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  1. Newbie
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Algeria
      • Current Location:
      • Algeria

    • Join Date: Feb 2015
    • Posts: 1
    #1

    Question ''Who'' or ''What'' ?

    Hello there,

    I recently had a quick English test,which contained the following question:

    ''In the past,the population grew very fast''
    *Ask a question about the underlined word.

    So I naturally answered:

    -What grew very fast in the past?

    While we were correcting the test,my teacher came up with this answer:

    -Who grew very fast in the past?

    As I was a little bit confused about the answer she gave,I proposed her I would go and check which possibility was correct. Who knows,everybody makes mistakes.

    So here I am,asking you this question:In this case,should we use ''What'' or ''Who''.And why sould we do so?

    Thank you for your consideration.

  2. teechar's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Iraq
      • Current Location:
      • Iraq

    • Join Date: Feb 2015
    • Posts: 6,180
    #2

    Re: ''Who'' or ''What'' ?

    You are absolutely correct and your teacher is absolutely wrong !.
    you would refer to "the population" by the relative pronoun "it", so of course you must use "what" not "who" to ask a question about it.

  3. charliedeut's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Spain
      • Current Location:
      • Spain

    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 5,560
    #3

    Re: ''Who'' or ''What'' ?

    To me, "What grew..." sounds far more natural.
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

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