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  1. #1
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    Default Asking a question on the colour of an object...

    Please excuse for asking this stupid question.
    Could you please advise me on possible ways of asking a question about the colour of an object? Something confuses me...
    0. My father bought a green coat
    How to ask a simple question, meaning "What colour was the coat he bought?"
    1. What colour coat did he buy? (as if he bought some "colour coat")
    2. What colour of coat did he buy? (as if he bought a colour)
    3. A coat of what colour did he buy? (seems to be precise, but is it correct?)
    4. What colour did he buy a coat? (?)
    5. What colour did he buy a coat of? (???)
    6. Of what colour did he buy a coat? (this should be wrong)
    8. He bought a coat of what colour? (?)
    7. ???
    Thank you in advance for all your comments.
    Last edited by trans; 20-Jan-2006 at 10:39.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Asking a question on the colour of an object...

    I'd use:
    What colour coat did he buy?
    What colour was the coat he bought?

  3. #3
    reader_eng is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Asking a question on the colour of an object...

    I agree with Tdol.
    in a more informal way Id say just " what color is it?"

    reading about the order of adjectives would help.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Asking a question on the colour of an object...

    Thank you for your comments on the usage.
    But formally, could you give a sample of word to replace "colour" with in "What colour coat did he buy?" ("size", "shape", "age", "model", "material", "brand", "width", "height", etc.)?
    Why does "colour" differ from "kind", "sort", "type" ("What kind of coat did he buy?")?
    Is "colour" a noun-modifier here, and we ask a question to the "coat's" modifier rather than to a formal object as in "What kind of coat did he bought?" ?
    Or is "colour" an adjective here (*"What big coat did he buy?")?
    Thank you.
    Last edited by trans; 23-Jan-2006 at 08:32.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Asking a question on the colour of an object...

    You can say:
    What size shoes did you buy?
    What shape ...
    We wouldn't say 'what age', but 'how old' or, for things like cars, 'what year'. I'd say 'colour' was a noun. I hadn't thought about the differences between colour and kind, but it strikes me that the direct categories don't use of. With kind, there could be various ways of answering the question, but with colour, there might be difference of opinion about shade, but the general picture would be clear. with kind, I could give the cut or style, the brand, etc.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Asking a question on the colour of an object...

    Dear tdol,
    I really felt sorry for another asking after you first helpful response, being afraid to get no further comment as a pronounced flooder. Thank you very much for these hoped-for and meaningful explanations I failed to come across otherwise.
    (All this might seem obvious to native speakers, but in Russian we use the same genitive constructions in both cases, choosing between *what type of music and *music of what type; *what colour of coat and *coat of what colour, depending on what is more an object of the verb, and this choice sometimes makes no significant difference. We also ask questions to the nouns in genitive. That's where our "wh-questions" to "postmodifiers with of" like *A coat of what colour did he choose? or *What colour of coat did he choose? do come from. That's it.)
    Thank you once again.
    Yours Trans.
    Last edited by trans; 25-Jan-2006 at 11:07.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Asking a question on the colour of an object...

    (You ask them either:
    No chance of what?
    Poor me...)

  8. #8
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    Smile Re: Asking a question on the colour of an object...

    А played-out joke about two Russians pretending to speak English:
    - What o'clock?
    - Half seven.
    - That much?
    - For whom how.

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Asking a question on the colour of an object...

    We have less flexibility in english because we don't have much agreement between words. Things like 'No chance of what?' are fine in colloquial use, but 'coat of what colour' wouldn't work.

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