Guide: How to Say “What Are You Doing?” in Latin

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to say “What are you doing?” in Latin. Whether you want to address someone formally or informally, we’ve got you covered. Latin, a classical language with a rich history, offers various ways to express this question. In this guide, we’ll explore different phrases and variations, provide tips for usage, and supply plenty of examples to help you communicate effectively. So let’s dive in!

Formal Ways to Ask “What Are You Doing?” in Latin

When addressing someone formally, it’s important to use the appropriate language. In Latin, you have a few options to inquire about someone’s activities respectfully. Here are some formal phrases:

  • Quid agis? – This is a simple and widely used phrase to ask “What are you doing?” in a formal context.
  • Quid facis? – Another common way to ask the same question formally.
  • Quid operaris? – This phrase, meaning “What are you working on?” adds a touch of formality by emphasizing the work aspect.

When using these formal phrases, it’s essential to consider the context and status of the person you are addressing. They work well in professional settings, formal meetings, or when communicating with someone of higher authority or respect.

Informal Ways to Ask “What Are You Doing?” in Latin

If you’re looking to address someone in a more casual or familiar manner, Latin offers alternative phrases. These informal expressions may be suitable for conversations among friends, peers, or in relaxed social settings. Here are a few examples:

  • Quid agis? – This phrase can be used in both formal and informal settings. It’s the same as the formal version, but the tone and context determine whether it sounds casual or formal.
  • Quid facis? – Similar to the previous phrase, this can be used informally as well.
  • Quid nunc facis? – By adding “nunc” (now) to the question, you convey a friendly tone and demonstrate interest in the person’s current activities.

Remember, tone of voice, non-verbal cues, and your relationship with the person play a crucial role in determining whether these phrases sound informal or formal. It’s essential to adapt accordingly.

Tips for Usage

Now that you know the formal and informal ways to ask “What are you doing?” in Latin, here are some additional tips to help you use these phrases effectively:

1. Understand the Context

Before choosing between formal or informal options, consider the cultural context, setting, and the relationship you have with the person you’re addressing. Understanding the appropriate tone shows respect and helps maintain good rapport.

2. Pay Attention to Verb Forms

Verbs in Latin can have different forms based on the subject and tense. Make sure to conjugate your chosen phrase correctly to match the person you’re speaking to. This demonstrates your knowledge and proficiency in the Latin language.

3. Be Mindful of Regional Differences

While Latin is a classical language, it has evolved throughout history and can sometimes have regional variations. Although the phrases covered here are generally applicable, it’s a good idea to consider any regional nuances if you’re communicating with someone from a specific Latin-speaking region.

Tip: When in doubt, it’s usually safer to use the more formal version of the question, especially if you’re uncertain of the appropriate level of familiarity.


Let’s now look at some examples to provide a clearer understanding of how these phrases can be used:

  • Formal: In a business meeting, you may use “Quid agis?” to address your supervisor or a respected colleague.
  • Informal: When catching up with a friend, you can use “Quid facis?” to ask about their day.
  • Informal/Friendly: To show interest in a loved one’s activities during a casual conversation, you might ask, “Quid nunc facis?”

Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you use these phrases, the more comfortable and confident you’ll become in incorporating them into your conversations.


Congratulations! You’ve completed our guide on how to say “What are you doing?” in Latin both formally and informally. Now armed with various phrases, usage tips, and examples, you’re well-prepared to navigate conversations in different contexts. Remember to always consider the appropriate level of formality, adapt to your relationship with the person, and pay attention to regional variations if applicable. Latin, as a language with a rich history, offers a unique and interesting way to communicate with others. Enjoy exploring this classical language and have fun incorporating it into your conversations!

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