Whose car is that? [subject and object?]

yellow sun

Senior Member
Arabic
Hi all:
I want help to define each part of speech (subject, object....)for this question:
Whose car is that?
Thanks in advance.
 
  • Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Sorry, but that's a bit like doing homework. You'd need to make an attempt at each and we can then help you.

    But we are not allowed to just do what you are asking. There are many, many webpages on the internet to help you with this sort of thing.
     

    yellow sun

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    OK, I am sorry.
    I know :
    "is" :verb
    "whose": interrogative adjective.
    but the problem is "that" as it refers to "car" and I cant define subject from object.
    Thanks.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    "That" is just a demonstrative pronoun. We could, for instance, point to a car and say "Whose car is that?" as a shorthand way of saying "Whose car is that car?" But we could also point to a pile of wreckage where a grand piano has just fallen on a car and say "Whose car is that?" In other words, we don't have to mean "Whose car is that [pile of wreckage]?" or "Whose car is that [car]?"; we normally just mean "Whose car is that [thing we are pointing to]?"

    yellow sun, what kind of verb is "is"? Does it normally have subjects and objects?
     

    Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "That" is just a demonstrative pronoun.

    Are you sure about that? If the sentence was, "Whose is that?" I'd say it's a demonstrative pronoun. Since the sentence is, "Whose car is that?" I'd say it's a demonstrative adjective.

    The inverses being:

    "That is Steve's." (demonstrative pronoun)
    "That car is Steve's." (demonstrative adjective)
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    But it's not "Whose car is that car?" The sentence is "Whose car is that?" We don't actually know whether "that" means "that car" or "that one" or "that set of disassembled car parts."

    Since "that" could be anything I'm pointing to, it seems to me to be a pronoun and not an adjective (since no object is implied).
     

    Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    But it's not "Whose car is that car?" The sentence is "Whose car is that?" We don't actually know whether "that" means "that car" or "that one" or "that set of disassembled car parts."

    Since "that" could be anything I'm pointing to, it seems to me to be a pronoun and not an adjective (since no object is implied).

    Hmm, perhaps. I'm definitely sticking to adjective though since I'd infer it is indeed the car. Granted, you could be right if it were not the car being pointed out.
    Subsequently, didn't your example above allude to it being 'that car'? Unless I read it incorrectly?

    We are in agreement though, that if indeed the car were 'that' then it's an adjective, yeah?
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    I still don't think so, because we wouldn't say "My car is this" or "Steve's car is that." In other words, I don't think that demonstrative adjectives are normally used predicatively...

    I think we should maybe wait for a more expert grammarian.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    While waiting... I don't know if my point in post #9 was clear. We can certainly ask "Whose car is red?" and receive as an answer "Steve's car is red"; we couldn't answer "Red is Steve's car." But if we ask "Whose car is that?" we wouldn't answer "Steve's car is that" but instead "That's Steve's car." For that reason, I think that "that" is not an adjective, and therefore a noun, in the question "Whose car is that?"
     

    Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    While waiting... I don't know if my point in post #9 was clear. We can certainly ask "Whose car is red?" and receive as an answer "Steve's car is red"; we couldn't answer "Red is Steve's car." But if we ask "Whose car is that?" we wouldn't answer "Steve's car is that" but instead "That's Steve's car." For that reason, I think that "that" is not an adjective, and therefore a noun, in the question "Whose car is that?"

    But see, I feel that (following the structure I believe it to be) the retort would be, "That car is Steve's." I think you said it best when you said that the sentence requires more context. Either of our replies could be correct. It's just too bland of a basic sentence to conclude whether it's an adjective or a pronoun. (in my opinion).
    I could see instances where we are both right given the intention and context of 'that'.
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Whose car is that? - That is Steve's car.
    The subject in both sentences is "that".

    The sentence "Steve's car is that one" answers the question, "Which car is Steve's?"
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Let's not confuse two things.

    1. You can say anything in response to a question. If someone asks "Whose car is that?" you can say "That's Steve's car," or say "That car is Steve's," or "That one," or "This is Steve's car," or you could point to the car, or you could say "I'm not telling," or you could scream...

    2. We need to discuss the minimum transformation that turns a question into a statement and vice-versa. For that reason, I do agree with Einstein. "Steve's" replaces "whose" when we move from question to statement. The problem with going from "Whose car is that?" to "That car is Steve's" is that it breaks up the phrase "whose/Steve's car." As such it isn't the minimum​ transformation.
     

    Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I'm still confused as to how minimum transformation and the subject leads us to correctly observe whether 'that' is either a demonstrative pronoun or a demonstrative adjective.
    As you said, without further context or intent, neither can be proved nor disproved. Yes?
     
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    yellow sun

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Whose car is that? - That is Steve's car.
    The subject in both sentences is "that".
    Yes, Einstein and I have just found a link considers "that" as a subject and "whose" as a subject complement but I know that "whose" is a "demonstrative pronoun/adjective" so how could it be a subject complement.This is the paragraph from the previous link which we need:
    The question word can also be part of a subject complement, as in this example:
    A. Whose cup of coffee is this?
    B. It's mine.

    This question means, 'Who is the owner of this cup of coffee?' The question word 'whose' is part of a subject complement, 'whose cup of coffee'.
    'Is' is the verb and 'this' is the subject.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Look more carefully at what you've found. You say:
    a link considers "that" as a subject and "whose" as a subject complement but I know that "whose" is a "demonstrative pronoun/adjective" so how could it be a subject complement.
    But the link says:
    The question word 'whose' is part of a subject complement, 'whose cup of coffee'.
    You link does not say that "whose" is the subject complement; it says that "whose" is part of the subject complement "whose cup of coffee."

    In the original sentence ("Whose car is that?"), I agree wholeheartedly with this analysis. "Whose car" is the subject complement. ("Whose" is interrogative/possessive pronoun, forming part of the subject complement.) "Is" is the (linking) verb. "That" is the subject.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    If we make a change in the question structure like "whose is that car?" would it make any difference in the analysis?
    Well, yes, a bit. It makes it much easier to analyze. Because there's only one possible subject ("that car"). "Whose" is an interrogative possessive adjective, and in "that car" "that" is a demonstrative adjective modifying "car." So we would have:

    "that car" = subject (noun phrase made up of demonstrative adjective and noun)
    "is" = verb
    "whose" = subject-complement (adjective)
     
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