Friday, May 22, 2009

while you're at it

While you're at it is an idiomatic way of saying "while you are doing that". It often goes with the expression we learned yesterday: might as well. We often say "while you're at it, you might as well do this." This means "while you are doing that, it's a really good idea to do this or it's the perfect time to do this." We sometimes use these expressions together to be funny.

like this:

A: Hey Tom, what are you doing right now?
B: I'm about to wash my car.
A: That's a great idea. It's a beautiful day. You know, while you're at it, you might as well wash my car, too.
B: Ha! Ha! very funny. You'll have to wash your own car, buddy.

Another way of suggesting or saying that something is a good idea is to ask "Why don't you ...?" or "Why not ...?" You can also use these with while you're at it.

like this:

A: What are you up to right now, Mindy?
B: I'm checking out the Website of the University of Minnesota.
A: Oh yeah? While you're at it, why don't you look into their music therapy program? You're still considering it right?
B: Oh yes. I'm going to look at their liberal arts program first, then I'll check out their music therapy program.
A: Great. Let me know what you find out.

This combination can also be used to be sarcastic like this conversation between siblings.

A: Were you guys smoking inside the house?
B: Not really. We just lit a cigarette to see what it's like.
A: I'm going to tell mom and dad.
B: You're such a snitch. Why don't you just call the police and have us arrested while you're at it.

Get the idea? Now, it's time to practice. Try to use it in your conversations in the next couple of days. Remember, the more you use it the more it will become part of your language skills.

By the way, did you recognize some expressions that we've learned before? What are you up to? and about to. If you don't, check out previous blogs to get their explanations and examples.

Have a great weekend!

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