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    #1
    Hello! How can I turn the statement "He is studying to be a teacher" into a question? Should it be "What is he studying?" or "What is he studying to be?"?
    Last edited by GoesStation; 01-Jul-2020 at 18:34.

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    #2

    Re: What is he studying? vs What is he studying to be?

    I think I've found the answer: "to be" remains in a question when it's part of the direct object after catenative verbs like "want/like": "He wants to be a teacher" => "What does he want to be?" The verb "study" isn't catenative.
    Not a teacher or native speaker

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: What is he studying? vs What is he studying to be?

    Also keep in mind that what he is studying is not necessarily what he is studying to be. Right now, he might be studying to pass an algebra exam, even though what he's studying to be is an oud player.

    One is whatever he's studying now, the other is the future occupation he's working toward.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #4

    Re: What is he studying? vs What is he studying to be?

    Here's an excerpt from Vines: My Life and Ministry by Jerry Vines (p. 39):
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Does this mean that we can use "to be" when asking about someone's future profession?
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    #5

    Re: What is he studying? vs What is he studying to be?

    What are you studying to be? is a natural question.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: What is he studying? vs What is he studying to be?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    What are you studying to be? is a natural question.
    So, we can use both "What are you studying?" and "What are you studying to be?" when it comes to future professions, right?
    Last edited by Alexey86; 06-Jul-2020 at 14:55.
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    #7

    Re: What is he studying? vs What is he studying to be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    So, we can use both "What are you studying?" and "What are you studying to be?" when it comes to future professions, right?
    No. The first asks what subject you are currently studying. The second asks about your intended career.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #8

    Re: What is he studying? vs What is he studying to be?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    No. The first asks what subject you are currently studying. The second asks about your intended career.
    A: I'm at university.
    B: What are you studying/What are you studying to be?
    A: I'm studying medicine. I want to be a doctor.

    Are both variants possible here?
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    #9

    Re: What is he studying? vs What is he studying to be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    A: I'm at university.
    B: What are you studying/What are you studying to be?
    A: I'm studying medicine. I want to be a doctor.

    Are both variants possible here?
    Yes.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #10

    Re: What is he studying? vs What is he studying to be?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Yes.
    That's what I meant by "So, we can use both "What are you studying?" and "What are you studying to be?" when it comes to future professions, right?"
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