Based on a bit of internet research, apparently, both options are correct.

https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/298592/what-time-vs-at-what-time http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/grammar-rules-and-tips/correct-grammar-usage-of-at.html

But seems like most native English speakers will go with "What time", which to me sounds kind of incomplete.

And not trying to stir the pot even more, but in the comments section of the second link there's even a guy saying that certain uses of "at" sound ghetto... Is that true?

Peron 1: is it acceptable to say "this is where it's at" when reading a map in search of a specific location.

Person 2: No!! The whord WHERE took care of it, using the word at in this instance is a run on and repetitive!! Ex: Where ( Location ) you at?? Sounds very ghetto and is dreadfully grammatically incorrect!!

I know that's probably a much worst usage of "at" than what I'm mentioning in the title, but is the "at" in "At what time" redundant? Does it sound that bad? Would you right away say; "not a native Engish speaker".

The thing is, as a native Spanish speaker, we'll say "A que hora" == "At what time", if we remove the "A" which would be like the "At" it just doesn't make sense anymore ("que hora"), so to me it feels much more natural to say "At what time". But I don't want to sound like the grammatically correct guy that sounds weird at the same time.


1 Answer 1


Person 2 is being dreadfully picky in my opinion. For one, to say that something "sounds very ghetto" as a negative is pretty insulting to anyone who lives in a ghetto. There are certain racial and social undercurrents to this statement that are far too complex to go into here as well. To get an idea for yourself, google "ghetto speech" and you will see a wide range of interesting material, as well as a good deal of hateful and racist commentary.

Suffice it to say that "where is it at?" as opposed to "where is it?" is somewhat "slangy" but also commonly used, at least in American English. Whether or not it is technically grammatically incorrect, it is common enough that most people just don't care.

Also, the informal idiom where it's at generally means a fashionable place where the most interesting things are happening at present. By extension, it can be used to refer to people, things or activities as well:

Studio 54 is where it's at.
Whole wheat spaghetti is where it's at.
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason is where it's at.

And so on.

  • +1. Where I live, many people say things like "Where are you at?" or "Tell me where you're at, and I'll come pick you up." Although this is a characteristic of AAVE, it is not exclusive to AAVE. People have been saying it for a few hundred years, in America and in England. We were taught in school that it was not proper English.
    – TimR
    Mar 4, 2016 at 15:17
  • 1
    – TimR
    Mar 4, 2016 at 15:23
  • @TRomano I couldn't remember whether we used it much when I lived in England 45 years ago or not. We were taught in school all sorts of things that weren't proper English, and yet we go ahead and use them anyway. Funny how that works, isn't it? :) I particularly remember that the use of "up" as in "connect up the hose" was taught as improper, and it was a little strange when we got to "fix up" vs. "fix." "I'll fix you up" and "I'll fix you" have very different meanings, of course. Anyway, I digress...
    – BobRodes
    Mar 5, 2016 at 0:02
  • A most interesting book! Makes me glad I have a cell phone. It would seem that Mr McDonald was "ghetto" 200 years before his time.
    – BobRodes
    Mar 5, 2016 at 4:47
  • One of my favorites: "A Minor Anthropo-Telegraph, formed by means of two Handkerchiefs, and a Hat (Vide Figures (Plate) XII. and XIII.) and formed, also by the sitting and standing attitudes of Sets of four men"
    – TimR
    Mar 5, 2016 at 11:40

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