Are these 2 questions identical, especially in the South of Brasil?
Você está fazendo o que?
O que você está fazendo?

One seems to me to have a different tone and an air of suspicion, but I want to see if someone native to Brasil (especially the South) sees that or if I am mistaken. I know they both translate to "What are you doing?", but I want to see if there is a subtle difference in the context.

Estou perguntando se existe alguma diferença de contexto entre as 2 perguntas. Acho que tem, mas queria ver se estou enganado.

1 Answer 1


This is just like English:
You are doing what? Você está fazendo o que?

What are you doing? O que você está fazendo?

And this would be true anywhere in Brazil.

Please note: if you leave out the você, that would generally mean ele ou ela. Está fazendo o que [ele ou ela]? O que [ele ou ela] está fazendo? I mention this only because of the title to the question.

  • 1
    But is there a difference between one or the other? Or are they interchangeable? It seems to me there is a difference in tone but I want to see if I'm mistaken. To me one seems like "hey, what are you doing?", and the other seems like "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING???" Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 18:46
  • You can't tell tone unless you hear what a person says. It's the exact same difference as in English, and the "what" at the end can just be surprise and not necessarily "What the hell are you doing?" There's nothing in the grammar on its own that merits that interpretation.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 18:52
  • So if it is a text message, are they both interpreted exactly same, or does one seem to indicate surprise or suspicion? In English I would never say "you are doing what?" unless I was surprised or there was something unusual going on Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 18:58
  • I have answered your question. The difference is just like in English. Can you really tell the tone if you don't hear it? Call them up and ask them. Whatsapp is free.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 19:01

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