I'm watching an episode of Futurama and I heard:

Where you going?

It seems incorrect, I think the right sentences should be Where are you going?

In American English can't be used the present simple?


In colloquial US English the unstressed are in wh- questions is usually at least elided to 're (syllabic /ɹ/) and often dropped completely. Did is similarly reduced to 'd, which assimilates with the following /j/ in you and may be further affected by a preceding consonant:

Why you so pissy today?
Where you goin?
Whatcha doing? Whendja get there? Whydja stop?

These are all ordinary pronunciations in 'Standard' spoken US English, but should not be emulated in written English unless you want to depict the speaker as slovenly or uneducated.

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    ref. 'd - Pittsburghers will ask Jeet jet? – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Aug 20 '16 at 19:46
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    Uneducated? or maybe just using casual speech at that particular moment. I would say "Where you going" myself and I consider myself very well educated. – Micah Walter Aug 21 '16 at 3:08
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    @JohnPeyton Of course; we all do. I probably never say it any other way. But if you put words written that way on the page as the speech of a person or character, it becomes 'eye dialect'. – StoneyB on hiatus Aug 21 '16 at 6:12
  • @StoneyB For now I'd agree with you, but alternate spellings and sentence structures are becoming more and more accepted as mediums like texting and IMing become more popular. I find myself using things like "Watcha want?" and "Where ya goin'?" in IMs with my boss at work, and it's not considered unprofessional or unintelligent, just informal. In formal writing I'd never do that, but informally...yurp. – Jay Carr Aug 21 '16 at 14:06
  • Personally, I find a difference between writing out colloquial sentence structure and "eye dialect" spelling. In other words, "Watcha want?" bothers me, but "What you want"? doesn't. I don't know if other people share this same sensibility, but I think it has to do with the fact that spelling is more conventional than written grammar. – Micah Walter Aug 26 '16 at 14:12
  1. To form the present continuous you must use the verb 'be'. So the correct form of the sentence is:

    'Where are you going?'

It is incorrect to say 'Where you going?'. However, many people will use this incorrect form in informal situations.

  1. Sometimes it's very difficult to hear the difference between "where" and "where are". It is possible that the character in Futurama actually said "where are".
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    Welcome to ELL and thank you for your answer. It's a fine one, and we hope you'll answer more questions. Please take a few minutes to review our tour and help center pages. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Aug 20 '16 at 19:21
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    If native speakers use it, it's hard to call it "incorrect" :) I think "improper" or "colloquial" would be better. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Aug 20 '16 at 23:14
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    "Colloquial" is a good word to use here. – Micah Walter Aug 21 '16 at 3:08

This is a spoken clitic. English has tons of them that make commonly-used helping verbs easier and faster to say. In this case, what you heard as "where" is actually a spoken contraction for "where are" that has no particular spelling since it's not used in English writing. It's usually pronounced with at least a slight "uh" sound after "where".

"Omina" is perhaps the most amusing of these. Many native English speakers will say "I am going to go to the store" by contracting "I am going to" to something that sounds like omina.

  • I think you mean "contraction", not "clitic". While contraction does have a tendency to turn full words into clitics (as in e.g. "I am" -> "I'm", where "am" is a word but "'m" is a clitic), in this case ("where are" -> "where") there's no trace of the contracted "are", not even a clitic, left in writing, and (depending on the speaker's dialect) hardly any in pronunciation either. – Ilmari Karonen Aug 21 '16 at 14:22
  • @IlmariKaronen The clitic is the slight "uh" sound after "where". – David Schwartz Aug 21 '16 at 19:11

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