What does these means ? (What are you up to/What is it like there ?.....)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Losteyes, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. Losteyes

    Losteyes New Member

    I am just wondering about what does these sentences means :
    What are you up to ?
    What are you in to ?
    What have you been up to?
    How is it like there in Israel ?
    and actually I have many more like these sentences . . so hard to me t understand! I will put them here later when I remember them!! :)

    Thank you in advance!

  2. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Hello Fadi and welcome to the forums,

    Well, the exact meanings of these senteces depend on the context they are used in, but as basic guidelines:

    As a greeting: "What are you doing?"
    As an insinuation: "What are you planning?
    This could also mean "What are you doing or planning?"
    It could also mean "What do you like?" or "What kind of things do you like?"

    What have you been doing?

    This sentence is incorrect. It should read:
    How is it (there) in Israel? (The 'there' is really not necessary.)
    What is it like (there) in Israel?
  3. arturolczykowski

    arturolczykowski Senior Member

    Farnham, UK
    Is "what are you up to?" in BrE used as a greeting like in AmE? (=what are you doing)
  4. arturolczykowski

    arturolczykowski Senior Member

    Farnham, UK
    I know that it's quite late in the UK but maybe we've got on the forum any Brit leaving abroad - in the US for example ;)
  5. LouisaB Senior Member

    English, UK
    Not really - or not, at least, in my experience. Unlike (for example) 'How are you doing?' I think it's always a literal question, and requires a specific answer.

    The closest we'd come to that is when we meet someone we haven't seen for a long time, when our first question might well be 'What are you up to these days?' Even then, we would definitely want an answer, so it doesn't really qualify as a greeting.

  6. arturolczykowski

    arturolczykowski Senior Member

    Farnham, UK
    Is "what are you planing/going to do" another meaning? And if so which one is more often on your mind when you see/hear expression like: "What are you up, John?"
  7. Musical Chairs Senior Member

    Japan & US, Japanese & English
  8. LouisaB Senior Member

    English, UK
    It would depend on the context.

    If I caught somebody I knew acting furtively, I might ask 'What are you up to?' - which has the exact same meaning as before (ie 'what are you doing?'), but as Josh pointed out, it also contains an insinuation, in this case that the other person is planning to do something devious.

    In the same way, if someone I knew acted strangely, eg asking casually where exactly I was going to be on the early evening of my birthday, again I might ask 'What are you up to?', insinuating he was planning something he didn't want me to know about, eg planning a surprise birthday party.

    It is this slight hint of 'secretive' or 'devious' which gives us the expression that somebody 'is up to no good', meaning we don't know exactly what they're planning, but we're sure it's nothing good.

    If none of these circumstances are present, 'what are you up to?' can just be taken at face value - ie 'what are you doing?'

    I'm only speaking for BE here - I'm not sure if it works in the same way in the US.

  9. arturolczykowski

    arturolczykowski Senior Member

    Farnham, UK
    Thanks a lots folks.
  10. mj93 New Member

    "How is it like" sounds completely wrong, it's either: How is it (though "are you" or "are things" sounds better) (there) in Israel?

    Or, as you said: What's it like there in Israel? Though if both know the person you're talking to is in Israel, that saying "in Israel" is redundant and sounds strange.

    I agree with LouisaB on the use of "what are you up to?". In a colloquial form, what are you up to definitely means "what are you doing" but the amount of suspicion in the question depends on the way in which it is said.

    Planning or going to do both refer to the future, whereas doing in "what are you doing" is present continuous so meaning right at this very moment.

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