how - definition and synonyms

adverb, conjunction 

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How can be used in the following ways:
as an adverb (introducing a direct or indirect question): How do you spell your last name?I don’t know how the system works. (introducing an exclamation): How I hate the winter! (followed by an adjective or adverb): How old is Peter?I didn’t realize how clever she was.It’s surprising how quickly the weather can change. (before ‘much’, ‘many’, ‘few’, or ‘little’): How much do you earn? (introducing a clause that is the subject, object, or complement of another clause): How I spend my free time is a private matter.
as a conjunction (connecting two clauses): You can live your life how you want.
  1. 1
    in what way
    1. a.
      used for asking or talking about the method of doing something

      How can I get from here to Oxford Street?

      ‘We have to get out of this place.’ ‘Yes, but how?’

      Louis is the only person who understands how the system works.

      How they ever made a profit is an absolute mystery.

      how to do something:

      Would you show me how to send an email?

    2. b.
      used for asking or talking about the way that someone behaves or the way that something happens

      Just tell me how the story ends.

      How did she react when you mentioned my name?

    3. c.
      used for asking or talking about the way in which one thing is different from or similar to another

      How does the new program differ from the old one?

      I don’t see how this crisis is any worse than the one we had last year.

    4. d.
      used for asking or talking about the way that someone or something looks or sounds

      ‘How do you like your coffee?’ ‘Just a little milk, please.’

      Cut her hair short if that’s how she wants it.

      How you look is not so important in radio broadcasting.

      I hate how my voice sounds on tape.

    5. e.
      informal in whatever way

      Now I’ve left school I can dress how I want.

  2. 2
    used for asking or saying what quantity, distance, age etc something is, or to what degree something is true

    I wonder how far we’ve walked today.

    How old is your sister?

    I soon realized how difficult my job was going to be.

    how much/many:

    I know how much time is wasted on unnecessary tasks.

    How many grandchildren do you have now?

  3. 3
    used for asking what someone thinks about an experience

    How was school today?

    How’s life in the army?

    how did something go:

    How did your driving test go?

  4. 4
    used for emphasizing a particular fact or quality

    You know how much I love you.

    I was amazed at just how easy it is to shop on the Internet.

    How wonderful! This means we can all travel together.

    How kind of you to say all those nice things about me!

  5. 5
    used for referring to a particular fact that you want to mention

    I remember how they used to have those huge roaring fires in the winter.

    Isn’t it strange how no one ever mentions his name nowadays?

See also