attribute something to somebody/something
If "To what" was "adverb phrase", which "adverb phrase" would it be? Is it adverb of reason?To what do you attribute your longevity?
He attributed her success a torrent of perdurable spite at having left her for another sultan of sex. (I.e., He felt her success was motivated by the enduring spite she had for him for having left her for another woman.)You attribute something your longevity?
I don't consider "attribute" to be in the "give" class of verbs.
Attributing something to something else is similar to blaming something on something else, but the meaning is positive rather than negative.
The substitution doesn't really bother me here either, since the object of "to" is inanimate.If so, then one should be able to perform the following substitution and retain the original meaning:
To what do I owe the honor of this visit?
Whereto do I owe the honor of this visit?
I owe honor to something (= ind. object)
I was calling "to what" an adverbial prepositional phrase, not "what" alone.Ok, I'll agree with this last point about attribute requiring "to." Fair enough.
However, I still await justification as to how "what" is adverb.
I attribute my success to years of hard work.
To what do you attribute your success? Years of hard work.
How does one substitute an adverb for this elliptical response?