Curious Question #11 – Are we on for tonight?

Are we on for tonight? Here we have a question about a casual expression for confirming plans. To find out exactly what it means, you’ll have to listen to this episode!



Sample transcript:

Harp: Hello everyone, this is Harp…

Robin: And Robin…

Harp: With the Curious Questions podcast at, that’s

Robin: OK, this podcast is a special one that we do at Culips—we take one of your questions and we answer it. All the transcripts can be found on our website if you check out the Lipservice section. And what’s the question that we have today, Harp?

Harp: The question is about plans and I love plans because that means I’m doing something. The question is: What does “be on” in “Are we on for tonight?” mean? And what words can “be on” be replaced with?

Robin: OK, so that question was from… from whom?

Harp: From Chan-Seung Lee in Korea. Thanks for the great question and I’m sorry if I pronounced your name wrong.

Robin: OK, indeed. Well, there are many ways to talk about plans and making plans and asking someone to do something with you. There are more professional ways and casual ways and indirect ways. The question today is about making plans.

Harp: “To be on” can have different meanings depending on the context. In this case, to say to someone, “Are we on?” is a very casual way of confirming plans. Saying “Are we on?” is just like saying, “Do we have plans?” or “Are those plans confirmed?” To give you an example, for this Culips meeting I called Maura and said to her, “Are we on for tonight for the Culips meeting?” and she said, “Of course.”

Robin: And that would mean, “Do we have plans? Are we going to meet tonight?” And of course, yes, we are going to meet tonight.

Harp: Exactly, because we had discussed it through email and I called her just to confirm.

Robin: So are we on for coffee tomorrow before work?

Podcast/ Lipservice: Culips ESL Podcast