"What are you writing?"

Translation:你在写什么?

November 18, 2017

16 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/codewritertom

"你写什么?" is also correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RuhRoh1

Adding a "在" gives the present continuous tense of the sentence. "你写什么" would translate among the lines of "What do you write".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yarrite

How frequently do native speakers omit 在 when indicating that an action is occurring? Do people make sure to use it in formal writing, but frequently omit it in casual speech, or something else?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pinicius_

在 gives the continuous conotation "你写什么?" sounds more like "what do you write?" to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nannonoys

It is not grammatically correct if you want to show that the action is taking place right now though. As it is, 'writing'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChelieMaqu
<pre> I always get confused as to when to use "什么" In this sentence, it is wrong to say 你在什么写。。what's really the rule of using 什么 .? </pre>

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AliciaM.19

什么 means "what" so the sentence above literally translates to "you are writing what" versus the sentence you wrote would translate along the lines of "you are whating to write" As far as I can tell, and native speakers can correct me, whenever you are questioning a verb as in "what are you doing/writing/etc" the verb preceeds 什么 as in 你做什么? Or "what are you doing." But when you are questioning what kind of noun as in "what kinds of songs do you listen to" 什么 preceeds the noun so you get 你听什么歌? (Note, 什么 is still behind the verb, but now it is in reference to the noun) If any of this is wrong please correct me, but this is what I have observed.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChelieMaqu

Wow.. thank you for this. I will try to remember this observation of yours in my further study. I tried to figure it out on my own but I just couldn't, so a big thanks for this.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Victor.Hugo3775

Is it wrong to say 你在什么写? is it because of "在"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bugwine

I'm kinda confused on when its appropriate to use 在, like does it indicate you're in the process of doing something? Why can't you just use the sentence without it in this example?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AliciaM.19

I like to think of 在 as the Chinese form of "ing" so any time you would add "ing" in english, as in something that is currently and continuously happening, you have to place 在 in front of the verb. Of course it has a lot more uses than that, but hopefully that helps in this instance.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rackle_monster

Nosy Duo! Stop looking at my work


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dinghao42

Good comments. I had it in the right order and then I changed it. ' Kai ' to me seems ' at the moment ' and followed by ' the action that moment entails '. That is, ' Wo kai xie shenme ', and not ' Wo kai shenme xie '?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Richard30914

I forgot the zai but marked correct

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