The phrases “do you” and “are you” are seemingly quite similar, which often makes it difficult for folks to be aware of which is the proper phrase to use in certain situations. This article will be highlighting the difference between these two phrases and when they are appropriate to use.
What Is The Difference Between “Do You” And “Are You”?
The difference between “do you” and “are you” is that the phrase “do you” is used to pose a question about something that you “do”, whereas the phrase “are you” is used to pose a question about something that you “are”.
Generally, “do you” is asked when we are wanting information about something that another person can convey through thoughts, actions, beliefs, etc. On the other hand, “are you” is typically asked when we are trying to judge or ascertain a person’s state of being or to validate a fact about the other person.
What Does “Do You” Mean?
The phrase “do you” is used as a clarification at the beginning of a question. “Do you” implies an action that another person partakes in or can occur in any given timeframe. Essentially, this phrase asks whether you “do” a specific thing in general or on a regular basis.
We can go over the following examples that show how we can use this particular phrase appropriately in conversation or writing:
- Do you still smoke cigarettes or marijuana? Both are habits that you ought to quit.
- Do you think it’s better to be a vegetarian or should I just become a vegan?
- Do you know which exit I take in order to get to the Museum of Natural History?
- Do you know Professor McGonagall on a personal level?
- Do you still have a strong dislike for seafood or am I okay to serve it to you for dinner now?
- Do you happen to know what time it is currently? I have forgotten my cellphone and watch today!
- Do you think it is safe for me to go swimming in the river?
- Do you want to join us for lunch today at 1 pm?
- Do you think that it is really appropriate for you to be wearing a crop top to school?
- Do you know if the meeting has been rescheduled or if it is still happening this evening?
What Does “Are You” Mean?
The phrase “are you” is also used as a clarification at the beginning of a question. “Are you” implies a state of being in the immediate present. Essentially, this phrase asks whether you “are” a name, title, or in a particular state of being or location.
We will now go over the following examples that all utilize this phrase in a proper manner:
- Are you still afraid of heights or have you conquered that particular fear?
- Are you going to finish your dinner or shall I pack it up for you to take home?
- Are you sure that we are headed in the right direction? I am pretty positive that we just missed the correct turn.
- Are you willing to come up with a compromise that suits you and your brother’s needs?
- Are you the manager of this establishment? I need some assistance!
- Are you just incredibly happy or are you intoxicated?
- Are you able to help me repair my roof this Friday afternoon?
- Are you also going to the Toronto Zoo this weekend?
- Are you going to be at the office today or are you still choosing to work remotely at home?
- Are you going to adopt your new family dog from a shelter or will you purchase one from a reputable breeder?
Can “Do You” And “Are You” Be Used Interchangeably?
The phrases “do you” and “are you” cannot and should not be used interchangeably, as they hold two different meanings. While both are used for clarification purposes, we do utilize them at different times and to receive different types of information.
Often, we can use these two phrases within similar sentences or ask consistent questions, but we can note that there will be slight changes in how the question is phrased. Here are a few examples that highlight this:
- Do you still smoke?
- Are you still a smoker? OR Are you smoking?
- Do you avidly play cards?
- Are you a card player? OR Are you playing cards?
- Do you drink?
- Are you a drinker? OR Are you drinking?
- Do you drive?
- Are you a driver? OR Are you driving?
- Do you swim?
- Are you a swimmer? OR Are you swimming?
Is It “Do You Use” Or “Are You Using”?
Both of the phrases “do you use” and “are you using” are considered to be correct. However, it is important that these phrases are used in the appropriate context or they could come across as nonsensical or entirely incorrect to your audience.
We will use the phrase “do you use” to ask someone about whether or not they use a particular product, tool, etc., in general. This use can occur at any given time, as opposed to in the present.
Contrastingly, we will use the phrase “are you using” to ask someone whether or not they are currently using a particular product, tool, etc.
To highlight the difference between these two phrases, here are a few examples:
- Do you use Colgate toothpaste?
- Are you using Colgate toothpaste?
- Do you use your vehicle on a daily basis?
- Are you using your vehicle today?
- Do you use a pencil or a pen for your homework?
- Are you using a pencil or a pen for your homework?
- Do you use mascara?
- Are you using mascara?
- Do you use a map?
- Are you using a map?
Is It “Do You Have” Or “Are You Having”?
Similar to our last two phrases, “do you have” and “are you having” are both applicable and proper phrases to utilize. Consistently, it is important to use discretion and ensure that you choose the correct phrase, as the incorrect use can come across as confusing to your audience.
We will use the phrase “do you have” to accurately ask someone if they are in possession of something, at any given time.
On the other hand, we will use the phrase “are you having” to ask someone about something they are eating, enjoying, etc., in the present or current moment.
To assist in showcasing the difference in use between these two phrases, we can go over the following examples:
- Correct: Do you have a pen I can borrow?
- Incorrect: Are you having a pen I can borrow?
- Correct: Are you having breakfast?
- Incorrect: Do you have breakfast?
- Correct: Do you have the time?
- Incorrect: Are you having the time?
- Correct: Are you having a good time on vacation?
- Incorrect: Do you have a good time on vacation?
You may also like: “Did You” vs. “Do You” – Difference Explained (With Examples)
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.