"Have you ever been shot?" is semantically different since it implied the person was actually hit.

"Have you ever been under fire?" is better but is also ambiguous since "under fire" has the alternate meaning of "heavily criticized". Even if the firearm attack meaning is understood, it has the connotation that the subject is also armed (soldier, police) or at least in a situation where an attack is expected to some degree, whereas "shot at" does not have this nuance.

So what I'm going for is a grammatically correct re-phrase of the question which maintains the clarity of the grammatically incorrect form.

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    "Have you ever been shot at?" is not grammatically incorrect. If you want to rephrase it anyway, "Has anyone ever shot at you?" means about the same thing, although it might change the focus of the sentence a bit.
    – herisson
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 4:27
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    Why (just curious) do you think "Have you ever been shot at?” Is ungrammatical? Is it because it ends with a preposition? If so, ignore that "rule". Most people end sentences with prepositions in everyday speech and even more formal speech. They are as correctly understood by their audience as one could hope for. Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 4:44
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    There's nothing ungrammatical about it. Many object to ending a sentence with a preposition, but then this sentence is also in the passive voice, which many seem to have equal disdain for. So why not kill two birds with one stone by asking instead, "Has anybody ever shot at you?" (though, personally, I'd stick with the original).
    – user66965
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 5:10
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    "Have you ever shot at been?" (Gets around the problem of the preposition at the end, and makes you sound like a wise Yoda to boot. :-)
    – ralph.m
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 5:55

1 Answer 1


Have you ever been shot at? is acceptable usage. As others have commented, the traditional rule of not ending a sentence with a preposition is not absolute. When I wrote essays in college, we were asked to note parenthetically in the text that our deviations from standard usage were stylistic and intentional.

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