Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by lunalunera, May 9, 2006.
¿Está bien esta frase?:
¿para qué se usa este cuchillo?: what is this knife used for?
Yes that is correctisimo!
How do you use this knife?
What is the use of this knife?
What is this knife for?
What do you use this knife for?
yo usaría la 3.
Estoy tan amedrentado con tantas reglas del inglés que no he aprendido que las pocas que ya aprendí me hacen titubear todo el tiempo... Por ejemplo, la regla esa que dizque que no se puede terminar una oración con una preposición. ¿Se aplica también a las preguntas?
Entonces yo lo intentaría de este modo:
"What is the use of this knife?"
Lo cual suena tan, pero tan artificial que creo que nadie lo diría así cotidianamente. A lo mejor por escrito sí, quién sabe...
"what for?" is more proper than "for what?",
when I studied english "for what?" was a mistake. Nowadays I hear it everywhere.
"for what?" is more correct. However, "what for" is more natural to an American.
"For what is that knife used?" (very correct, but formal sounding)
"What is that knife used for?" (incorrect, but very common.)
One English grammer rule says that one should not end a sentence with a preposition - "for, with, to etc". However, natural conversation breaks the rule all of the time.
Native speakers of English have been arguing about this for over 200 years now.
In English it is common to leave a preposition at the end of a phrase or sentence like you have done in your examples. However, in the 1700s, some grammarians created grammar books that told English speakers not to do it. They wanted English to be more like Latin, which always moves the preposition to the beginning of phrases. So, over the years, people have been aware of the rule that says "Don't end a sentence with a preposition." However, this rule is not really a part of English, so most people don't apply this rule in their speech very often.
If you are writing for a professor who is very strict about following prescriptive grammar rules, you could move the prepositions forward. However, if you said any of these sentences to your friends, they would completely understand you and not think that anything was wrong. In fact, to many native speakers nowadays, the versions with the prepositions moved forward sound incorrect and stuffy. For example, I don't think any native speaker nowadays would say "From what is this soup made?" unless they were trying really hard.
I guess this is a pretty good example of how the grammar rules that are taught to native speakers are different from the grammar rules taught to non-native speakers. Non-native speakers like you know that native speakers often end phrases and sentences with prepositions, while native speakers are not really aware of this. So they think they're doing it "wrong" if they don't put the preposition at the beginning.
I don´t agree with learning Spanish.
I would also use "What's this knife for?", but it reminded me of the famous line attributed to Winston Churchill, and while searching for the quote "this is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put", I came across this link, which may be of interest.
Separate names with a comma.