Trivia

Hard

The Sentence “Where You At?” Is An Example Of A?

Zero Copula
Genitive
Affricate
Misnomer

Answer: Zero Copula

Zero copulas are an interesting linguistic phenomenon wherein the subject and the predicate are joined without a copula—a verb or verb-like word that links the two together. In sentences like “The sky is blue” or “The bus is gone”, the verb “is” functions as a copula linking the two parts of the sentence together. If your only language is English, you may be struggling to think of a copula that isn’t some form of “to be”, like “is”, “was”, “were”, and other variations—don’t worry, you’re struggling for a reason since English doesn’t have any other copula words.

The absence of a copula in a sentence where it would otherwise be prescribed by the grammatical rules of a given language is known as a “zero copula” and is found, in some fashion, in a wide variety of languages including Japanese, Russian, Hungarian, Hebrew, Arabic, Hawaiian, American Sign Language, and some varieties of Caribbean creole languages as well as African-American Vernacular English (AAVE).

Within the context of a given language, the use of a zero copula is always governed by the ability of the listener to understand the context clearly without the copula as well as language specific grammatical rules. In Russian, for example, you can drop the copula in the present tense but not the past tense, thus a sentence that would translate to “He is now at work.” could be shortened to just “He at work.” with no loss of meaning. In African-American Vernacular English, likewise, the copula can be dropped if using the present tense, the meaning is clear, and if the copula could have been contracted in Standard American English.

In the case of the sentence found in today’s trivia question, both as an example of a zero copula in AAVE and as the catchphrase from the popular mid-2000s Boost Mobile phone ads, “Where you at?” is a zero copula because “are” is dropped from “Where are you at?” and only works because “where are” can be contracted to “where’re”.

Trivia

Easy

The Only Predator That Routinely Preys On Skunks Is The?

Trivia

Hard

Who Is The Most Widely Portrayed Literary Figure In Film and Television?

Trivia

Hard

Which Sci-Film Was The First Nominated For A Best Picture Oscar?

Trivia

Hard

The Largest Country With No Permanent Rivers Is?

Trivia

Hard

Ethernet Superseded Which Network Technology?

Trivia

Hard

The Phrase “Ground Rules” Originated In?

Trivia

Easy

Which Ultra-Slick Coating Was Discovered by Accident?

Trivia

Easy

The Only Variety Of Apples Native To North America Are?

Trivia

Hard

Which Comic Book Artist’s Ashes Were Mixed Into Ink Used To Print Comics?

Trivia

Easy

Which Of These Common Vegetables Is A Prolific Perennial?