Given the following sentence in the continuous present tense.

Are you doing your work regularly (or daily)?

It is a major source of my confusion. It is very unlikely to have such a tense.

Although it is the event that occurs regularly (mostly occurs daily), some speakers use such compositions especially those who study in English medium schools in my country, I do not know anything about native English speakers (It should not be mentioned here but very unluckily, I could not join a school because of some unavoidable circumstances, I am a self-learner).

In my native language, I have never seen such a sentence, neither in speaking nor in writing. We always use the following composition in the simple present tense.

Do you do your work regularly (or daily)?

How likely is it possible to have such a sentence in English (the first one)? In which particular situations, is it used?

  • 3
    There are many variants of English worldwide, and without knowing what your native language is and what country you're from, it's impossible to discuss the variety of English that's common there. There are a lot of possible confusions in this question, starting with what does doing your work mean -- housework, schoolwork, office work, farming, etc? Then there's the question of what it means; sentence, grammar, English, "doing your work", or what? Clear questions can be answered, usually; unclear questions can't. – John Lawler Aug 11 '12 at 15:47
  • Sanskrit is far from primitive, I think. Just ancient. And we'd have to specify homework in American English. Either way, you're asking a Generic question, about generalizations -- i.e, do you do/are you doing your schoolwork every day normally? Whatever normal means in context. All this stuff is interpreted in context, and contexts vary. That's all. – John Lawler Aug 11 '12 at 17:50
  • It's the ancestor of all the Indo-European Indic languages. But primitive means more than "first"; it also means "inferior". – John Lawler Aug 11 '12 at 21:02

We can make things a little clearer by considering statements rather than questions. The present progressive construction is available to speakers who want to describe what is happening at the time of speaking, or within a defined time frame, or a particular context. If I say I am doing my homework I describe my present activity. I probably wouldn’t say I am doing my homework regularly on its own, because it suggests a contrast with some other time when I was not doing my homework regularly, so we might expect, for example, a piece of speech such as For a long time I didn’t bother much with homework. I preferred to watch television or play cricket. But I can see that I won’t pass the exams I need without working harder so I am doing my homework regularly now.

If I say I do my homework regularly I am making a statement about what is generally the case. The sentence contains no suggestion that I have ever deviated from this commendable practice.

Looking again now at the interrogative forms, you can perhaps more readily see that Are you doing your homework regularly? asks a question in relation to a particular set of circumstances. Perhaps a teacher is interviewing a student about his performance and is checking that the student is doing everything that is required. Or perhaps a parent is checking up on a child. Do you do your homework work regularly? could also be asked in similar circumstances, but on the whole it is likely to be asked in a more general context, such as that of one student asking the question of another.


“Are you doing your work regularly” is broken English. It would not be generated by a native speaker save in some exotic circumstance.

It needs to be “Do you work regularly?” or “Do you have regular work?”


If the sense of doing your work here is actually doing your homework, then the sentence is fine as it stands.

  • But note his comment that he's talking about schoolwork. – Mark Beadles Aug 11 '12 at 16:02
  • 1
    @MarkBeadles Oh! So work=homework. That’s different. – tchrist Aug 11 '12 at 16:05

There is a case when present continuous is used for regular actions. This is mainly when one wants to indicate a negative meaning, for example:

  • You are regularly forgetting to do your homework.
  • He is always wasting his money in clubs.
  • She is often losing her keys.

But this does not seem to be a similar case, as I don't find any negative meaning, and on top of that this sentence is interrogative. So I am more committed to present simple tense for similar sentences.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.