Speaker A: Time to wake up.

Speaker B: What for/For what?

Speaker A: To go shopping.

Should it be what for or for what? And why?

  • 1
    'What for?' is the most common usage, although 'For what?' is still correct.
    – GoodJuJu
    Oct 24, 2017 at 12:28

2 Answers 2


"What for" sounds more like everyday speaking English. However, "For what" delivers a somewhat grumpy tone.

Either way fine. Up to the writer on subtle tone or feeling expressed by the sleeper.


I think, it's appropriate to use ''for what?''rather than the opposite. The complete dialogue is: A: It is time for you to wake up. B: 【Why】 should i get up for now? A: Cause we'r going to go shopping. As you can see, the original is asking the reason, and for means giving or ''because of sth.''(there is always an object following it); thus,after narrow down, for is put at the first word not what. If you'd like to put what at the beginning, it should be a complete sense. i dont understand the deeper of this,perhaps, this is the rule that only the first one would know why he/she created and used in this way... And, hope someone can explain in detail..


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