If I want to ask someone about their handwashing routine, is there any difference between

"Do you wash your hands regularly?" or "Have you been washing your hands regularly?" or are both possible?

2 Answers 2


Both are possible. Obviously the second refers to the person's habit until the present moment, but in practice both questions mean the same.

  • "what do you mean by "habit until the present moment?" Doesn't "do you wash" refer to a habit until the present moment as well? –
    – anouk
    Dec 20, 2020 at 12:56
  • 1
    Do you? means 'Are you habitually doing it now?' Have you been? means 'Have you habitually done it until now?' As I said, in practice both mean the same. Dec 20, 2020 at 15:16
  • Could you have said: "have you habitually been doing it until now?"
    – anouk
    Dec 20, 2020 at 20:55
  • I only used the word habitually to make the slight difference in meaning clear. Yes, I could have said that, but none of those expressions is particularly natural. Dec 21, 2020 at 8:48
  • But my original sentences: "do you wash your hands regularly/ have you been washing your hands regularly " are natural, right?
    – anouk
    Dec 22, 2020 at 18:33

Do you wash your hands regularly?

is a more idiomatic way to ask it.

Have you been washing your hands regularly?

doesn't mention any period of time, which makes it a little unnatural, and I would say incorrect.

Have you been washing your hands regularly since that deadly virus came around?

Have you been washing your hands regularly since Covid-19?

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