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Answer: My second son has good knowledge.

So how to question some one which son (first,second, ...)? Is below sentence correct for the above answer? It's not correct as per me!

Which/what numbered son of you has good knowledge?

  • Just as a comment: Idiomatically, for me, I probably would have just said, "Which of your sons is the most knowledgeable?" We normally would not address birth order like this so blatantly (anymore). Plus, we would not use "knowledge" in this way (except maybe on a resume?). But I know this is a cultural thing because I'm part of another culture which does emphasize birth order like this, so feel free to ignore my comment if it works for you :D. – Teacher KSHuang Mar 17 '17 at 8:14
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    @TeacherKSHuang, I would sort of expect the answer to your proposed question to be "The smart one." :-) – fixer1234 Mar 17 '17 at 8:19
  • Oh, I see in your comments below that you specifically do want to bring up the birth order in the question, in which case, it would probably have to be asked separately, "Which of your sons is the most knowledgeable and what is his birth order?" – Teacher KSHuang Mar 17 '17 at 8:23
  • @fixer1234, heh, I can see what you mean :). In which case, as the initiator, I would respond, "Duh" :D. – Teacher KSHuang Mar 17 '17 at 8:24
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In the US, people don't typically refer to their children in terms of numerical birth order. The more common reference would be oldest, youngest, and middle. It's relatively unusual for families to have more than three children of a specific gender, so that's usually adequate. Even that distinction may or may not be volunteered.

You could construct a question to elicit the information, like "What is the birth order of the son with the most knowledge?", but it would seem like a very strange question. The natural way to get the information would be with two questions; the second in case the information wasn't volunteered in response to the first.

The first could be something like, "Which of your sons is the most knowledgeable?" The answer would likely be something like either, "That would be John", or "That would be my oldest son, John." (Of course you could always get an answer like, "All my sons are dumber than a sack of rocks.")

If the answer was like the first example, the next question would be some coaxing, like "Is he your oldest?" The response would typically be either confirmation or correction. If you were talking with somebody who was not the sharing type, you might get just "Nope." Social graces of going through this "dance" to get information results in it being an arduous process often enough to have its own expression: that getting the information "is like pulling teeth."

If you initially asked something like, "Would you say your oldest son is the most knowledgeable?", you might luck out with a yes. But if that was not the right answer, there's no guarantee of what information you would get in a response (essentially the same situation as the first question, above).

Trying to directly ask for birth order as a qualifier on another question is just culturally strange, so you could create a question to do it, but it would likely be perceived as odd, at least in conversation. The reaction might be different if it was on some type of form that was collecting information for some official purpose or survey.

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The simplest form of asking that question is:

Which of your sons has good knowledge?

  • but with this questions , answer can be particular son, for ex marco has good knowledge,,,,,, here number wont be ther in question ( is it possible to include nth son in question ?) – mohan maruthi Mar 17 '17 at 7:27
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    Hmm, I'm not sure there's a convenient way to frame a question like that. Usually, if the questioner and questioned know one another, then the questioned is likely to respond with a child's name, as the questioner knows whether that child is the oldest, middle, etc. On the other hand, if the questioned knows that the questioner doesn't know the children, they are likely to respond "Marco, my second son, has good knowledge...". – Phylyp Mar 17 '17 at 7:34

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