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The example of sentence is

A feast had been prepared at the hotel La Reserve to celebrate the engagement of Edmond and Mercedes.

I'd like to ask this question:

Where had a feast been prepared?

Is it correct?

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  • 1
    Where had a feast been prepared? - A feast had been prepared at... is okay. Jul 29, 2019 at 11:03

2 Answers 2

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It's perfectly normal to ask 'wh' questions in a passive voice. Consider:

I entered La Reserve and found the dining room set in a formal arrangement for many people. I asked a waiter "For whom has a feast been prepared?"

The manager of La Reserve came back from a two day break and the chef said "We have been working on a feast all day". The manager asked "Why has a feast been prepared?"

I arrived at La Reserve and was told "We have prepared a feast in your honour". I answered "Thank you, what sort of food has been prepared?"

You can do this for any "wh" word so long as the context is appropriate, no special rules are necessary.

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No, it is not correct.

Where had a feast been prepared? the use of a feast is a generalisation. So a valid reply would be anyone of the establishment where a feast may have been prepared. However we are asking about a specific feast so we should be using the Feast

Where had the feast been prepared?

the definite article US ​ /ðə, ði/ the definite article (PARTICULAR) ​ used before a noun to refer to a particular thing because it is clear which thing is intended: Link to C.E.D.

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  • This is not correct. There’s nothing wrong with “Where had a feast been prepared?”. In context, it is perfectly clear that it is referring to the same feast as that mentioned in the line above, where it is also indefinite. The definite article may also be usable, but it may also not, depending on context. Jul 29, 2019 at 13:58
  • @ Janus Bahs Jacquet does not the use of " the" in at the hotel La Reserve make the article definite? Does this not become specific? Therefore if specific in the line above the definite article should be used?? Please note this is a question, not an argument.
    – Brad
    Jul 29, 2019 at 14:53
  • It makes the hotel definite, not the feast. Of course, if we imagine this to be a conversation, then the definite article would be very likely: “I went to a party last night.” — “Where was the party held?” (note how we go from indefinite to definite once the party becomes established material). But that’s not what seems to be the case here; if we’re simply turning a sentence into a question as a grammatical exercise, there’s no need to make the feast definite because it’s not established information in that context. Jul 29, 2019 at 16:01

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