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How to Respond to “What’s Up?” (also Wassup or Sup)

How to Respond to “What’s Up?” (also Wassup or Sup)

“What’s up” is one of the most common greetings. It is similar to “How are you” or “What’s going on.” Whether you are a native English speaker or not, it can be difficult to know how to respond. How to respond to “What’s up?”

When someone says “What’s up,” a common response is “Nothing,” “Not much,” or “Not much, you?” In this context, the appropriate response is to return the greeting or confirm that everything is okay.

The proper response to this question largely depends on the one who is asking and the situation it was asked.

When a person asks, “What’s up?” they want to know what you are doing or if you have time to talk. The context of how it was asked has everything to do with the meaning of it. In other words, your response will depend on the circumstances by which the question was asked.

How to Respond to “What’s Up?”

  • “Nothing”
  • “Not much”
  • “Not much, you?”

A person may pop the question “What’s up?” because of one of the following reasons: 1) to show politeness in a limited context, 2) to start a small talk, or 3) to show genuine interest.

1. “What’s Up?” from Someone You’re Acquainted With

In the first scenario, “What’s up?” could be asked by someone you are acquainted with but not that much. So out of politeness, they will give this greeting to acknowledge your unexpected encounter.

2. “What’s Up?” from Someone Who Admires You

In the second situation, the person may ask you, “What’s up?” in their desire to start a conversation. Maybe the person is someone who admires you or is someone who wants something from you.

3. “What’s Up?” from a Close Friend in the Past

In the third scenario, the person could be a close friend with whom you have lost contact for some time and you have just had a chance encounter. Your friend may want to know your present situation, or what you have been up to, and stuff like that.

So, you can see that your response to “What’s up?” will largely depend on the person asking and the conditions wherein the question was asked. There is really no one answer that may apply to all these three scenarios.

For instance, a person may ask, “What’s up?” because they notice that a coworker seems distressed or has some trouble. The question is a non-intrusive and polite way to know what’s going on and if they could offer any assistance. It’s just like asking, “What’s the matter?” or “Are you alright?”

There is a notion that this phrase is short for “What’s the update?” That means the person asking is basically just checking up on what you have been up to or how things are going. Eventually, it became a general greeting for people in the United States and the U.K.

So, you will know how to respond when the other person asks, “What’s up?” As a general response, you can either say “Not Much,” or “Alright,” or “Nothing.” In that context, the other person gets the feeling that you are just returning his greeting.

What Is the Expected Answer to “What’s Up?”

In general, when someone greets you with “What’s up?” they are not really expecting an in-depth answer from you. Any polite response that you can come up with will be appropriate. It is proper to return the greeting with “Oh, hi (name of the person).” You really didn’t answer the question, but they won’t think that you are aloof.

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