"Como vão as coisas?"
Translation:How are things going?
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I would just have expected that to come from: Como vão coisas. But your right on the English, and I guess the natural Portugeese to natural flow English is not just 1 to 1.
The definite article "the" shouldn't be included because we are talking about generalities, nothing specific. Portuguese rules regarding the use of articles differ from those of English.
You will also hear this idiomatic version: "How're things going?"
It is correct that when refering to generalities, like asking "how are you doing" there should NOT be a definite article in English, but how do we know that the Portuguese sentence only is supposed to refer to generalities? If used in context, where for example a group of people is working on a project - someone entering might ask "How are the things going" refering to that particular activity. Would you then use another construction to convey this meaning in Portuguese?
To be specific, you can add more context to each one of these fixed expressions.
Como vão as coisas em sua pesquisa?
How are things going with your research project?
Deve-se evitar traduzir ao pé da letra. O "the" não se usa antes de substantivos no plural quando se fala de generalizações.
"How are things going?" é certo.
Although you would be understood, that is not a normal way to express yourself in English, although maybe once in a while, someone might say it like that, to be different. I would recommend sticking with How are things going? or How is it going? More informally, I'd say How's it going? Of course, these last phrases leave out the coisas, or things, but they mean the same thing.
So this is "how goes the things", literally? Shouldn't "estão" have a part in a sentence like that?
Does "are" not get included in some way?
If you asked me to write it before this, I'd have written:
Como estão coisas indo? ... or ... Como coisas estão indo?
"Como vão as coisas?" is a common way to translate "How are things going?" but it is not a word-for-word translation. You could say "Como as coisas estão indo?" (less common) too.
In English, you can't say How the things are going? In a question, you must reverse the word order to How are things going? And we don't use the word "the" in that sentence. BTW, I also put How is it going?, and that was accepted, because it's also a normal way to talk in English.
In European English I have only ever heard "how goes things?" Of course it is not good English to phrase it like that, but none of the other suggestions here are either. To ask the question correctly one would say something similar to "How is everything at the moment?"