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Let's say my friend is eating a vegetable salad, It looks good so I want to what are the vegetables in it, Can I ask

What(the vegetable) does this(the salad) have most?

similarly

What does this movie have better, the script or the direction?

Does this construct sound weird to native speakers?

  • 2nd sentence is sounding very weird to me. I guess we just ask what is better, scipt or direction? and not what does this have better. – Ramit Sep 23 '13 at 18:17
  • In first sentence, I guess, we should add a the before most. – Ramit Sep 23 '13 at 18:23
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Both of the example sentences are ungrammatical.

Instead, these two will work:

What vegetable has this salad got the most of?

What does this movie have: better script or better direction?

However, I think both would benefit from using "is" instead of "has" because the focus is on a single ingredient, not on the whole. I think that's what's causing you to need these complex expressions, which are hard even for natives to get right. Compare these two:

What is the main vegetable in this salad?

In this movie, which is better: the script or the direction?

  • +1 for your last two revised sentences especially; those are far more natural ways to express this. – WendiKidd Sep 23 '13 at 22:13
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In the first question, you are asking about the ingredients of a salad. If you are specifically interested in the relative proportions of one vegetable over others, you would probably have to be pretty specific. You'll also want to make sure to pair “most” with “of” in these situations, and introduce it with the definite article.

For example:

Ж What vegetable does that salad have the most of?

It's pretty awkward, but could be understood.

A native speaker might instead ask:

What's the main (or primary) vegetable in that salad?

If you just want a summary of the ingredients (“I want to [know] what [...] vegetables [are] in it”), then a good construction would simply be:

What's in that?


Your second example is a little more difficult to evaluate. It is certainly not common to say it that way, but the construction isn't the only problem. “Better” is not a good parallel of “most”, and qualitative evaluations are generally going to go a little different from questions of quantity.

These two are grammatical, but awkward:

Ж What is there (the) most of in that salad?

and, as closely parallel as possible:

Ж What is there better of in the movie, writing or directing?

The latter is especially awkward.

You'd be better off saying this:

What was better, the script or the directing? (= Which did you like better, the script or the directing?)


Not sure I've really addressed what you're looking for here. The short answer is “yes, that sounds weird to me as a native speaker”. Feel free to add examples or ask follow-up questions.


In the answer above, a Ж ('Zhe') indicates an awkward construction that should be avoided.

  • 1
    I don't think most native speakers would accept "*What is there better of in the movie, writing or directing" as proper English at all. – Greg Hullender Sep 23 '13 at 18:48
  • @GregHullender Nor do I, hence “especially awkward” and the suggested alternative. It's technically grammatical, though. I had hoped to shoehorn what I consider to be a more complicated, less applicable example into the format seemingly proposed by the question (esp. the title) in an effort to make a more generalizable point about these sorts of constructions. – Tyler James Young Sep 23 '13 at 18:53
  • I'll edit my answer to more clearly indicate that not all yellow boxes are viable as alternative phrasings. – Tyler James Young Sep 23 '13 at 19:05
  • @GregHullender If that's your downvote I see, is there anything more I could change to undo it? From your answer, it would seem that you completely agree with what I've said here. – Tyler James Young Sep 23 '13 at 19:22
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    Please don't take it personally. :-) I just have a rule that whenever I see any post that I believe directs non-native speakers toward bad grammar, I always mark it down, no matter what any of the rest of the content was. Your post has a sentence marked "especially awkward" but which I think is flat-out ungrammatical (linguists would say "not English.") Actually, putting my linguist hat back on, do you really use "*What is there better of" instead of "which is best" in your own speech?" Do you live somewhere where this expression is actually in common use? – Greg Hullender Sep 23 '13 at 20:13

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