Monday, March 16, 2009

Where To?

Here’s one I’m not totally sure about.

The headline Where the $40 million went to (Sunday Times Lifestyle, 15 March 2009) sounds non-standard to me; my preference would have been What the $40 million went to or simply Where the $40 million went.

Perhaps this is because what is an interrogative pronoun and hence typically stands in for a noun, e.g. to school (to + what?).

On the other hand, where is an interrogative adverb; hence to school (= to + what?) is an adverbial that answers a where? question.

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