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Thread: what is up?

  1. #1
    wang.cupid is offline Junior Member
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    Default what is up?

    Hey, what does "what is up" mean? More importantly, what should we respond to this?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by wang.cupid; 03-Apr-2011 at 12:06.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: what is up?

    All of the following concerns AmE only.

    First of all, it isn't "What is up?". It's "What's up?"

    It used to be (and often still is) a casual and friendly greeting similar to "What's new?" except that "What's new?" generally requires some prior greeting such as "Hello". "What's up?" can be interpreted as a request to know what is going on, or simply as an invitation to start a conversation.

    In the last fifteen years or so, it seems to be evolving into a generic greeting with very few connotations, similar to "Hi", and people have started writing it as "Wassup".

    Therefore, to answer your second question, if somebody greets you with "What's up?" you can start a conversation about recent happenings. Or you can just reply "Hi" or "Hello", and you can turn the tables by saying "Not much. What's new with you?"

    I remember about a dozen years ago visiting a small American city and checking into the best hotel in town. It was certainly no five-star place, but it did claim to be the best in town and probably was. I approached the front desk and was astonished when the clerk turned around, smiled and said "Wassup." I'd been expecting something more like "Good evening, sir."

    I wouldn't say "Wassup" is common, and many people would consider it dialect. But it is increasingly heard.
    Last edited by probus; 31-Mar-2011 at 19:24.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: what is up?

    As probus said, his comments were about AmE.

    'What's up?' used in this way still sounds strange to many speakers of BrE. To us it means, "What is wrong? What's the problem?'

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    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: what is up?

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    I remember about a dozen years ago visiting a small American city and checking into the best hotel in town. It was certainly no five-star place, but it did claim to be the best in town and probably was. I approached the front desk and was astonished when the clerk turned around, smiled and said "Wassup." I'd been expecting something more like "Good evening, sir."

    I wouldn't say "Wassup" is common, and many people would consider it dialect. But it is increasingly heard.
    Sometimes I forget to be all proper and say "what's up?" to a student.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: what is up?

    Something is up means Something is going on, right?

  6. #6
    wang.cupid is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: what is up?

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    All of the following concerns AmE only.

    First of all, it isn't "What is up?". It's "What's up?"

    It used to be (and often still is) a casual and friendly greeting similar to "What's new?" except that "What's new?" generally requires some prior greeting such as "Hello". "What's up?" can be interpreted as a request to know what is going on, or simply as an invitation to start a conversation.

    In the last fifteen years or so, it seems to be evolving into a generic greeting with very few connotations, similar to "Hi", and people have started writing it as "Wassup".

    Therefore, to answer your second question, if somebody greets you with "What's up?" you can start a conversation about recent happenings. Or you can just reply "Hi" or "Hello", and you can turn the tables by saying "Not much. What's new with you?"

    I remember about a dozen years ago visiting a small American city and checking into the best hotel in town. It was certainly no five-star place, but it did claim to be the best in town and probably was. I approached the front desk and was astonished when the clerk turned around, smiled and said "Wassup." I'd been expecting something more like "Good evening, sir."

    I wouldn't say "Wassup" is common, and many people would consider it dialect. But it is increasingly heard.
    Thank you and all other guys very much!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: what is up?

    Quote Originally Posted by bagzi94 View Post
    Something is up means Something is going on, right?
    Yes, but more like something's wrong. For example, "I think something's up with the mail server, I haven't received any email for 3 days" "Something's up with Tina, I've never seen her so quiet."

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    Vidor is offline Member
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    Default not a teacher

    "What's up?" can still be used as an interrogatory meaning "what is happening" or "what is going on" but I agree that it also has become something of a generic greeting.

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