"What's sound is that?"

Vibrato

Banned
Greek
Hello. Can we use "what's" as a possessive pronoun like "whose"? For example let's say I heard like a car engine sound and I don't know what object that sound comes from. Can I use any of these:
"What's sound is that?",
"What does that sound come from?",
"From what does that sound come?" ,
"That sound comes from what?"


"What's" sounds kind of unusual to me actually.
 
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  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    No, there's no equivalent to "whose" for inanimates.

    Whose leg is that?
    Which table does this (table-)leg belong to?

    Where is that sound coming from?
    What is making that sound?
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    No, there's no equivalent to "whose" for inanimates.

    Whose leg is that?
    Which table does this (table-)leg belong to?

    Where is that sound coming from?
    What is making that sound?
    Thanks. My answers:
    1) I can't say "What's leg is that?" but I can say "What table's leg is that?", right?
    2)What about the other examples I gave? I am sure that the second one is correct, but what about the 3rd and the 4th one? I think those structures are not used a lot but they are usable, right?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "What's sound is that?" :cross:
    "What does that sound come from?"
    Unusual. Where is the sound coming from? It's coming from that old car.
    "From what does that sound come?" Unusual and stiff.
    "That sound comes from what?" Unusual, and a casual way of forming a question.

    What table's leg is that? :thumbsdown:

    Natural-sounding ways to express that:
    Which/what table is that leg from? Which table does that leg come from/belong to? Where does that table-leg belong/go?
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    "What's sound is that?" :cross:
    "What does that sound come from?"
    Unusual. Where is the sound coming from? It's coming from that old car.
    "From what does that sound come?" Unusual and stiff.
    "That sound comes from what?" Unusual, and a casual way of forming a question.

    What table's leg is that? :thumbsdown:

    Natural-sounding ways to express that:
    Which/what table is that leg from? Which table does that leg come from/belong to? Where does that table-leg belong/go?
    But "What table's"(What + something's) is a structure that can be used(like "What dog's collar is this?"), right? Also Those examples you called unusual are usable and understandable, right?
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    "What's sound is that?"==> What is making that sound?
    "What does that sound come from?"==> Where is that sound coming from?
    "From what does that sound come?"==> What is making that sound?
    "That sound comes from what?"==> What is making that sound?
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    "What's sound is that?"==> What is making that sound?
    "What does that sound come from?"==> Where is that sound coming from?
    "From what does that sound come?"==> What is making that sound?
    "That sound comes from what?"==> What is making that sound?
    Thanks. Aren't the structures in the last 2 sentences I gave grammatical? I think that they're grammatical.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    "From what does that sound come?" ,
    "That sound comes from what?"
    Thanks. Aren't the structures in the last 2 sentences I gave grammatical? I think that they're grammatical.
    Whose grammar are you using? Which set of grammar rules? I am not sure if a sentence can be "grammatical" and also be "not how people say it". Grammars are sets of rules that attempt to describe an actual language. If a sentence isn't acceptable to native speakers, while a grammar sets it is okay, then that grammar is inaccurate.

    But I'll repeat your question here, since you are the creator of this thread (we got sidetracked by "whence") and other people may have a clear answer for you.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "What does that sound come from?"
    "From what does that sound come?"
    "That sound comes from what?"
    None of those are acceptable alternatives to those we gave you. You were looking for a way to express "What's sound is that?", (by analogy with "Whose book is that"?) and you were told that we normally say "What's making that sound?" or "Where's that sound coming from?"

    "What does that sound come from?" would be used most likely to talk about a sound that is heard on repeated occasions.
    I hear a strange sound every morning at nine o'clock. Where does that sound come from? "What" is less likely to be used.

    The other two suggestions would be understood, but they don't sound natural so you may as well forget about them in your context.
     

    Vibrato

    Banned
    Greek
    None of those are acceptable alternatives to those we gave you. You were looking for a way to express "What's sound is that?", (by analogy with "Whose book is that"?) and you were told that we normally say "What's making that sound?" or "Where's that sound coming from?"

    "What does that sound come from?" would be used most likely to talk about a sound that is heard on repeated occasions.
    I hear a strange sound every morning at nine o'clock. Where does that sound come from? "What" is less likely to be used.

    The other two suggestions would be understood, but they don't sound natural so you may as well forget about them in your context.
    Okay. You are saying that the tense is wrong. Alright. :) My question is about the placement of the parts of a sentence. Let me ask this way:
    Aren't these correct:
    "From what is that sound coming?"
    "That sound is coming from what?"
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Aren't these correct:
    "From what is that sound coming?"
    "That sound is coming from what?"
    No, they are not 'correct' and I doubt you'd hear any native speaker using them. They might fit into some grammar model but that doesn't mean they are normal patterns of usage.

    I endorse #22 suggestions
    "Where's that sound coming from?"
    "What's making that noise?"
     
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