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How About vs. What About: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 2, 2023
How About suggests an idea or proposal. What About raises a question or consideration about something.

Key Differences

How About typically introduces a suggestion or a proposal. It's often used when offering ideas or alternatives. For example, "How about we go to the movies tonight?" implies a proposal for an activity. What About, on the other hand, is generally used to bring something into discussion that might have been overlooked or to ask for further information. "What about the budget for our project?" asks for specific details regarding a previously mentioned topic.
How About is a phrase used to initiate an idea or a plan. It's a way to introduce a new topic or possibility into a conversation. It can be used to suggest something in a casual or informal setting, like "How about trying a new restaurant?" What About is often used to seek additional information or to remind someone of an issue that needs attention. It can indicate concern or the need for clarification, as in "What about the arrangements for the meeting?"
In terms of usage, How About is a more proactive phrase, used when someone is taking the initiative to suggest something. It's forward-looking and is often the start of brainstorming ideas or options. Conversely, What About is more reactive, used in response to a situation or to bring up a topic that might have been missed, such as in "We've planned the trip, but what about accommodations?"
When it comes to tone, How About tends to be more positive or constructive, as it's about proposing ideas or activities. It's often used in a light-hearted or friendly manner. What About can sometimes carry a tone of concern or criticism, especially if it's highlighting something that has been neglected or needs addressing, like in "You've mentioned the benefits, but what about the risks?"
How About is about suggesting and introducing ideas, while What About is about questioning and seeking information or clarification. Both phrases are common in everyday English and are used in various contexts, from casual conversations to business meetings.

Comparison Chart


Suggests ideas or proposals.
Raises questions or considerations.


Initiates a proposal or idea.
Seeks information or highlights an issue.


Often used to suggest alternatives.
Used to bring up overlooked details.


Generally positive or constructive.
Can imply concern or need for attention.


"How about visiting Paris?"
"What about our plans for Paris?"

How About and What About Definitions

How About

Initiating New Topics.
How about we discuss the new project?

What About

Requesting Information.
What about the meeting schedule?

How About

Suggestion of Ideas.
How about going hiking this weekend?

What About

Highlighting Overlooked Aspects.
What about the environmental impact?

How About

Offering Choices.
How about watching a movie or reading a book?

What About

Bringing Up Concerns.
What about our budget constraints?

How About

Proposal for Alternatives.
How about Thai food for dinner?

What About

Seeking Additional Details.
What about the guests for the event?

How About

Introducing Possibilities.
How about we try online marketing?

What About

Asking for Clarification.
What about the terms of the contract?


What does 'how about' imply?

Suggests ideas or proposals.

Can 'how about' start a conversation?

Yes, often to propose something.

How is 'how about' used in planning?

To suggest options or plans.

Can 'how about' be informal?

Yes, it's common in casual talk.

What tone does 'how about' convey?

Usually positive or constructive.

What's the typical use of 'what about'?

To raise questions or concerns.

Can 'how about' be used in negotiations?

Yes, to suggest alternatives.

Can 'what about' introduce new topics?

More for addressing existing ones.

Is 'what about' used for clarifications?

Yes, it seeks further details.

Is 'what about' used in formal contexts?

Yes, in both formal and informal settings.

How does 'what about' function in debates?

To question or counter-argue points.

How versatile is 'how about'?

Very, used in many scenarios.

Does 'what about' imply overlooked aspects?

Often, it highlights missed points.

Does 'what about' suggest concerns?

It can imply concerns or queries.

Does 'how about' imply initiative?

Yes, it's proactive in suggestions.

Is 'how about' used for decision-making?

Yes, to offer choices.

Is 'what about' reactive in conversations?

Often, responding to previous points.

Can 'what about' express disagreement?

It can, by highlighting differing points.

Does 'how about' suit brainstorming?

Perfectly, for proposing ideas.

Is 'what about' critical in problem-solving?

Yes, for addressing all aspects.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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