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I feel confused in choosing between 'what' and 'who' in the following question:

I want to be liked and loved for____I am inside.

A. who B. where C. what D. how

B and D are obviously wrong. However, I feel confused when it comes to which to choose between A and C. Could anyone help me make a definitive choice?

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  • I think your choices are: I want to be liked for who I am.............or................I want to be liked for what I am on the inside. Jun 21, 2020 at 14:06
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    If "who I am inside" is good enough for Disney's Mulan it's good enough for me.
    – nnnnnn
    Jun 21, 2020 at 14:12
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    If someone is in prison they might say, "I want to be liked and loved while I am inside." Jun 21, 2020 at 14:18
  • This question is taken from my exercise book and the key is who. But I am struggling between 'who' and 'what'. Somay I take it as that the definitive answer is 'Who'?
    – Eglantine
    Jun 21, 2020 at 14:23
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    D is not obviously wrong. The only option that seems inappropriate is B—and even that could be correct in the right context. In short, there is no way of choosing between these without a lot more information being provided. Jun 21, 2020 at 14:52

1 Answer 1

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Because English is a context-dependent language, this sort of artificial question set by unthinking examiners is usually pointless.

My guess is that the intended answer is "who".

However, as has been discussed in the comments, all options are possible but they have different meanings. Here are some examples: If I spent longer I could make them more convincing.

I want to be liked and loved for who I am inside. ---> I want to be liked and loved for the person I am inside.

I want to be liked and loved for where I am inside. ---> I want to be liked and loved for the stage I have reached in my personal development.

I want to be liked and loved for what I am inside. ---> I want to be liked and loved for the bundle of emotions that I am inside.

I want to be liked and loved for how I am inside. ---> I want to be liked and loved for my interior essence.

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  • To add to this, the use of "who" personifies the inside entity, where "what" is more broad. The difference is even more obvious in comparing the questions, "Who are you?" and "What are you?"
    – Bucket
    Nov 18, 2020 at 21:19

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