What color eyes do you have?

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crazYgeeK

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I know that it is a correct sentence but I still have some questions involved here:
1. Can we say "What color of eyes do you have?"
2. I would like to know what part of speech the "color eyes" is? To me, it is better to understand if we write "eyes color" or "color of eyes". It seems that the answer to that question should be "My color eyes is black", shouldn't it?
I have another sentence "What flavour icecream do you like?"
Thank you very much!
 

philo2009

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Your (perhaps understandable) confusion derives from your mistaken partitioning of the phrase. The NP 'what color eyes' consists of a head noun 'eyes' modified by the NP 'what color' (consisting, in itself, in a combination of the noun 'color' and interrogative determiner 'what'). Although once extant, *What color of NP is no longer acceptable in contemporary usage.

With other similarly constructed phrases, however, the option to insert the preposition is still available. Both what flavo(u)r NP and what flavo(u)r of NP are acceptable, although the former is somewhat more common.
 

TheParser

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ag
I know that it is a correct sentence but I still have some questions involved here:
1. Can we say "What color of eyes do you have?"
2. I would like to know what part of speech the "color eyes" is? To me, it is better to understand if we write "eyes color" or "color of eyes". It seems that the answer to that question should be "My color eyes is black", shouldn't it?
I have another sentence "What flavour icecream do you like?"
Thank you very much!


NOT A TEACHER

(1) Teacher Philo has given you and me an excellent answer.

(2) May I just add a few words?

(3) It seems that English speakers over the years have decided to drop

"of" after certain words, especially in questions.

(a) So I think that you often hear something such as:

(i) What color eyes do you have?

(ii) What price house are you looking for?

(iii) What age girlfriend are you looking for?

(iv) What flavor ice cream goes best with this dessert?

(v) What size shirt does your father wear?

(4) Tom (on the telephone, so he cannot see you): Excuse me, sir. What color

eyes do you have? / What is your eye color?

Ralph: My eyes are black. / My eye color is black./ The color of my eyes is black.
 

SoothingDave

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Is black really an eye color?
 

5jj

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Is black really an eye color?
I have known some Chinese people who have described the colour of their eyes as black. I suspect that they are really a very dark brown, but I can understand them using the word 'black'.
 

TheParser

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NOT A TEACHER


(1) I have exciting news, Crazygeek.

(2) I have been googling like mad (crazy) during the last 24 hours, and I have found a great discussion.

(3) We members are allowed to occasionally link to other English helplines, so I think

that I can "link" to the following thread. I used quotation marks because I do not know

how to actually link, so please google these words:

What colour hair do you have? Word Reference
 
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crazYgeeK

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Your (perhaps understandable) confusion derives from your mistaken partitioning of the phrase. The NP 'what color eyes' consists of a head noun 'eyes' modified by the NP 'what color' (consisting, in itself, in a combination of the noun 'color' and interrogative determiner 'what'). Although once extant, *What color of NP is no longer acceptable in contemporary usage.

With other similarly constructed phrases, however, the option to insert the preposition is still available. Both what flavo(u)r NP and what flavo(u)r of NP are acceptable, although the former is somewhat more common.

Could you (or any other teachers) please let me know what NP stands for?
Thank you for the great answer! (Of course I will understand better if knowing what NP is).
Thank you very much!
 

5jj

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Noun phrase.
 

crazYgeeK

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NOT A TEACHER


(1) I have exciting news, Crazygeek.

(2) I have been googling like mad (crazy) during the last 24 hours, and I have found a great discussion.

(3) We members are allowed to occasionally link to other English helplines, so I think

that I can "link" to the following thread. I used quotation marks because I do not know

how to actually link, so please google these words:

What colour hair do you have? Word Reference

Thank you, TheParser, I can see your enthusiasm with much help to many learners including me.
Thank you very much!
 

crazYgeeK

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Is black really an eye color?

I think nothing is absolute. But with eye color, I have seen some kind of nearly-black eyes which made (or make?) me a little frightened when looking at them. I have imagined those eyes as those ones of a ghost especially when if it weared a white blouse with a long hair. They are like black holes without human soul. Fortunately, there are rarely such eyes in reality!
Thank you!
 

ysc1230

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Hi teacher,

I wonder if this is natural and still common.

what is the color of your eyes?


And I think "black" color eyes is good, it looks pure :cool:
 

dawnngcm

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Interesting topic! :up:

I found this example from ‘Swan’.

‘What colour are his eyes?'
 

TheParser

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Interesting topic! :up:

I found this example from ‘Swan’.

‘What colour are his eyes?'


NOT A TEACHER


Because, I guess, the "regular" order is:

His eyes are what color.
 

philo2009

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Contemporary BrE (and, to the best of my knowledge - spelling notwithstanding! - AmE, too) would accept either

What is the colour of his eyes?

or

What colour are his eyes?

The second is slightly preferred on grounds of simple brevity.
 
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