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Prepositions in questions

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When we use prepositions in questions, we often put them at the end of the sentence because it sounds more natural

Who did you speak with? – With who did you speak?

What are you talking about? – About what are you talking?

Who did you give it to? – To who did you give it?

Where are you from? From where are you?

What are you looking at? – At what are you looking?

Another way to form questions with prepositions is to use the auxiliary verb “do” or “does” in the present tense, or “did” in the past tense, before the subject of the sentence. This way of forming questions is more formal and is commonly used in formal settings, such as business meetings, interviews, and academic settings.

Examples include:

  • Do you know with whom you spoke?
  • Does he know about what you were talking?
  • Did you give it to whom?
  • Do you come from where?
  • Does she know what you are looking at?

It’s worth noting that, even though this way of forming questions is considered more formal, it is not commonly used in spoken English, and it is not considered idiomatic.

Another way to form questions with prepositions is to use the word “of” before the subject of the sentence. This way of forming questions is less common and it is mostly used in literary works and in poetry.

Examples include:

  • Of whom did you speak?
  • Of what are you talking?
  • Of whom did you give it?
  • Of where are you from?
  • Of what are you looking? It’s worth noting that this way of forming questions is considered formal and stylistic, and it is not commonly used in spoken English.

It’s also important to remember that the choice of preposition to use in a sentence depends on the context and the verb and nouns in the sentence. It’s always a good idea to consult a dictionary or a grammar guide to make sure that you are using the correct preposition in your sentences.

Another point to consider when using prepositions in questions is that some prepositions are considered more formal or more informal depending on the context of the sentence. For example, “with whom” might be considered more formal than “who with”, “from where” might be considered more formal than “where from”. However, it is worth noting that this varies depending on the region and the context of the conversation.

It’s also important to note that in colloquial English, prepositions are often omitted in questions, especially in spoken English. For example, instead of asking “What are you looking at?” one might ask “What you looking at?”.

In summary, when forming questions with prepositions, it’s important to keep in mind the context of the sentence and the formality of the conversation. While there are different ways to form questions with prepositions, what is considered more formal or more natural can vary depending on the context and the region.

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