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'요즘 뭐하고 지내세요?'..I know that it means how are doing but if this sentence is 뭐(what) + 하고 (and/with)+지내다(spend time)..it should mean what do you do to spend your time? Then why is 하고 added? And is this sentence in present progressive form simliar to~고 있다 (뭐하다+고 지내다)? It's confusing me a lot.

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The correct sentence is "요즘 뭐 하고 지내세요?" (뭐 하다 is different from 뭐하다, but a lot of Koreans just do not bother about the correct spacing when the context is clear enough). In consideration of possible answers to it, I would say that it means "What do you do these days?" and "What are you doing these days?" not "How are you doing?"

I will show you the definition of each word:

요즘 (these days, nowadays, ...):

아주 가까운 과거부터 지금까지의 사이.

A period from a while ago to the present.

(what):

모르는 사실이나 사물을 가리키는 말.

A pronoun used to refer to a fact or object that one does not know of.

하다 (to do):

1.

어떤 행동이나 동작, 활동 등을 행하다.

To perform a certain move, action, activity, etc.

-고:

3.

앞의 말이 나타내는 행동이나 그 결과가 뒤에 오는 행동이 일어나는 동안에 그대로 지속됨을 나타내는 연결 어미.

A connective ending used when an action or result of the preceding statement remains the same while the following action happens.

지내다 (to live):

1.

어떠한 정도나 상태로 생활하거나 살아가다.

To live in a certain state or condition.

-세요:

(두루높임으로) 설명, 의문, 명령, 요청의 뜻을 나타내는 종결 어미.

(informal addressee-raising) A sentence-final ending used to describe, ask a question, order, and request.

Technically, "-고 지내다" is not the present progressive form; it is just one of the ways you can connect 지내다 with another verb. The part "뭐 하고 지내세요?" can be understood as "What do you do while living?" or "What are you doing while living?"

I have mentioned "one of the ways," so I must show you others: "요즘 뭐 하 지내세요?" and "요즘 뭐 하면서 지내세요?" These sentences mean the same as "요즘 뭐 하고 지내세요?"

-며:

2.

두 가지 이상의 동작이나 상태가 함께 일어남을 나타내는 연결 어미.

A connective ending used when more than two actions or states happen at the same time.

-면서:

1.

두 가지 이상의 동작이나 상태가 함께 일어남을 나타내는 연결 어미.

A connective ending used when more than two actions or states happen at the same time.

"뭐 하 지내세요?" and "뭐 하면서 지내세요?" can be understood as "What are you doing at the same time (/ while) you are living?"

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  • So basically the above sentence literally means 'what+and+spend time?' (doesn't make a lot of sense) but interpreted as the translation you gave? – ieycha Apr 6 '20 at 14:44
  • @leycha No, you are wrong about the meaning of 하고. The whole 하고 means "and" only when it is used to connect nouns (including pronouns) not verbs. The verb 지내다 (to live) is connected by -고 with the other verb, which is 하다 (to do). 뭐 하고 지내다 means "to do (/ be doing) what while living" (to do what and live concurrently). – Klmo Apr 6 '20 at 15:46
  • I didn't know that! Thanks alot!! – ieycha Apr 6 '20 at 16:24
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The literal meaning of "How are you doing?" is something like 너 어떻게 하고 있어요?. But it does not perfectly match with the real meaning of "How are you doing" in English and even sounds unnatural in Korean. It should be translated into 뭐 하고 지내? / 요즘 뭐하고 지내세요? / 요즘 어때요? / 잘 지내요? / 어떻게 지내세요?, etc.

Yes. 요즘 뭐하고 지내세요? is the sentence in present progressive form. It means "what are you doing and how is it going recently?" or "how are you spending your time these days?".

-하고/-고 + verb (present progressive form) ex) 공부하고 있다 / 밥을 먹고 있다 / 잘 지내고 있다 / 숙제하고 있다 / 운동하고 있다

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  • I don't understand. What's the purpose of 하고? Secondly, does stem+고 있다 is progressive or any verb insted of 있다 also makes the sentence present progressive? – ieycha Apr 4 '20 at 15:18
  • 하고 here is not "and" but verb 하다 ("do") plus inflectional suffix -고 ("..and"). So 뭐 하고 is basically "do what and..." – jick Apr 4 '20 at 21:09

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