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What’s The Difference Between “What Are You Thinking” And “What Do You Think”? (Answered)

What’s The Difference Between “What Are You Thinking” And “What Do You Think”? (Answered)

A vital skill that helps us develop relationships and expand our understanding of subjects we are unfamiliar with is communication. One of the languages that have spread the most widely is English.

One requires a language that is widely understood by most members of the speech community in order to communicate effectively, yet occasionally English can be a barrier.

The difference between both sentences is the meaning; “what are you thinking” comes about a matter that is being thought of, and is often termed as a ‘rude tone’ whereas “what do you think” deals with the content of your thoughts, and comes in as a more solid questioning.

There are many statements out there that either employ nearly identical words or differentiate one another with auxiliary words. It does not automatically imply that their meanings are similar.

Let us differentiate the two sentences: “what are you thinking” and “what do you think” to further understand the depth of their meaning. Let’s begin!

The Thought Process

The act or process of using your mind to consider or think about something is known as the thought process.

A cognitive process can be both aware and unconscious, according to researchers, as multiple thoughts can be active in your mind at once.

It’s concerning that so many of your thoughts occur when you’re not even aware of them. But many constructive thought patterns boost our capacity for innovation and problem-solving.

There are different kinds of thought processes:

  1. Associative Thinking
  2. Social Thinking
  3. Abstract Thinking
  4. Analogical Thinking
  5. Analytical Thinking
  6. Reflective Thinking
  7. Decisive Thinking
Understand how a thought process works, and how can you control it.

“What Do You Think” Means?

When used in the simple present or present continuous tense, the verb “think” might have a different meaning. It frequently alludes to someone’s opinion in the simple present tense.

“What do you think” appears to be asking for an opinion that may be based on a current discussion or a subject brought up from the past in the present.

Given that it is in the present tense, this sentence implies a long time from now or after careful consideration of the subject. Often, it appears as a request for your opinion on anything.

“What do you think” often comes as a question that has to be answered immediately.

An example of an answer to this question can better deliberate its meaning to you.

  • I look really fat in this blue dress, what do you think?
  • You’re overthinking, you look gorgeous in this dress.

“What Are You Thinking” Means?

When the verb “think” is employed in the present continuous tense, it typically denotes mental activity, such as when someone is making plans or weighing various options.

What are you thinking” refers to your overall thought process in the present continuous tenses. Any topic that is currently on your mind can serve as a response to this phrase.

“What are you thinking?” could be a good question to ask if there isn’t a specific topic being discussed or if you think someone is still considering something and hasn’t formed an opinion yet.

The sentences act as an immediate to the moment and prefer to the brain’s active thought process. An example to further understand the sentence’s meaning would be:

  • What are you thinking right now?
  • I’m thinking of changing the color of our bedroom walls to green.

Instances Of Sentences Using “What Do You Think” And “What Are You Thinking”

Both sentences might seem similar but have a different context, therefore they are used in different situations, relating to the current state of your mind.

Let’s take a closer look at some of their examples.

What Do You Think?What Are You Thinking?
So what do you think so far then?What are you thinking about right now?
I asked her again, “What do you think?” What are you thinking of?
What do you think I am?What are you thinking about?
What do you think the future will look like?What is the current thinking on this question?
Questions related to the sentences

What Is The Difference Between Think And Thinking?

Think and thinking, both involve your thought processes.

When a verb describes a state, such as “think,” we frequently use the present simple over the present continuous.

Yet, when we wish to emphasize that a situation is transient, for a period of time around the present, we can employ the present continuous with specific state verbs.

You’re thinking about the deceased cat, right? This is an illustration of present continuous thought, where the thought process is taking place right now.

Do you think we are fit for the role? The opinion is implied by this sentence and your personal conviction or belief is expressed by the verb “think” in the simple present tense.

What To Replace “I Think” With?

We frequently use the phrase “I think” to express our opinions, but if we use it frequently throughout a passage, it may give the impression that our English is too simple and that we are sounding monotonous.

Also, “I think” doesn’t always adequately convey our thinking.

Let’s learn some new statements to use in place of “I think” so you can express yourself in English in more creative ways:

  1. From my point of view, having cornflakes in the morning is unhealthy.
  2. As far as I’m concerned, your sister seems self-obsessed with herself.
  3. A lot of people call Ally a sweetheart, but I would say she just knows how to fake an act.
  4. I suppose you’re out of milk, but I’m not exactly sure.
  5. The way I see it, punishing kids every now and then can have a negative impact on their health.

Substitutes To “What Do You Think” And “What Are You Thinking”

How Do You Think?

How do you think?
“How do you think” often refers to your reasonable explanation of an opinion-based answer.

The phrase “how do you think” typically begs the question of how you think. You are being asked for your opinion on how something occurred, so this does make sense.

In my experience, a brief, semi-sarcastic response to someone who queries a potential course of action. The phrase means, “Isn’t the solution obvious?”

A sample of question and answer that includes this sentence is as follows:

  • How do you think we’ll find an answer to this question?
  • We will have to research through online mediums.

How Do You Feel?

How do you feel?
“How do you feel” means what do you think of a particular situation asked about?

“How do you feel” can refer to both how you’re feeling physically and how you feel in general. They could have the same meaning.

What do you think are interchangeable expressions? Based on the present simple or present continuous tense.

It appears to be an opinion that may be based on a current discussion or a subject brought up from the past in the present.

An example of this sentence can be as follows:

  • How do you feel about the new movie?
  • It is an interesting movie, I’d like to watch it again sometime.


  • The phrases “what do you think” and “what are you thinking” both refer to the process of thinking and, despite their apparent similarity, have different meanings.
  • “What are you thinking” refers to the current state of your thoughts, whereas “what do you think” refers to the question being asked for your opinion. It covers any subject that is currently on your mind.
  • Both of the statements stress a distinct meaning when used as queries. “What do you think” questioning deals with direct questioning of your suggestions, whereas “what are you thinking” deals with your present instincts.
  • You cannot alternately use the two sentences. Although, “how you feel” can correlate with “what you think” in meaning and can be used alternatively.

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