“What are you up to” Meaning and Answers

Have you ever been just chilling somewhere, minding your own business, and then out of no where, a friend comes up and asks you “What are you up to?” You may immediately start to panic because, well, what does that even mean: what are you up to meaning what exactly? You begin to think things like, ok, I’m awake, which means I am up, but also, I am sitting down at the moment, which means I am not up. Confusing, right? Then there is the added “to” at the end of your friend’s question, and you begin to think “is my friend asking me where I am going next?” So many things running through your mind, and you don’t know how to respond. Well, I can help you with that! Keep reading if you’d like to know what exactly what are you up to means.

The Meaning of “What are you up to?”

Essentially, what are you up to is just another way to ask “what are you doing?” Now, this can be interpreted many ways, such as what are you doing now, what have you been doing today, or what do you plan on doing later today. However, for the most part, “what are you up to” implies to what you are doing, or plan on doing, that day. Now, there are times when people ask “What have you been up to lately?”, and when that happens, you can go more in depth about your recent life events, but that’s another story for another day. As for this question, and the meaning of what are you up to, it’s just another way to ask what you are doing. Seems simple enough, right? It sure is!

Another way for greeting

Now that you know what “what are you up to?” means, let’s look into how to use it. This is most commonly used as another way to greet someone. So, for example, let’s say you are sitting at a table in the breakroom at work. A coworker comes up, and in pure curiosity, asks “what are you up to?” This acts as another way of initiating conversation. You respond by saying something like “nothing much, just resting before my lunch break ends”, or you can go into more detail about something you may be doing. What are you up to answers vary on, well, what you are up to. However, it is just as good as saying “hi” or “how are you?”.

Way of asking if you are busy right now

Now, as we have learned the meaning, and that it can be used as a greeting. Did you know it can also be used as a way to ask if someone is busy or not? So, for example, if I come up to you and ask “what are you up to?” because I may need your help, it is somewhat nicer than just coming up to you and flat out asking for help. By first asking what you’re up to, I’m taking your time into consideration. If you’re busy, I will find out with your response to my question. If you are not busy, then perhaps you will be able to help me. See how convenient this question can be? It’s very versatile!

Offer you some activities

Ok, we are learning a lot here, aren’t we? You’re feeling more confident with this question now? I would hope so. This is the last way, at least in this post, that we will discuss how to use “what are you up to?”, I promise. Now, example time! Say I’m your best friend, and I call you up in hopes that we can meet for lunch. I could start off by saying “Hey, what are you up to?” If you respond saying that you don’t have much planned, I can then offer you a bite to eat, and maybe some time to hang out. Just a simple and sweet way to prelude your offers/requests/ or inquiries.

“What are you up to?” answers

Now that we know what it means and how to use it, let’s look into the what are you up to answer pile and see what we find. I have given my top 10.

Respond with….

  1. Oh, not much, you?
  2. Nothing much. What about you?
  3. Oh, not a whole lot. How about you?
  4. Not too much.
  5. Not a whole lot.
  6. Oh, not much.
  7. You mean, right now?
  8. I’m working. What are you doing?
    • Note: replace this verb with whatever you are doing at that time.
  9. Nothing,
  10. The usual.

Other ways to ask “what are you up to?”

Now that we know how to answer “what are you up to?, let’s take a look at my top 10 other ways to ask “what are you up to?”

  1. How are you doing?
  2. How have you been?
  3. How do you do?
  4. What’s going on?
  5. What’s new?
  6. What’s up?
  7. Are you busy?
  8. How are things going?
  9. Do you have any spare time?
  10. Are you free?

So, to sum up, we now know that “what are you up to?” is just another way to ask “how are you?” or other greetings of the sort. It can be used casually or professionally, or however you’d like. There are many responses, which we have been over here in this post, and there are also many ways to ask this same question as well. All in all, it is a simple expression that can go a long way. I strongly encourage you to keep this expression in mind, and try to incorporate it into your daily routines.

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Jaskamal Kaur
Jaskamal Kaur
2 years ago

very helpful


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11 months ago

I love your explanation

Christia Flores
Christia Flores
9 months ago


9 months ago
waow It is amazing and very helpful for me but i wanna get review about <a href="https://dailyvocabshay.blogspot.com/2022/10/what-are-you-up-to-meaning.html">what are you up o meaning ?</a>
9 months ago

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2 months ago

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