Lesson 22, Exercise 1: The correct question uses the present simple tense
How do we use these 2 tenses?
- "What are you doing?" is the question that asks about an action going on now.
- "What are you doing?" is the question that asks about actions in general, or what you do for a living.
To be more precise, the present progressive
('is doing' for example) is used in 4 different ways:
1) for actions taking place now, its primary usage,
2) for actions taking place in the near future,
3) for actions that last a long time, for example 'I'm making podcasts all the time these days' and finally,
4) a rather strange use of 'always' (usually used with the present simple), when we want to show that we are mildly angry or irritated with someone, for example 'That lady is always complaining about so many things, including noisy children and her back pain.'
However, the present progressive is never used to ask someone what their job is. That is for the present simple tense.