Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is his standing in the community?
Where is his standing in the community?

Which one is better? What if community is replaced by competition?

share|improve this question
1  
Personally, it sounds unnatural to ask of someone's social standing to me. –  American Luke Aug 5 '12 at 20:09
1  
"Where is his standing..." doesn't sound natural to me in any of these contexts. –  canpolat Aug 5 '12 at 20:19
    
@Luke: What do you mean with "unnatural". Pheraps something related to English grammar and usage? –  user19148 Aug 5 '12 at 20:20
1  
Less the grammar, it just seems rude. –  American Luke Aug 5 '12 at 21:32
add comment

2 Answers

As a noun, standing has senses "Position or reputation in society or a profession" and
"The position of a team in a league or of a player in a list", among others. Thus, your first form ("What is his standing in the community?") asks about the position of a person in a community. The second form ("Where is his standing in the community?") somewhat redundantly and nonsensically asks about the location of a position. The question is not one of grammar, but of sense.

The same applies if word community is replaced by competition. However, while one can ask "What is his standing in the competition?", I'd expect to hear more commonly "How does he stand in the competition?", or similar, when stand or standing is used.

share|improve this answer
add comment

All four sentences can be more clearly expressed.

What is his standing in the community? -> What is his position...?

or

What is his standing in the community? -> What is his reputation...?

These use clearer word choices. The original sentence implies both the others and is thereby in itself less definite.

What is his standing in the competition? -> What is his ranking...?

Both mean the same thing; the latter is less ambiguous.

Where is his standing in the community? -> Confusing.

Q: What is a "standing"? It is not clear that either position or reputation is intended.

Where is his standing in the competition? (and "Where does he stand in the competition?") -> Ambiguous.

Either version works, actually. But to say: "What is his ranking...?" would express the thought much more clearly. (Of these two, the latter is better but could also mean: "Where should he stand to await his turn in the competition?")

Also good:

Where does he stand in the rankings?

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.