everyone It's been bothering me for a while - when someone asks 'what are you up to?' - i think it concerns the present continous tense or nearby future (plans) as in 'what are you up to today?'. I'm wondering if this kind of structure could be classified as any of the existing tenses. Thank you in advance and best regards :)

1 Answer 1


Grammatically speaking, "what are you up to?" is the present simple.

To be up to sth. - to be doing sth. (the Cambridge Dictionary): What are you up to? (=What are you doing?) - Nothing.

You are right saying that it's about the moment of speaking but this meaning is in the very phrase "to be up to something". By the way, we can't use it in the present continuous because the verb "to be" describes a state here.

  • What about the word "getting up to sth"? is it incorrect usage or a special case? Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 8:33
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    @BerkerYüceer if you get up to something, you do something, especially something that you should not do. This phrase can be used in the continuous tenses because "get" is not a state verb. For example, "I feel he's getting up to something."
    – Enguroo
    Commented Sep 21, 2019 at 4:44

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