1. pronun + 在做什么?
  2. pronun +明天在做什么?
  3. pronun +明天要做什么
  4. pronun +明天做什么?
  5. pronun + 做什么?

Please, help me to understand the subtle differences between these sentences. As in cases 4) and 5)

Can I use the 做 straight without other words before it? Thank you very much!

1 Answer 1

  • 在做什么? = What are you doing? --> 在 indicates it is in the progressive tense, you can add an indicator to make it a past progressive, for example, 你昨天在做什么? but it doesn't work with the future tense

  • 你明天在做什么? (ungrammatical) 在 is used to indicate a progressive tense, you can't use it with the future tense

  • 你明天做什么? = What do you need/ want to do tomorrow

  • 你明天做什么? = What (will) you do tomorrow --> will is implied by the word 'tomorrow'

  • 你做什么? = what are you doing? --> 在 (present progressive tense) is implied in the context when there's no indication of past or future tense, we presume it is in the present and is ongoing

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