2

Can you please tell which (if any) of the following is correct?

  1. Where are you coming from?/From where are you coming?
  2. Who will you give it to?/To whom will you give it?
  3. What for?/For what?
7
  • 'Correct' as regarded by a prescriptivist grammar teacher, or 'correct' in the sense that Professor Pullum would let you in for a glass of sherry if he heard you say it? – Edwin Ashworth Jul 15 '14 at 19:27
  • The grammar wiz :) – Coven Member 6 Jul 15 '14 at 19:56
  • Which of these are conjunctions in your sentences? – anongoodnurse Jul 15 '14 at 20:00
  • 1
    I am really new to English and sorry if they aren't :$ – Coven Member 6 Jul 15 '14 at 20:22
  • They're all fine, perfectly grammatical. The first two pairs vary in formality; the second ones, with the fronted prepositions (they're not conjunctions), are rather snooty. The first ones in 1 and 2 are normal questions. The third pair is rather drastically shortened, with the meaning depending on the context. These two differ. They're both fixed phrases, but not the same fixed phrase. What for?, all by itself, simply means Why?. For what?, on the other hand, either is asking for a repeat, or is expressing disbelief, or asking for a specific reason. Depending on intonation and stress. – John Lawler Jul 15 '14 at 23:46
2

Where are you coming from?/From where are you coming?

  • less formal (speech) / more formal (speech or writing)

Who will you give it to?/To whom will you give it?

  • less formal (speech) / more formal (speech or writing), but I'd argue that even the informal should use the grammatically correct whom.

What for?/For what?

  • The meanings of these sentences are somewhat different. What for? means Why?, while For what? means What is its purpose?, or is used as an expression of disbelief, as previously mentioned.

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