Difference between 何をしますか and どうしますか


#1

Hi guys.

I was wondering if there’s a difference between those two sentences since in the Genki books they seem to be using the second one as “what will you do” but I had the idea that どう means something like “how”.

ありがとう


#2

with no context I would translate both as “what [should/will] [you/we] do?”.

I’m no native speaker or anything, but I feel the difference in connotation is suggested by the different question words (plus the presence of を) – 何を suggests a specific action or activity which will probably be the direct object in the answer, while どう is inquiring more about a method. here’s some examples where using the other one in each situation would feel unnatural:

ヒマだから遊びに行きましょう。 はい、何をしますか? - since we’ve got free time let’s go play. / sure, what specifically do you wanna do? (sounds kinda weird in polite mood, oh well)

この数学の問題を解くために、どうしますか? - how should I go about solving this math problem?