what fabric is it?

Avdotia

Senior Member
Russian
Hi, everybody!

What is the best way to ask a shop-assistant about material an item of clothing is made from? Which one (if any) is correct and natural:

1. What's the fabric?
2. What fabric/material is it made from?
3. What fabric/material is it?

Thank you!
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    All three should work, Avdotia. If you're not in a really big hurry, I think #2 is the clearest question. "From" is understandable, but "of" sounds a little more idiomatic to me: What fabric is it made of?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    All three should work, Avdotia. If you're not in a really big hurry, I think #2 is the clearest question. "From" is understandable, but "of" sounds a little more idiomatic to me: What fabric is it made of?
    I'd say that more strongly. Use of if you are thinking of the material (made of metal, made of cotton, etc) and from if you are thinking of objects (made from an old shirt etc).

    I'd probably give a guess to ask the question: 'Is this pure linen?' Otherwise, 'What's the material?'
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    'What's it made of?' sounds more natural to me too, having said it to myself a hundred times.

    I agree with nat's distinction.
    "They were so poor that her school blouses were made from her dead father's shirts" We could say 'made out of' here.
    "Those shirts were made of cotton". We can put cotton as an adjective before shirts. I think that if you can do that you would use of not from.

    'Cotton shirts' but not 'father's shirt school blouses'. However I don't know if that's much help unless your English is good enough to realise that the latter is not feasible.

    "This wonderful sculpture is made of a mixture of metals from bicycle parts".
     
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