"Is he serious?!" VS "Is he being serious?!"

Which phrase is correct?

The context is: Jack makes a silly mistake and John replies, out of frustration, to everyone else in the room:

A: "Is he being serious?!"
B: "Is he serious?!"

1 Answer 1


Which phrase is correct?

They are both correct.

From the perspective of meaning... they mean nearly the same thing.

"being" implies the way someone is acting at the moment. Without that word, it's more generic and universal. It could refer to the way someone is at the moment, or it could be all the time. However, in your example there isn't any ambiguity.

"He is serious." Noun-verb-adjective

"He is being serious." Noun-verb-participial phrase

Another small difference: sometimes when speaking you might wish to be more verbose (adding an extra word) or less verbose.

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