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How should you reply to "what's up?"

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If the question annoys you, you could routinely start complaining about your sciatica and bunions when asked... –  T.E.D. Aug 3 '11 at 13:42
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4 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

"What's up" means "What's happening." I usually just reply "nothing." because nothing is happening to me.

But, there are alternatives, such as the usual reply to a greeting:

  1. Not much
  2. Nothing. Yourself?
  3. I'm good, yourself?
  4. Good. How are you?

However, if there is something that you would like to tell the other person e.g. You've sold your car, it might go like this:

A: What's up?
B: I've sold my car.
A: Good on you mate!

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Additionally, some people just reply with "What's up?" It might sound strange, but then I've heard the same sort of echoing response with "How do you do?" –  Nicholas Aug 3 '11 at 3:56
"I'm good.." and such are really better suited for "How are you doing?" But +1 anyway. –  Bob Aug 2 '12 at 17:52
Adding to Nicholas's comment, "What's up?" does not perform the role of a question; it has the functionality of a generic greeting. "Hello" may be answered with "hello", and similarly with "What's up?" –  Pantalones Aug 3 '12 at 4:20
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Normally people reply "not much", which I think is the appropriate way of answering this question when you are not doing anything. But in case you are doing something, it would be better to say what you are doing.

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Saying what you are doing is not required; you could also give a generic answer. –  kiamlaluno Aug 3 '11 at 5:07
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To me, and probably to most of my fellow Britons, the question "What's up?" means "What's wrong?" or "What's the matter?" — usually asked of someone looking sad or angry. The normal reply would be to say "Nothing" or give the reason for the sadness or anger.

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Here in the US it is a fairly standard greeting, and the asker typically is not at all interested in, and does not want to hear about any problems you might be having. –  T.E.D. Aug 3 '11 at 13:43
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Some dude: Hey, what’s up?
You: Just chillin.

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