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As I understand second variant should be correct, as question is not about current time. But when I tried to google the first phrase it appeared quite common as well. Why?

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  • Why do you think it is not about current time? It could easily mean "What are you doing in your free time right now?"
    – stangdon
    Dec 18, 2021 at 15:38

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It is quite common, because the question can be about the current time.

What are you doing in your free time (during this winter holiday)

There is an understanding that the free time is limited and temporary, and the questioner is only interested in how the free time that is currently and temporarily available is being used.

However, although the second form is probably more common. This exact phrase is the sort of phrase that is more common in textbooks than in real life. When was the last time you asked someone about their free time, in your native language.

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  • "It is quite common, because the question can be about the current time." Actually it's the opposite, as most of times second phrase is asked during an interview. Obviously it is asked not about current time.
    – Mark Shor
    Dec 18, 2021 at 0:21
  • Hello @MarkShor Feel free to write your own answer to the question. What do you mean by "during an interview". That information doesn't seem to be in the question.
    – James K
    Dec 18, 2021 at 14:34
  • Hello @James, When I am in doubt I often try phrases in Google. "What do you do in your free time?" returned more than a million results. "What are you doing in your free time?" returned 500,000 results, most of them as question during an interview or similar. Some of them as part of the sentence, like: When you are not working, what are you doing in your free time? But some just as it is, which is a puzzle to me.
    – Mark Shor
    Dec 19, 2021 at 5:56
  • I think I have answered the question: sometimes it is about the current time, as in "when you are not working, what are you doing..."
    – James K
    Dec 19, 2021 at 7:05
  • Thank you James.
    – Mark Shor
    Dec 19, 2021 at 12:29

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