I text my friend:

Hey,you still on for lunch?

Instead of this, can I use:

Hey,you still up for lunch?

Are "on" and "up" interchangeable in this context?

  • I know you didn’t ask this, but since it’s in the title- “upon” definitely does’t work. “Up” yes, “on” I think only when talking about a shared appointment (“are we on...”, “are they on...”, “are you guys on...”) – Mixolydian Mar 22 '19 at 20:18

Edit: You would not say "Are you on for lunch?" Normally it's a reference to something you plan to do together, e.g.

Are we on for lunch?

Otherwise, fred2's answer is good, but I disagree that the expressions are interchangeable. In the context of your text to your friend, the expressions have a different nuance.

"On for X" confirms a previously agreed appointment. Asking someone if they are still "on" for that appointment suggests they might have a schedule conflict. It could also be a gentle reminder if you believe they might have forgotten.

Hi June, are we still on for a movie tonight? I know we planned this last week, so I wanted to be sure you're still planning to meet me at the theater.

"Up for X" confirms someone's desire, ability, or (in some cases) courage. Asking someone if they are still "up" for it suggests that you think they might have had second thoughts, or are reminding them that they shouldn't back out.

Hey June, are you still up for skydiving this weekend with us? I guarantee, once you've done it, you'll want to go again as soon as possible. No guts, no glory, right?

So, you might, for example use "up for lunch" if your friend hasn't been feeling well and you want to give them the chance to cancel, or something else that confirms their willingness.

Edit 2: J.R. brings up a good point. The reason why you would not ask "Are you on for X?" is because it suggests that you (the person sending the text) are not included. In a different context, it would be fine to say something like:

Are you still on for your big presentation before the board tomorrow afternoon?

with the assumption that you won't be attending. In a similar way, you could talk about a third party:

Are they still on for the product demo tomorrow?

which suggests that you are not part of the team doing the demo, and possibly (depending on context) that you aren't going to be watching the demo.

So when you text a friend about a lunch plans, use "Are we (still) on for lunch?"

  • Yes, are we still on for x. but not: Are you still on for x. – Lambie Mar 22 '19 at 20:45
  • @Lambie er, yeah. Teach me to read the question. :P – Andrew Mar 22 '19 at 22:29
  • According to Macmillan, be on for something means "to want to do something." The example sentence used there is: Are you still on for a trip to the coast on Thursday? I'm not fully convinced about this point that is being hammered here; specifically, that "are we are still on" is okay but "are you still on" is somehow bad. (Less common? I'd buy that. But not verboten.) – J.R. Mar 22 '19 at 23:08
  • @J.R. I'm not sure I agree with the Macmillan definition. That seems more like "up for" than "on for". But your second point is valid, and I've edited my answer to address. – Andrew Mar 23 '19 at 6:31
  • "up for" is want to do x, so yes, desire etc as you said; and "be on" is "still scheduled" or "still set" to do x; by the way, Andrew, I was one of your two upvotes. – Lambie Mar 23 '19 at 13:11

They are very close in meaning, so yes I think you can treat them as interchangeable in this case.

To my mind, "on for lunch" means something like

Is our previous arrangement to have lunch still on?

Whereas "up for lunch" means something closer to

Are you still keen (or enthusiastic) to have lunch [with me]?

Please note, they are both highly informal. Even in an informal context, I'd encourage you to form a full sentence:

Hey, are you still up for lunch?

  • But Dictionaries say that "be on for something" means "want to do something" – It's about English Mar 22 '19 at 20:10
  • As I said, they are "very close in meaning". The difference is my subjective opinion as an English speaker. Yes, I do think "on for something" can mean "want to do", but "up for something" has that meaning a little more strongly. "X is on", or "is X on?" can also mean "X is happening" and "is X happening?" You can't say that with "up". But it is a very minor distinction. For instance, "I'm on for a few drinks later" and "I'm up for a few drinks later" mean exactly the same thing. – fred2 Mar 22 '19 at 20:19
  • @It'saboutEnglish - Yes, but the problem is that on has several meanings. There's also: Engaged in a given function or activity, such as a vocal or dramatic role: You're on in five minutes! and Performing according to schedule. In this short sentence, absent any other context, I think this answer provides two very common interpretations of your two sentences. – J.R. Mar 22 '19 at 20:34

I've personally never heard on for lunch.

"UP for lunch" is fine.

"ON for lunch sounds a little weird.".

  • I think it only works with “we”: “Are we still on for lunch?” – Mixolydian Mar 22 '19 at 20:13
  • 3
    "on for lunch" is fine, although it might be more an American expression. As fred2 says, it's a confirmation of a previously agreed appointment. – Andrew Mar 22 '19 at 20:24

Are you still up for lunch. YES

Is lunch still on? YES

Another example: Is our appointment still on?

And not: are you still on for lunch.

No, they are not interchangeable. But they mean the same thing.

A person is not on for something. A person is up for something.

A thing (lunch, dinner, date, event, appointment) is still on.

[I am an AmE speaker and that is the distinction I draw here. I think it would be same in BrE, too.]

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