I know this is something small but I am genuinely curious about it. Are questions like "How would you like your coffee?" grammatically correct? Isn't it supposed to be "How would you like your coffee to be?"? Are both of these correct? Could you explain the reason and the rule behind it, please? Thank you so much.

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    Adding an unnecessary to be at the end is sometimes a useful thought experiment for finding the correct pronoun case; but adding it on here would likely just confuse a native speaker. Nov 17, 2020 at 15:30
  • I think a more common way of asking is "How do you take your coffee?" (That version, though, implies that established habit must always prevail.) Nov 17, 2020 at 15:33
  • Perfectly idiomatic, at least in the UK. General reference: << how do [/would] you like...? used when asking someone how they [would] like their drinks [/fried eggs etc] made [/cooked]: "How do you like your tea?" "Milk and one sugar, please." >> [Cambridge English Dictionary] Nov 17, 2020 at 15:48
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    The question is not really about the grammatical correctness (there isn't anything that would even appear to be a grammatical error in it), but about what leads us to interpret how in it as concerning the mode of preparing the coffee, rather that the mode of liking it, which would be indicated by the syntax of the sentence, considered in the abstract.
    – jsw29
    Nov 17, 2020 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is grammatically correct, though it is a shortening of "How would you like your coffee prepared?" or "How would you like me to make your coffee?" or the example you provided. They are all correct, but the one you wrote sounds a bit less natural, in my opinion.

Due to the context of the situation, the prepared part is implied and often omitted by the speaker for the sake of brevity. The listener knows that the other person intends to make the coffee.

It is similar to "What type of coffee do you want?" Again, the prepared part is implied and is unnecessary. A native speaker would understand, whichever version you decide to use.

  • Thank you so much for your clear and quick answer.
    – Guri
    Nov 17, 2020 at 16:09
  • May I ask is this in passive voice?
    – Guri
    Nov 17, 2020 at 16:10
  • @Guri These examples are all in active voice. Using passive voice in a question like this would be very odd: "What type of coffee is liked by you?" Anyway, I'm glad I could help!
    – harada
    Nov 17, 2020 at 16:19
  • Thank you. Then is it correct to ask 'How would you like your dog'? or is it 'how would you like your dog to be.'
    – Guri
    Nov 17, 2020 at 16:25
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    Not sure why it got down voted, it is a perfectly fine answer. I +1ed to correct. FWIW, I think it should be a requirement to add a comment explaining your downvote.
    – Fraser Orr
    Aug 16, 2021 at 19:30

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