I've come across both sentences and was wondering if there is any difference in their meaning. Here are the sentences where I met them:

To be down:

Give me a call if you're down

To be in:

Who's in for the show tonight?

Can one switch them without any impact as in if you're in and who's down for ?

Edit: a new challenger joins the list, to be up to:

Tell me what you're up to

Also, I would point out that I've read/heard that in America and English is my second language.

Now the main question becomes: Can we interchangeably use "to be in for", "to be down with" and "to be up to" ? Can we also switch the extra words such as "to be in with", "to be down to", "to be up for" ? If you have any concrete example where one or another could be more appropriate/meaningful, please let us know!

  • Your first sentence means something completely different. I guess you forgot the last part. As it stands it means "pick up the phone if you feel depressed".
    – oerkelens
    Apr 4, 2014 at 8:11
  • 1
    Give me a call if you're in might be taken to mean if you're at home or if you're in the office depending on the circumstances.
    – Neil W
    Apr 4, 2014 at 8:17
  • Give me a call if you're down can also have context-informed senses: down from Uni, down from Scotland, down from the Eiger ... Apr 4, 2014 at 8:26
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    @EdwinAshworth I would use when instead of if. Using if makes it sound as if you expect there is a good chance the person will not come down from the Eiger.
    – oerkelens
    Apr 4, 2014 at 8:45
  • @oerkelens So would I if that's what I meant. 'If' means something different. The first two are obvious ("Don't phone if term hasn't ended yet"; 'Don't phone if you're still in Scotland"; the third means "Phone if you've already got down, but don't worry if you don't get this voicemail for a few hours from now." Apr 4, 2014 at 16:25

3 Answers 3


Can we interchangeably use "to be in for", "to be down with" and "to be up to" ?

"To be in for" and "to be down with" are more similar to each other than they are to "to be up to."

When I ask you, "Are you in for the show tonight?", I mean, "Are you in the group of people who are going to the show tonight?"

When I ask you, "Are you down for the show tonight?" that could be short for "Should I put your name down on the (metaphorical) list of people going to the show tonight?"

"To be up to" is used almost exclusively in the present tense. "What are you up to right now?" is much more common than "What will you be up to later tonight?"

"What are you up to?" should not be confused with "What are you up for?"

  • "What are you up to?" = What are you doing right now?
  • "What are you up for?" = What would you be interested in or what do you feel capable of doing?
  • Thanks, that's clear and perfect, I especially appreciate your effort of completing the sentences into how they could be rephrased, which definitely helps understanding them.
    – Florian
    Apr 7, 2014 at 18:16

You could substitute "around" for both "in" and "down" in your examples

However, "down" seems to imply that a person is unusually in the vicinity from elsewhere. "in" implies a more specific location and also a sense of deliberate presence. "down" is less specific about where exactly the subject is but is saying that they are in the area.

"up" is also used in the same way as "down", example

next time you are up from London please let me know

  • I'd take "up from London" in this context to mean you were visiting somewhere outside London, but that's where you came from. To mean in London, "up in London" is used.
    – mjsqu
    Apr 4, 2014 at 11:24
  • Thanks for pointing that, I've also added "up" in my initial question, but I feel like Mike's answer is closer to what I've met. Could you specify if you're British or American?
    – Florian
    Apr 5, 2014 at 3:55

In AmE, a slang use of these phrases implies if you want to join or are agreeable. Give me a call if you're down, means down with that. You might reply, yeah, I'm down wih that. To be in is a little more mature way of saying this, but still slang. I suspect it fits with if you want to be counted in. It is possible that both of these invitations involved some reference to your current location making a difference, but i doubt it. For a better example see this urban dictionary definition I'm down. I can't find this definition for in right now. They do mean the same thing, though down is more hip, I think. I suspect the person who asked if you are down is more "cool" and the one who asked if you are in is more conservative, mildly. Thanks for this question, I like it! Please forgive my use of mature and conservative, as they reflect my perspective and others may chose different adjectives to describe this.

I wouldn't use them totally interchangeably. It is usually down with something and in for something. Those two phrases can be used pretty interchangeably.

Give me a call if you're in (for catching a show)!

Let me know if you're down with that!

  • Thanks, that's helpful and closer to what I'm expecting. I like how you interprete the mood based on the chosen sentence, yet I've always thought "I'm in" was the most common thing with no connotation, since we even use it in my country.
    – Florian
    Apr 5, 2014 at 3:54

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