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Can you please tell me if there is a difference in meaning between is there a reason you ask? and is there a reason you are asking? In the context below?

Person A: Are you going to work on Saturday.

Person B: No. Is there a reason you ask?/No. Is there a reason you are asking?

It seems to me both are perfectly natural in the context, but I can't figure out if there is a difference in meaning.

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    I don't see any difference in meaning. Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 13:26
  • ell.stackexchange.com/questions/131750/…
    – bookmanu
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 13:35
  • Any reason one sentence says "Is there" and the other says, "I sees there"? It's easier to compare sentences that are identical other than the bit you're asking about.
    – gotube
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 16:23

1 Answer 1

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In that context, both questions have the meaning, "What is the intent behind asking that particular question?". The present simple version sounds somewhat more formal to my Canadian ears.

The present continuous version is natural and follows the normal meaning of that verb tense: action happening in the moment. The present simple version is also natural, but does not follow the normal meaning of that verb tense repeated action/ongoing situation in general. This means the present simple version is an idiomatic expression rather than a sentence that naturally emerges from the grammar.

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