What colour (of) ...? [hat / iPhone]

Nymeria

Senior Member
English - Barbadian/British/educated in US universities blend
I would say,
"What colour hat did Jane buy?"
"What colour is the hat that Jane bought?"
"What is the colour of the hat that Jane bought?"

I would NEVER say,
"What colour of hat did Jane buy?

and I'd be so alarmed if anyone said it to me that I would forget all about Jane's hat.
 
  • Basil Ganglia

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Jane bought a red hat.

    If I want to ask the colour of the hat, which below question is correct? If none, how do I ask the question?

    What colour hat did Jane buy?
    What colour is the hat that Jane bought?

    Thanks a lot.
    Weighing in as a native speaker of US English in the central and western States -----

    either sentence is correct and both are commonly used. I prefer (and use) the second option. To me the first sentence is missing an "of" ("What color of hat ..."). But when I insert "of" it still sounds wrong, so I avoid that form and it grates on me when I hear it stated as in the first option (regardless of whether that version does or does not include the "of").
     
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    Nymeria

    Senior Member
    English - Barbadian/British/educated in US universities blend
    I know this structure, with of, sounds strange, but in reality it very rarely happens. The concept, the grammatical structure, is completely alien to me.

    If we are talking about shoes - what size do you take?
    If we are talking about something completely different and I have a sudden urge to ask about shoe size - what is your shoe size?

    Eye colour?
    What colour eyes do you have :eek:
    What colour are your eyes? :tick:

    I am much more likely to say, "What colour eyes do you have?" than "What colour are your eyes?" actually.
     

    johndot

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In English you ask: what color, what kind of music... (cfu507, post#54)

    No, I wouldn’t, cfu507; in English I would ask “Which colour would you like (me to buy for you)?” but “What colour is it (the new hat you just bought)?”

    There’s a difference between asking someone to make a selection, and asking someone to state information. Surely this aspect is common in all four quarters?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    In English you ask: what color, what kind of music... (cfu507, post#54)

    No, I wouldn’t, cfu507; in English I would ask “Which colour would you like (me to buy for you)?” but “What colour is it (the new hat you just bought)?”

    There’s a difference between asking someone to make a selection, and asking someone to state information. Surely this aspect is common in all four quarters?

    This is a new and interesting point.

    However, all the previous discussion has concerned queries about choices already made (as in your second example), and I believe that cfu's response was made in that context.
     

    johndot

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This is a new and interesting point.
    However, all the previous discussion has concerned queries about choices already made (as in your second example), and I believe that cfu's response was made in that context.
    (Cagey, post #56)

    Yes, Cagey, I realised that—but I didn’t want the rather bald statement “In English you ask: what color, what kind of music...” to mislead others.
     

    kitenok

    Senior Member
    Interestingly enough, although the OED made no allowance for colo(u)r followed immediately by a noun, it does so for size, and has examples back to 1769:
    11b. Used ellipt. with a n. following...
    1769... Eng. Housekpr. 41 Cut your sturgeon into what size pieces you please...
     

    KON

    Senior Member
    Can one also say "What hat size" or "what hat colour"?

    I am asking this because when you go into a shop and ask for a pair of shoes, the shop assistant usually asks: "what's your shoe size"?
     

    Drake Solo

    New Member
    Irish
    < This new question has been added to a previous thread. Cagey, moderator >

    Which color iPhone did you get ?
    I got the red one .

    Is this way of asking about the color of something grammatical correct?

    Can I ask other things besides colors .... Like brands for example

    What brand phone should I buy ?
    You should buy a Samsung phone
     
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    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    What/Which color iPhone did you get?
    I got the red one.

    What/Which brand of phone should I buy?
    You should buy a Samsung (phone).


    Note that we do not leave a space before ending punctuation.
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    What/Which color iPhone did you get?
    I got the red one.

    :eek: I know that this kind of question is common - and clear enough for that matter -, but would you really consider it grammatical?
    I doubt it because 'color iPhone' is not a valid sensible compound noun.

    I'd say the grammatical textbook version of this question should be something like "In what color did you get your iPhone?"
     
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    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'd say the grammatical textbook version of this question should be something like "In what color did you get your iPhone?"
    Like Copyright, I deal in 'usage', not in 'grammar', and I have to say that "In what color did you get your iPhone?" is not something that a native speaker would say. There's absolutely nothing wrong with "What color iPhone did you get?" If grammar is descriptive rather than prescriptive, it will find a category for "What color iPhone did you get?"
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    :eek: I know that this kind of question is common - and clear enough for that matter -, but would you really consider it grammatical?
    I doubt it because 'color iPhone' is not a valid sensible compound noun.
    You might like to look at this previous thread:
    [What colour (of) hat did Jane buy?]< Threads merged. Cagey, moderator >
    I'd say the grammatical textbook version of this question should be something like "In what color did you get your iPhone?"
    Like sound shift, I find this quite odd and certainly non-native.
     
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    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Colour iPhone' is not a compound noun; the structure of 'what colour iPhone' (do you mind if I revert to phones, things I know more about?) is that 'what colour' is an adjective-like modifier of 'phone'. If I ask 'what colour did you buy?', I'm not suggesting you bought a colour. It still has adjective-like use here. We can combine two such modifiers: 'What size and what colour phone did you buy?'

    Contrast: Which colour television did you buy? (which colour was the television?) v. Which colour television did you buy? (which was the colour television?) The intonation is a bit different, marking the different structures.
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    You might like to look at this previous thread:
    [What colour (of) hat did Jane buy?]. < Now merged. Scroll to top. Cagey, moderator >

    Thanks for this! I just skimmed through it, and it seems that also some native speakers are not entirely happy with that type of construction.
     
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    DonnyB

    Member Emeritus
    English UK Southern Standard English
    :eek: I know that this kind of question is common - and clear enough for that matter -, but would you really consider it grammatical?
    I doubt it because 'color iPhone' is not a valid sensible compound noun.
    I suspect it should be "What colour of phone did you buy?" in the same way as the OP's parallel example of "What brand of phone did you buy?" (or What size/type of phone...etc).

    But in ordinary everyday BE, "What colour phone..." is very common and idiomatic. :)
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Thanks for this! I just skimmed through it, and it seems that also some native speakers are not entirely happy with that type of construction.
    And to be fair, others are. You also have to look at AE versus BE. The thread deserves more than a skim.
     
    Sorry, you are mistaken.

    We only use "in" in constructions when merchants describe categories (colors, sizes, patterns, prices, etc.) of their products which are available:

    EX:

    "The phone comes in black only. Its case comes in black, red, or purple."

    English frequently drops certain words, particularly prepositions which are understood, so not necessary to utter, and we can do the same for articles:

    "What/Which color (of)(the) phone did you get?" That is a completely grammatical sentence.

    I agree with other posters that your "in what color did you get your phone" is not idiomatic.

    (cross-posted with others)
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    "Of" after "color" seems optional in the first sentence. I'd definitely use "of" after "brand": Which brand of phone should I buy? "Which brand phone?" sounds odd and incomplete.
     
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