''Where are you at'' and ''where are you''

Steve   Thursday, January 01, 2004, 03:27 GMT
What is the difference between ''where are you at'' and ''where are you''?
Bren   Friday, January 02, 2004, 01:08 GMT
"Where are you at?" is slang, at least in America, whereas "Where are you?" is the proper way to ask where one is.
Alice   Friday, January 02, 2004, 04:36 GMT
"Where are you at?" is incorrect, ending a sentence with a preposition is a most grievous sin!
Jay   Saturday, January 03, 2004, 23:16 GMT
I can think of a situation for which "where are you at?" is at least as helpful as "where are you?"
For instance, imagine you and your spouse/sig. other are at a large mall. You like books and kitchen gadgets, while they prefer shoes and clothes. A few hours into the trip, you ring their cell phone and ask "Where are you at?"
This focuses the attention on their exact location. "Where are you?" in this situation could be taken as a rebuke, as in "My feet hurt. I'm tired. Where ARE you???" You aren't looking to start a fight. You just want to know their precise location. The "at" might seem redundant, but I think it helps focus what the question is really asking.
I suppose you could say "At where are you?", but that just sounds silly.
to Alice   Sunday, January 04, 2004, 18:35 GMT
then what about "what are you talking about?" thats also ending in a preposition but sounds correct to me.
Jacob   Sunday, January 04, 2004, 23:03 GMT
Ending a sentence with a preposition is not a "most grievous sin". In many cases, it's a legitimate way to avoid awkwardness.

What class are you in?
What street are you on?
Please send him in.
I don't even know who I'm doing this for.

All of those are OK, in my opinion.

But ending with an UNNECESSARY preposition is bad. So "Where are you at?" is really unacceptable, because you can simply drop the "at" and still end up with a correct sentence. This is a REDUNDANT pronoun, and those should always be eliminated (so, "At where are you?" isn't legitimate either, besides the fact that it just sounds terrible.)
Jim   Monday, January 05, 2004, 00:22 GMT
Context and tone of voice could be used to focus the attention on their exact location. In the right context and with the right tone "Where are you?" wouldn't be taken as a rebuke. Bad grammar is not the only way to get your point across.

Winston Churchill said about the rule about ending a sentence/question with a prepostion "Madam, that is a rule up with which I cannot put." Well, technically this is bad grammar too because the "put" is not really a prepostion but part of a phrasal verb but, in this case, bad grammar was used effectively to get his point across.

His point was basically that the rule about never putting a prepostion at the end of a sentence or question is a lot of crap. In formal English it may be a good idea to stick to it but not too rigidly, however, in ordinary language you don't need this rule.

It is not a "most grievous sin" but a natural way of constructing sentences and questions in English. It has existed much longer than this rule forbidding it from English. The rule originated from grammarians who loved Latin more than English and wanted English to conform to foreign rules.

They say "When in Rome do as the Romans do." but we aren't in Rome and we're not speaking Latin. A preposition is a fine word to end a sentence with but the "at" in "Where are you at?" (or "At where are you?") is just incorrect.
mjd   Monday, January 05, 2004, 00:25 GMT
I think Jim summed it up nicely. There isn't much more one can add.