Wednesday, 8 February 2012

What Are You Studying?


SCENARIO
Imagine you are with a relative, a friend or a colleague in any of the following possible scenarios:
  1. You are at your desk when the other person goes by. On seeing you are quite busy, the other person asks what you are doing. You reply that you are studying. The other person wants to know what you are studying, so he/ she might say to you: "what are you studying?"
  2. Maybe you are having a chat. You get talking about commitments or activities which are eating into your spare time. Perhaps you have mentioned that studying is one of those. The other person wants to find out what you study, so he/ she might say to you: "what do you study?"

In Spanish, the two types of questions could easily be reduced to a single one* (with two variants, one for each level of formality).


The other person could choose to be less formal and say:
¿Qué estudias?


Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say:
¿Que estudia (usted)?


*NB A question of type 1 above (¿qué estás estudiando?) (what are you studying?) can also be used in this scenario. 


OUR TIP

The first thing to note is that you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. Your main concern should be about communicating what you study or are studying. Perhaps you want to say that:
  • You are studying Spanish.
  • You study a little Spanish everyday.
  • You study Spanish at a certain time of the day.
  • You study Spanish during a specific period.
  • You have been studying Spanish since last year.
  • You have been studying Spanish for six months.

Here are some examples of how you would say what you study/ are studying:
  • Estudio español  (I study Spanish/ I am studying Spanish).
  • Estoy estudiando español (I am studying Spanish).
  • Estudio un poco de español todos los días  (I study a little Spanish everyday).
  • Estudio español por las tardes  (I study Spanish in the afternoons).
  • Estudio español de nueve a diez de la mañana  (I study Spanish from 9 to 10 in the morning).
  • Estoy estudiando español desde el año pasado  (I have been studying Spanish since last year).
  • Estoy estudiando español desde hace seis meses  (I have been studying Spanish for the last six months).
  • Llevo seis meses estudiando español (I have been studying Spanish for six months).


    Now you should practice answering the question:
    ¿Qué estudias?





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