If you’ve ever heard the phrases “are you up/down for it”, you may have wondered if there was even a real difference between the two. They sound pretty similar, so what is the difference?
In this post, we will discuss the answer to that question.
Are You Up for It vs. Are You Down for It
The two phrases “are you up for it” and “are you down for it” are effectively synonymous. They mean the same thing, that being “are you willing”. The use of the words “up” and “down” are the result of popular lingo and phrases, not actual relevant meaning.
Basically, both of these phrases are just a way to ask someone if they want to do something. Despite the one word difference, there is no actual difference between the two phrases at all. You could use either one in a sentence and it would mean the same thing.
For example, consider the following sentences:
- If you are up for it, we could go to the mall later.
- If you are down for it, we could go to the mall later.
These two sentences, despite using one phrase or the other, are identical in their meaning and intent. You could use the phrases interchangeably and nothing would be affected, other than how the sentence sounds.
Both phrases are equally informal as well, so it’s not like one of them is more formal than the other. They are effectively the exact same phrase in every way that matters, save the word “up” or “down”.
Are You Up for It
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “are you feeling up to”, you may see the connection between it an “are you up for it”. “Are you up for it” is asking someone if they are “feeling up to” doing something. It’s just a way to say “do you want to”.
That means you would answer “are you up for it” in the same manner you would any other question about whether or not you want to do something. That include things like “yes, no, maybe, not now, sure”, etc.
For example, consider the following exchange:
- Hey, Lee, are you up for a drink after work tonight?
- Yeah, I’m up for it if you are.
This is merely a question asking whether or not Lee is willing to get a drink after work.Lee can answer this in any way that is appropriate. He can say no or yes, evade the question, make a counter-suggestion, or anything of that nature.
Are You Down for It
“Are you down for it” likely evolved from the concept of being registered to do something. For example, you may register to do some charity work, so your name would be written down as a volunteer. Thus, you would be “down” to do charity work.
Either way, the phrase is effectively the same as “are you up for it”. It is just another way to ask someone if they are willing or want to do something. Naturally, this means there are many possible ways to respond to the question as well.
Consider the following sentence:
- Are you down for pizza for dinner, or should I order something else?
In this example, you are simply being asked if you are alright with pizza for dinner. You can answer in whatever manner you deem appropriate. You can say “yes” if you are alright with it, “no”, or something like “I would prefer to get tacos”.
However you would answer “are you alright with this?” is how you would answer “are you down for it”.
Are You Up For or To?
Both “are you up for” and “are you up to” can be correct, since they are shorter ways to imply much longer potential alternatives.
For instance, consider the following examples:
- Are you up for going to the movies?
- Are you up to babysitting next week?
In these cases, both ways of saying the phrase are correct. The first sentence asks “are you in favor of going to the movies?”. The second sentence asks, “are you feeling good enough to babysit next week?”. Either of these is correct. This even works with nouns instead of verbs.
Considering the following:
- Are you up for ice cream?
- Are you up to ice cream?
In both of these sentences, the full implied meaning is “Are you up for/to getting ice cream?”. Either one could be correct. That said, the second sentence may sound a little awkward to some, but you can simply add “getting” after “to” to fix that.
“Are you up for” and “are you down for” are synonymous phrases that mean the same thing.
They are both just questions asking someone if they are “willing, able, or want” to do something. You can use them interchangeably and their effective meaning will not change at all.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.