Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default "What are you?" or "Who are you?"

    Hello,

    I read a sentence like this "What are you? My mother or soemthing?"
    My question is that "who are you" seems to make more sense to me?
    So, can I replace "what" with "who?" And if both will do, which one is more common? Many thanks.


    best regards
    Paula

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,571
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: "What are you?" or "Who are you?"

    Quote Originally Posted by paula
    Hello,

    I read a sentence like this "What are you? My mother or something?"
    My question is that "who are you" seems to make more sense to me?
    So, can I replace "what" with "who?" And if both will do, which one is more common? Many thanks.
    My guess is that that is taken from a conversation that is somewhat confrontational. "What are you? My mother or something?" is perfectly idiomatic. I guess you could say the "or something" makes the "What" appropriate. Another way of saying it, perhaps, would be: "Who do you think you are? My mother?" In neither case is the person asking a question. He or she is, instead, making a confrontational statement.

    Regards,
    RonBee

    8)

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,263
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    What is used, I think, to suggest a role rather than a person.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •