The Origin and How to Really Use What’s Up

In this video  lesson you are going to discover why a lot of people make this mistake when responding to this very common colloquial greeting.

Have you been answering corectly? Take a look at this video lesson to find out.


What’s up RealLife English, welcome to another one minute video lesson, and today I’m going to teach you the origin and how to really use the word “What’s Up.”

Is this RealLife?

The first thing you guys have to know is that when someone says “Hey, what’s up?” you do not say “Oh, I’m good.” That’s not how we respond.

When someone says “what’s up,” this comes from the phrase “what have you been up to.” “Up to,” in English, is a synonym, you’re going to hear this in many verb tenses, it means “doing.” So, when I say “what have you been doing?” I’m going to respond in the present perfect continuous “Oh, you know, I’ve been working,” “I’ve been traveling,” “I’ve been studying English.”

So, that’s where what’s up comes from and that’s why, when you respond, you should always say “I’ve been…” working, traveling, studying, whatever.

Ok, so, if you guys like learning about slang and English expressions, don’t forget to click on the link in the outro for 101 English Words You Will Not Learn at School, a free ebook, you’re going to really love it, and I hope to see you guys next time on RealLife TV.

Aww yeah!

Learn More about greeting here

  • Luiz Souza says:


  • Mohamad Jff says:

    Thanks. I had no idea about it.

  • Excellent, at school many things are not mentioned

  • Janet Abedi says:

    well, I was thinking that I could reply like ' oh, I am good,
    Now, I know the correct format. thanks a lot for teaching us how to answer.
    you do a great job.

  • Kang Hina says:

    thank u so much

  • Klo bhs inggris ny saya kebanjiran atau qt bertanya apkh kmu kebanjiran?

  • Chad Fishwick says:

    I couldn't agree more (Y)

  • Chad Fishwick says:

    I couldn't agree more (Y)

  • Tam Thieu says:

    thanks so much 🙂 it is really helpful

  • katayoon says:

    thank you so much.i have aquestion.does it mean same as what ‘s the news?or not?

    • J says:

      No. “What’s the news” means “What have you heard lately?”

      “What’s up” or “What have you been up to” means the speaker wants to know the activities you have been doing lately. It can even mean in that moment…”What are you doing right now”.

  • Alberto says:

    Thanks!! but like Janet sais…i thinking that i’ll respond ‘hi!..i’m fime’ or whaterver..the correctly anwer that all right and if the teacher said it!!!…. thanks again and bye now!!

  • Thanks. Now I know answer when somebody ask me what's up. God bless you.

  • Thank you so much. It is really useful information.

  • Jorge says:

    Thanks for explaining

  • Khalid says:

    You guys are excellent
    Thank u so much

  • Marcio Rodrigues da Silva says:

    Thank you for your remark phrase verb what’s up. Very good.

  • Pamela says:

    Thank you for reminding us the good use of the words and phrase verb What’s up…