How Questions | Often, Long, Well, Good

Lyn gives Tom some advice on getting in shape.

Tom: Hey Lyn! I've really been putting on a lot of weight. I need to do something about it. You're a health fanatic, aren't you? Maybe you could give some advice.

Lyn: Hmm. I'm not a fanatic. I just take care of myself unlike some around here.

Tom: OK. OK. Point taken. Well, maybe you can help. How often do I need to exercise?

Lyn: Well, every day doing a little would help.

Tom: OK. Maybe I can join the gym round the corner but I don’t always have a lot of time. How long should I spend in there?

Lyn: An hour is enough and don’t overdo things at the start. You don't need to go every day.

Tom: Hey, that is good news. You play tennis don’t you? Maybe we could play sometimes. But I'm not very good. How good are you?

Lyn: Very good.

Tom: Hmm. That may not be a good idea then. What about badminton? How well do you play that?

Lyn: I’m even better than at tennis.

Tom: OK. Well, maybe I better get fit before thinking of playing sports with you. Thanks for the advice.

Lyn: No problem.

Grammar Notes

Point 1: 'How often' asks for frequency and 'how long' asks for a time period.
  • How often do you play golf?
    A: Every day / Three times a week / Once a year / Never.
  • Q: How long do you practice piano?
  • A: An hour a day / Three hours a week / An hour every Saturday.
Point 2: How well and how good ask about skill ability.
  • How well do you play guitar?
    Very well / Average / Not so well / Badly.
  • How good are you at French?
    Very good / Good / OK / Not very good / Bad.
Point 3: We usually answer these questions with short answers.
  • How often do you go clubbing?
  • How well can you dance?
    Pretty well.
Point 4: Be careful with How well / How good questions. We rarely answer a how good question with well. We usually don’t answer a how well question with good. Try to avoid doing this. Pretty good and not too bad are common answers.
  • How well can you play the piano?
    Pretty good, but not great.
Answer these questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
very well • pretty well
terrible • never
  1. He cannot swim , so he is taking lessons.
  2. I am at golf. I only played once and hated it.
  3. You speak Chinese considering you never studied it before.
  4. How often do I cook? . I buy my dinner every night.