A and B people meet each other. A was at a bar a while ago. Then, B asks from A like this; Are you at the bar?

I want to know, is it wrong when we say; Aren't you at the bar?

  • 1
    Is the question attempting to find out A's current location, or their previous location? – SteveES Jun 2 '17 at 10:48

When asking about the location of someone, there are essentially three ways you can do it:

  1. Where are/were you? - The question assumes nothing about their location, it just asks for it to be provided.
  2. Are/were you at/in [x]? - The question assumes [x] is the most likely location, but it is still a fairly neutral question giving the implication that you don't really know their whereabouts.
  3. Aren't/weren't you at/in [x]? - The question implies that you think you know/knew their location, [x], and are attempting to confirm it. This form is especially common if you have heard that your assumed knowledge may be wrong. E.g. you said earlier you were going to the bar, but you just said something that implied you were actually somewhere else - Weren't you at the bar?
| improve this answer | |

If B wants to ask A about something from the past, you can't use present tense. B should ask something like

Were you at the bar?


Weren't you at the bar?

But both questions don't mean the same. The first one implies that B doesn't really know whether A was at a bar before they met, while the second one implies B suspects A was at a bar or has been told he or she was at a bar and wants to confirm it. Or maybe A has already told B he or she was at a bar, but B doesn't remember it.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.