AppStore

Download our 100% free app

Find everything you need to learn English

Practice with the exercises:
Exercise 1

1. Question words with prepositions

Sometimes a question word in English needs a preposition to complete its meaning. In informal contexts, this preposition goes at the end of the interrogative sentence.
What are they talking about?
What are you laughing at?

2. How are question words with prepositions used?

In spoken English it is very common to end questions with the same preposition that would be used in the answer. Usually, the preposition is used according to:

  • A verb:
    Who is she waiting for?
    What is he looking at?

    In both examples the verb is followed by the preposition indicated also in affirmative and negative sentences.

  • An adjective:
    What was he famous for?
    What is your new book based on?
  • It can be part of the same question word. It has a specific meaning:
    What is this for?
    Where does this wine come from?

    In formal English the preposition can go before the question word:

    What school club are you in?
    In what school club are you?

    In the case of who, this will be changed to the question word "whom".

    Who did he speak to?
    To whom did he speak?
  • When we don't need to ask the whole question we can just use the question word followed by the preposition:
    - I'd like to talk to you.
    - What about? / What for?
    - I'm going to the Brazilian Carnival next month.
    - Who with?

Remember!

Sometimes a question word in English needs a preposition to complete its meaning. In informal contexts, this preposition goes at the end of the interrogative sentence.

Uses Examples
Depending on the verb Who does this suitcase belong to?
Depending on the adjective What are you good at?
Specific meaning What is the film about?
Short questions What about? What for? Where to? Who from?...

 

Share: