If I intend to ask about somebody's major of study, should I use Simple presents: what do you study? or present continuous: what are you studying?

I understand that the simple present tense is used for habitual actions, and the present continuous tense is used for actions happening around now.

While studying is a temporal action occurring around the present, it takes a considerable amount of time to be considered happening in the present moment, making it more likely to be habitual.

Please indicate the correct form and share why you chose it.

  • 1
    Study is a general question, while studying is about this term or this minute in the library. Jan 18 at 22:29
  • 1
    The idiomatic way is "What is your major?"
    – Barmar
    Jan 18 at 23:01
  • "What do you study?" would be asked of someone who spends a lot of time dipping into various fields of study; one would ask a student "What are you studying?" Jan 18 at 23:45
  • 1
    @Barmar - "What is your major?" would not be idiomatic in British English, as we don't use that expression for a student's main subject. Jan 19 at 9:22
  • 4
    Does this answer your question? How to ask about someone's study? Feb 26 at 1:22


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