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Can "What" or "Which" be used as demonstrative pronouns (this, that, those)?

Instead of

"What colors are you using to paint the waterfall and how are you using those colors?"

is the following also grammatically correct?

"How are you using what colors to paint the waterfall?"


Instead of

"What information are marketers trying to convey in the advertisement and how are they trying to convey that information?"

is the following also grammatically correct?

"How are marketers trying to convey what information in the advertisement campaign?"

  • In answer to your question "Can "What" or "Which" be used as demonstrative pronouns (this, that, those)? - the answer is "No." The demonstrative pronouns are this, that, these, those. – Greybeard Mar 6 at 21:35
  • Hello and thanks! I am a novice in English grammar. Is there a reason why "what" and "which" can not be used the way that demonstrative pronouns are used? Appreciate your response. – user1949723 Mar 7 at 22:33
  • You ask "Is there a reason...?" That is rather like asking, "Is there a reason why a cat is not a dog?" You ask "Which? and "What? when you do not know or recognise something: "What is your name?" You say this, that, these, those when you are referring to, or pointing at, something. "What is that?" = "What is the name of that thing I am pointing at?" The adjective from the verb "to demonstrate" is demonstrative. In this case, "to demonstrate" = to indicate, highlight, or show to someone." – Greybeard Mar 8 at 9:32
  • @Greybeard While I would agree that the OP's suggested questions are cumbersome if not ungrammatical, it seems reasonable enough to say "I don't know what he is doing" or "Can you tell me what he is doing?". Is that not an example of "what" used as a sort of demonstrative pronoun? It seems to have lost its interrogative quality in such context. – WS2 Apr 5 at 21:48
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Your original questions: "What colors are you using to paint the waterfall and how are you using those colors?" and "What information are marketers trying to convey in the advertisement and how are they trying to convey that information?" both have the words what and how in the same sentence already. Neither of the following sentences is grammatically correct.

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    Your shorter sentences are confusing to the reader. – Kate Bunting Mar 17 '19 at 9:07
  • why aren't the following sentences grammatically correct? – user1949723 Mar 19 '19 at 17:53
  • The compressed sentences have special punch that could make them better or worse than their longer versions. Better for an Edward Albee play, worse for normal writing. They are more odd than wrong, as they take more time to absorb, not less. And @KateBunting said it simpler. – Yosef Baskin Apr 5 at 21:36

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