Have you ever heard someone ask “where are you at” in a conversation? Chances are that most people have. But is this phrase considered to be correct grammar? You will come to learn that there are many commonly used phrases in the English language. That does NOT necessarily mean they are correct! In this post, we’ll teach you about the phrase “where are you at” and if it is appropriate to use in your writing.
Is “Where Are You At” Proper Grammar?
When it comes to American English, many people use the phrase “Where are you at”. But is this correct grammar?
Answer: No, it is not correct to use this phrase. The literal meaning of this sentence would be “At what location are you at”. It is redundant!
Technically speaking, the phrase “where are you at” is improper English that is most commonly used as slang in urban cultures. However, context is very important! No need to be a grammar nazi when sending a text message or having a conversation with a friend! This is very similar to the rules with discuss about or discuss that we covered in a previous post!
Here are 5 sentences that demonstrate how to use the phrase “where are you” correctly.
- “Where are you? I’ve been looking for you everywhere around the office.”
- “Can you tell me where are you right now? I need to meet you to give you something.”
- “Where are you going? I’m bored and would like to join you!”
- “I’m lost, where are you? Can you please give me directions so I can find the shopping mall?”
- “Where are you? I’ve been waiting for you for an hour.”
Just like we saw with our analysis of which vs what grammar rules, small spelling differences can make a huge difference!
Popularity Comparison: Where Are You At vs Where Are You
By analyzing Google’s ngram data it is clear that “where are you” is used more frequently! That is certainly not surprising as “where are you at” is not correct grammar.
Just like we saw with our breakdown of the words Beside vs Besides The Point, the popularity of phrases changes with time! As culture changes, so do the manner in which we communicate with each other.
Slang In The English Language
Just like we saw when comparing the difference between yep vs yup, slang is very prevalent in the English language. Slang is the informal way a certain group of people communicates. It is usually impacted by location. For example, people in Boston speak differently than people in California!
4 Types of “Where”
For people trying to learn the English language, the word “Where” can often be a point of confusion. And it is easy to see why! Here are the 4 forms of this word.
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- Where – Can be used as an adverb, conjunction, or pronoun to refer to a place or location. Remember, you can’t end a sentence with a preposition!
- Ex: “Do you know where Mark was born?”
- Were – Noramlly used in the past tense. This word is used to describe something that happened at some point in the past.
- Ex: “Steve & Tom were at the mall yesterday!”
- We’re – Used as a contraction of the words “we are”. This constraction is most commonly used to show that two or more people are in agreement.
- Ex: “I made the decision that we’re going to the basketball game tomorrow.”
- Wear – This is a verb that indicates you have something on your body as clothing.
- Ex: “I am going to wear my new dress to the dance tonight!”
Just like we saw when analyzing the phrases “you both or both of you“, small spelling changes can significantly change a sentence.
Frequently Asked Questions
In American English it is not grammatically correct to say “where are you at”. The word “where” means “at what location”, so the phrase “where are you at” is redundant. This may be perfectly acceptable in informal conversation. Instead, try saying “where are you”.
Neither are grammatically correct in to say in the English language. If you are trying to discuss someone’s location in an informal tone, use “where you’re at”. “You’re” is a contraction for the words “you” and “are”.
There are a few alternate phrases you could use: “Where are you located?”, “Where are you currently?”, “Where are you situated?”, “Can you tell me your location?”, or “Can you tell me where you are?” can all be used instead of “where are you?”.
The Bottom Line
Now you should have a firm understanding of the phrase “where are you at?” As it turns out, this phrase is a common colloquialism, but is considered slang. Avoid using this phrase in formal communication like business letters or academic papers! If you need some extra help mastering this spelling rule, consider using our own check grammar tool for FREE.