about who: Have you heard about who Taylor Swift is going out with?

loviii

Senior Member
russian
Good day!

forum.wordreference.com:
(1) Have you heard who Taylor Swift is going out with?

My remade sentence with "about":
(2) Have you heard about who Taylor Swift is going out with?

(2) is incorrect, right? (But if "about who" is still correct here, then could you tell me why?)

Thanks!
 
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  • reno33

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    1- Have you heard who T.S. is going out with? = asks if anyone knows who she's going out with. Possible answers: (I don't know) (I haven't heard) (It's with Tom) etc etc.

    2- Have you heard about who T.S. is going out with? = focuses on her date but asks about his background (about) rather than who it is that she's going out with.....(everyone already knows who he is).
    Possible answers: (Yes, I've heard about him. He was in prison for 10 years for kidnapping) (Yes, he was a former disgraced spy for MI6.) (Yes, he is a renown cancer specialist) etc etc.

    So no, your (2) is not incorrect....it's just a little difficult to understand what is really being asked.
     

    loviii

    Senior Member
    russian
    2- Have you heard about who T.S. is going out with? = focuses on her date but asks about his background (about) rather than who it is that she's going out with.....(everyone already knows who he is).
    Is it grammatical if we join two prepositions together?:
    Have you heard about with whom Taylor Swift is going out?

    Thanks!
     

    SimonTsai

    Senior Member
    Taiwanese Mandarin
    I am unsure of whether it is natural, but it is compliant with any rules that I know.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Have you heard about with whom Taylor Swift is going out?
    In AE, nobody says "with whom", much less says it while omitting 2 words before it:

    Have you heard about the person with whom Taylor Swift is going out?

    In AE this sentence is:

    Have you heard about the person Taylor Swift is going out with?
     

    loviii

    Senior Member
    russian
    In AE, nobody says "with whom"
    Ok, then, could you tell me about the next ones? Can uniting the prepositions together be grammatical?
    Do you know about with what sauce we must mix these ingredients?
    Have you heard about with which team we will play the next game?

    Thanks!
     

    reno33

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Ok, then, could you tell me about the next ones? Can uniting the prepositions together be grammatical?
    Do you know about with what sauce we must mix these ingredients?
    Have you heard about with which team we will play the next game?
    Is it "ungrammatical"? I don't think grammar treats the issue of the uniting of two prepositions, so it's out of its realm and the question has no meaning.

    But your two sentences are definitely incorrect not for "grammar" but because the term "about" is redundant and totally unnecessary.....so it's a question of word choice and structure. Your two sentences are not wrong because they are breaking a grammatical rule....they're wrong because they are not English.....they're English words, but not English structure.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Ok, then, could you tell me about the next ones? Can uniting the prepositions together be grammatical?
    Do you know about with what sauce we must mix these ingredients?
    Have you heard about with which team we will play the next game?

    Thanks!
    Your question is too simplistic. But in basic terms, the answer is "No. Prepositions do not combine"

    One preposition one object..
    "Take the cakes.....out...........of..............the oven."
    .........................adverb preposition

    He took the cup........off.................of.............the shelf. (of is not required)
    .........................preposition preposition.................... (substandard/colloquial/regional)

    He put the money into the bank -> you can argue that into = in to but this is a misunderstanding of the history of the grammatical cases in English.
     

    loviii

    Senior Member
    russian
    One preposition one object
    This rule works here:
    Do you know about with what sauce we must mix these ingredients?
    Have you heard about with which team we will play the next game?

    Object of "about" is the whole noun clause after it in both sentences.
    Object of "with" is "what sauce" and "which team".
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The wh-clause in those impossible examples is an indirect question, but the construction with 'about' requires a noun phrase, or an independent relative clause acting one. The same restriction is there when it's a subject:

    Her boyfriend is a mystery.
    Who she's going out with is a mystery.

    What sauce we use for this is not written down here.
    What sauce we mix these ingredients with is not written down here.
    :cross:With what sauce we mix these ingredients is not written down here.

    That final kind, beginning with a preposition, can't be used as a subject, nor as the object of another preposition.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The one with 'by whom' is marginal, but I admit it sounds less bad than some others. I don't know what's going on with these in that case. The simplest examples such as 'by whom', 'to whom', 'for whom' do seem to be grammatical in a subject, though no-one would ever say them (but they might be used in writing). Others like 'about whom', 'through whom', and any with 'what', are quite impossible.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This is my two penn’orth… As with lovii’s other current thread (food, <of> which we could ask the seller (about) the cost <of>, ...), whether or not you consider them to have broken any grammar rules, none of those bastardised sentences reflect how these things are said or written in standard English. The constructions we all use are:

    Have you heard who/what/where/when/why/which/whether/if/how [+ clause] :tick:
    Did you know that [+ clause] :tick:
    Constructions like this sound like they’ve been made up as a joke:
    Do you know about with what sauce we must mix these ingredients? :eek:
    Have you heard about with which team we will play the next game? :eek:
    Bastardize: Change (something) in such a way as to lower its quality or value, typically by adding new elements.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    By whom it was constructed remains a mystery.
    This is a passive sentence. By whom is an adverbial prepositional phrase indicating the agent of the verb. The subject is "it".

    The active form is "Who constructed it remains a mystery" -> Who it was who constructed it remains a mystery -> He who constructed it remains a mystery -
    He who constructed it
    is a substantive clause.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The marginal 'by whom' etc. examples become even worse when used as objects:

    :thumbsdown: By whom it was built remains a mystery.
    :cross:We're arguing about by whom it was built.
     

    loviii

    Senior Member
    russian
    ........with..........what sauce must we mix these ingredients? is a prepositional clause
    [preposition] + [......................noun clause......................]
    If we invert the preposition and the clause, will you also consider them separately as the preposition and the prepositional clause?

    I mean, do you parse the next sentence:
    Do you know (about) what sauce we must mix these ingredients with?
    as:
    "what sauce we must mix these ingredients" is the prepositional clause (in the given case it's the noun clause)
    and
    "with" is the preposition?

    Thanks!
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Do you know (about) what sauce we must mix these ingredients with?
    =
    Do you know (about)..........with.........which sauce.... we must mix these ingredients?
    .....................................preposition....noun phrase...
    ....................................[.........adverbial modifier......]
     

    loviii

    Senior Member
    russian
    Do you know (about) what sauce we must mix these ingredients with?
    =
    Do you know (about)..........with.........which sauce.... we must mix these ingredients?
    The sign of the equality means that in both cases the noun clause is the prepositional clause, the clause of the preposition "with", right?

    Thanks!
     

    reno33

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    lingobingo said:
    Do you know about with what sauce we must mix these ingredients? :eek:Have you heard about with which team we will play the next game? :eek:
    Elroy said : As far as I’m concerned, both of these are wrong in English.:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Not only are they wrong. As I used to tell my students: "They're not even English" The two sentences show a complete misunderstanding of how prepositions work in English (a fundamental requirement for understanding how English really works).
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    In AE, nobody says "with whom",
    Given the right circumstances, there are lots of people who speak AE say "with whom". For example, I would find the sentence "The workers with whom I discussed the plan all thought it was a good idea" entirely natural. That being said, I agree that the Taylor Swift sentences that were proposed by lovii are not natural.

    I think part of loviii's difficulty is based on not understanding the difference between know and know about, along with confusion about word order and when to use the definite article. For example, both "Do you know what sauce we must mix with these ingredients?" and "Do you know about the sauce we must mix with these ingredients?" could make sense -- for example, the answer to the first question might be "Hollandaise sauce", and to the second the answer might be "yes, it's made with egg yolks whisked into melted butter" -- but they do not use the same words, or the same word order, and do not mean the same things.
     
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