Student or Learner
Can I use "what about" to ask an opinion of someone on something? As in:
I like soda, and what about you? = Do you like it? What do you like?
Yesterday I played basketball. What about you? = what did you do?
I'm asking because I learned that how about would be the proper way, but I've seen many non-natives and even english teachers (not natives again) saying what about in this context.
Last edited by anreak; 27-Jul-2008 at 03:04.
And children are often taught not to say 'What?' when they have misheard. Alternatives like 'Pardon', 'Sorry?', 'Could you repeat that', 'Sorry, I didn't catch that' or even informally - 'come/say again?' are often preferred.
I suppose sticklers for 'correctness' might say that 'how' asks about a verb 'How did you do/feel/react...?' and 'what' asks about a noun - 'I was given a gold watch; what were you given?' [rather than 'what about you?' in the same case]. But most native speakers I know don't regard 'What about you?' as in any sense 'wrong'. (In fact, I remember hearing a song in the '50s called 'I like it, how about you?' and thinking it sounded strange - perhaps American; in those days, and given my limited experience at the time, I regarded 'What about you?' as the natural form of words.)
Here's what the BNC says:
WORD 1 (W1): WHAT ABOUT (3.89)
WORD W1 W2 W1/W2 SCORE
1 YOU 466 151 3.1 0.8
WORD 2 (W2): HOW ABOUT (0.26)
WORD W2 W1 W2/W1 SCORE
1 YOU 151 466 0.3 1.3
See more here: [Davies/BYU] BYU-BNC: British National Corpus
Thank you guys for taking the time to answer!
I think I understood the politeness issue but not the exact meaning of each sentence. Could you kindly check this out for me?
I like soda, what about you? = What do you like?
I like soda, how about you? = Do you like it?
I'm feeling great, what about you? = How are you feeling?
I'm feeling great, how about you? = Do you also feel great?
They all sound fine to me.