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  1. Banned
    Interested in Language
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    what's wrong with

    Am I right that 'What's wrong with...' may have different meanings?
    For example, if someone does something stupid that angers me and then I ask him 'What's wrong with you?' the question has a negative connotation. Also, if I say 'What's wrong with the world today?', it sounds somewhat negative.

    But if let's say a friend of mine cries and seems to be sad and then I ask him 'What's wrong with you?' it has a more neutral or empathetic connotation, right? Because I just want to know the reason why he is sad without judging him by any means.

    And how about 'what's wrong about...?', is that interchangeable with 'what's wrong with...?'?
    Last edited by krisfromgermany; 25-Jul-2016 at 00:32.

  2. Skrej's Avatar
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    English Teacher
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    Re: what's wrong with

    You're basically right, although tone of voice also plays an important clue to whether you're being making a negative observation or a friendly inquiry.

    However, if I were asking somebody why they were upset, I'd leave off the 'with you', because regardless of tone it's still likely going to come off as either gruff, insensitive, or judgemental. If I were genuinely concerned, I'd just ask "What's the matter"?

    Quote Originally Posted by krisfromgermany View Post

    And how about 'what's wrong about...?', is that interchangeable with 'what's wrong with...?'?
    No, not in this context anyway. There could be some limited contexts where it could be, such as when inquiring why a particular idea is wrong or bad.

    You could say "What's so wrong about wanting to to meet him" with "What's so wrong with wanting to meet him".
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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