potential problem. [Here the speaker wants to know more or is willing to listen to other suggestions by making an objection to or showing some potential problems with the plan or idea that has already been mentioned by someone else.]

Let's Understand This With An Example,

Tom: Let's watch a movie tonight?

John: But what about our math exam tomorrow?

In the above conversation, Tom wants to see a movie tonight. But John says that there is a problem (makes an objection or shows a negative point) because their math exam is just a few hours away.

Here Are Some More Examples

1) What About vs How About:

Jane: How about going on a short trip?

Olivia: But what about my English Test on Sunday? [There is a problem or an objection that my English Test is on Sunday. Olivia has to study for his English Test.]


2) What About vs How About:

Oliver: How about we go for a picnic next weekend?

Olivia: That's a good idea, but what about the kids? [There is a problem or an objection that we must have to arrange for the kids' care first.]


3) We should leave right now. But what about our breakfast? But what about the meeting?


4) What About vs How About:

Tom: How about spending a week in New York City?

John: But what about our old parents?


5) What About vs How About:

Tom: We need a good amount of money to start a business in such a big city like London.

John: How about taking a loan from the Bank.


Important Notes:

A) We use 'What about you?' or 'How about you?' when asking about what someone doing, thinking or feeling.

For Example,

1) Jane: I'm having dinner and what about you? [Here 'what about you?' means 'what are you doing?']

John: I'm watching a movie.


2) Jane: I'm feeling so tired after a long journey. How about you? [Here 'how about you?' means 'how are you feeling?']

John: I'm feeling a little bit dizzy.


3) Jane: All are coming with me. What about you?

John: I'm too.


B) 'What about' and 'How about' are also used to make a suggestion about what can be done. 

For example, 

1) We are all bored. How about going for a walk?
2) We are all tired. What about a break?
3) She didn't attend the last meeting. What about sending her an email about the next meeting?
4) We're all free today. How about a trip to the zoo this afternoon?


C) The above idiomatic expressions are used when asking for information about somebody or something.

For Example, 

1) How about Olivia? Have you heard from her?
2) We're all going to the beach. What about Kenny? 
3) What about the people who can't afford health insurance?
4) You can throw this one away. But what about the others? [What should we do with the others?]


D) Also used to ask someone to tell one something in response to the thing that one has just said. 

For Example,

1) I like skiing and hiking. What about you? What sports do you like?
2) Everyone else is coming. What about you?



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