Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    Mike MC is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Thai
      • Home Country:
      • Thailand
      • Current Location:
      • Thailand
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Posts
    95

    Is it correct to ask, "What were you afraid?"?

    Is the following question correct?

    Q.: What were you afraid?
    A.: We were afraid that we were going to capsize the boat.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 11-Feb-2021 at 08:46. Reason: Removed quote box to make quoting in response easier

  2. #2
    tedmc is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Malaysia
      • Current Location:
      • Malaysia
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    7,514

    Re: Is it correct to ask, "What were you afraid?"?

    No, you need the preposition "of" at the back.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

  3. #3
    Mike MC is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Thai
      • Home Country:
      • Thailand
      • Current Location:
      • Thailand
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Posts
    95

    Re: Is it correct to ask, "What were you afraid?"?

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    No, you need the preposition "of" at the back.
    Why? As far as I know a that-clause is a noun clause that functions like a noun. Don't we simply use "what" to ask about a noun? Here's another example:

    Q.: What do you guess?
    A.: I guess that she is thirty.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 11-Feb-2021 at 08:48. Reason: Removed quote box round Q/A to make responding easier

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    60,008

    Re: Is it correct to ask, "What were you afraid?"?

    Regardless of what happens with other "What" questions or "that" clauses, there is simply no way to ask your original question without "of". Even though we can use "We were afraid that ..." in the answer, that can't be converted into "What were you afraid that?" or your shorter version. There is only one grammatical question there:

    What were you afraid of? (You might hear people of a much older generation use "Of what were you afraid?")

    In the response, what follows "afraid" can differ:

    We were afraid of the dark.
    We were afraid [that] he would find us.
    We were afraid of losing.
    We were afraid [that] it wouldn't be successful.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

Posting Permissions

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