What ... for? / Where ... for?

tigerduck

Senior Member
German / Switzerland
Hello

My students had to ask for the underlined part in the following statement:

We're going to buy new laptops for the office.

I wanted them to write:

What are we going to buy new laptops for?

However, one student wrote:

Where are we going to buy new laptops for?

My question is whether where ... for? is also correct.
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes. The office is a place. I'd argue that "what" is less correct than "where" in idiomatic English and is grammatically wrong.

    The answer to "What are we going to buy new laptops for?" Should be "We're going to buy new laptops to use in the office."
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Where are we going to buy new laptops for? is acceptable in casual speech, but it's a bit awkward because "where" and "for" are too far apart and at first the sentence seems to read as "Where (in which store) are we going to buy new laptops...".

    We're going to buy new laptops for the office.
    Where are they for, those new laptops we're buying?
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Where are we going to buy new laptops for? is acceptable in casual speech
    And what about non-casual spoken and written English? It's grammatically correct. Any alternative is stiff (For where are we going to buy new laptops?) or longer. "Where are they for, those new laptops we're buying?" seems pretty casual, but it is idiomatic.
     
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