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  1. #1
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    Default WH~ QUESTIONS + PREPOSITIONS

    Hi, I would like to receive an explanation about the WH~QUESTIONS + PREPOSITIONS, for instance:

    WHAT is a pen FOR?
    WHAT channel is Susan working IN?

    I would like to know when i am supposed to do this, why and how?

    Thanks a lot
    [Email deleted.]

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    I'm not sure that I get your question. generally, we put the preposition at the end, but sometimes it comes at the beginning in formal language:
    Which city were you born in?
    In which city were you born?

    The second is decidedly more formal than the first. The preposition used depends entirely on the verb\adjective, etc, used in the question:
    Who do you depend on?
    On whom do you depend? (Here whom is used directly after a preposition)

    Does that help at all?

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    Default Re: WH~ QUESTIONS + PREPOSITIONS

    I don't see the connection between questions beginning with who, what, when, which or why and prepositions (and I don't think there is one). Some questions beginning with a wh word have prepositions in them; some don't. I really don't think there is a connection of that sort concerning those words any more than any other words.

    :)

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    Default Re: WH~ QUESTIONS + PREPOSITIONS

    Quote Originally Posted by CH@RMEDgirl
    Hi, I would like to receive an explanation about the WH~QUESTIONS + PREPOSITIONS, for instance:

    WHAT is a pen FOR?
    WHAT channel is Susan working IN?

    I would like to know when i am supposed to do this, why and how?
    What is a pen for? means, what is a pen used for? Notice that 'for' modifies 'used'.

    Q: What is a pen (used) for?
    A: A pen is (used) for writing.

    If a word like 'for' comes after the word it modifies, it's part of that word, and so it doesn't move unless the word it modifies also moves. For example:

    Sentence: A pen is used for writing.
    1) [WH-replacement] A pen is used for what
    2) [WH-movement] what a pen is used for
    3) [Subject-Verb inversion] what is a pen used for
    Question: What is a pen used for?

    'for' doesn't move with 'what' (i.e. *For what is a pen? ungrammatical) because 'for' does not modify 'what'. It modifies 'used': 'used for' is a set phrase. 'for' is a particle, not a preposition. The same holds true for 'work in':

    Sue is working in TV.
    In what is Sue working? (ungrammatical)
    What is Sue working in? (grammatical; 'work in' is a set phrase; 'in' functions as a particle, not as a preposition)

    If a preposition modifies a noun, the set pair forms a prepositional phrase (PP). Within that phrase, only the noun can be replaced by WH. After WH-replacement, the speaker has two choices: either move the entire PP or move the WH word, like this,

    Sentence: She gave the pen to Sam.
    1) [WH-replacement] She gave the pen to whom
    2) [PP-movement] to whom she gave the pen
    3) [Do insertion] to whom did she give the pen
    Question: To whom did she give the pen?

    Sentence: She gave the pen to Sam.
    1) [WH-replacement] She gave the pen to whom
    2) [WH-movement] whom she gave the pen to
    3) [DO insertion] whom did she give the pen to
    Question: Whom did she give the pen to?

    Knowing when to move words like 'for' and 'in' and 'to' involves knowing what sets of words function as verb phrases, noun phrases, and prepositional phrases. A place to start: look up phrasal verbs.

    Example:

    She walked up the hill.
    Where did she walk? (Prepositional phrase, OK)
    What did she walk up? (Noun phrase, verb phrase, OK)

    Up what did she walk? (ungrammatical, not OK)
    up = part of 'walk', it's a particle, not a preposition here. It needs to stay with 'walk'.


    :D

  5. #5
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: WH~ QUESTIONS + PREPOSITIONS

    Excellent!

    :D

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    Default Re: WH~ QUESTIONS + PREPOSITIONS

    When asking questions we normally invert the usual subject-verb word order and put the verb first. Example:
    • What am I supposed to do?


    :)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: WH~ QUESTIONS + PREPOSITIONS

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Quote Originally Posted by CH@RMEDgirl
    Hi, I would like to receive an explanation about the WH~QUESTIONS + PREPOSITIONS, for instance:

    WHAT is a pen FOR?
    WHAT channel is Susan working IN?

    I would like to know when i am supposed to do this, why and how?
    What is a pen for? means, what is a pen used for? Notice that 'for' modifies 'used'.

    Q: What is a pen (used) for?
    A: A pen is (used) for writing.

    If a word like 'for' comes after the word it modifies, it's part of that word, and so it doesn't move unless the word it modifies also moves. For example:

    Sentence: A pen is used for writing.
    1) [WH-replacement] A pen is used for what
    2) [WH-movement] what a pen is used for
    3) [Subject-Verb inversion] what is a pen used for
    Question: What is a pen used for?

    'for' doesn't move with 'what' (i.e. *For what is a pen? ungrammatical) because 'for' does not modify 'what'. It modifies 'used': 'used for' is a set phrase. 'for' is a particle, not a preposition. The same holds true for 'work in':

    Sue is working in TV.
    In what is Sue working? (ungrammatical)
    What is Sue working in? (grammatical; 'work in' is a set phrase; 'in' functions as a particle, not as a preposition)

    If a preposition modifies a noun, the set pair forms a prepositional phrase (PP). Within that phrase, only the noun can be replaced by WH. After WH-replacement, the speaker has two choices: either move the entire PP or move the WH word, like this,

    Sentence: She gave the pen to Sam.
    1) [WH-replacement] She gave the pen to whom
    2) [PP-movement] to whom she gave the pen
    3) [Do insertion] to whom did she give the pen
    Question: To whom did she give the pen?

    Sentence: She gave the pen to Sam.
    1) [WH-replacement] She gave the pen to whom
    2) [WH-movement] whom she gave the pen to
    3) [DO insertion] whom did she give the pen to
    Question: Whom did she give the pen to?

    Knowing when to move words like 'for' and 'in' and 'to' involves knowing what sets of words function as verb phrases, noun phrases, and prepositional phrases. A place to start: look up phrasal verbs.

    Example:

    She walked up the hill.
    Where did she walk? (Prepositional phrase, OK)
    What did she walk up? (Noun phrase, verb phrase, OK)

    Up what did she walk? (ungrammatical, not OK)
    up = part of 'walk', it's a particle, not a preposition here. It needs to stay with 'walk'.


    :D
    Very good!

    :D

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    Default Re: WH~ QUESTIONS + PREPOSITIONS

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee

    Very good!

    :D
    You're too kind

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