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By whom will the flower pot have been broken?

or

By whom the flower pot will have been broken?

I'm not clear about the structure, whether the auxiliary will should precede the subject the flower pot.

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  • Both are grammatically incorrect. On one hand you are using future indefinite tense and on the other future perfect tense. Doesn't make much sense. – user3382203 Mar 25 '17 at 19:21
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    @user3382203 No, the first example is perfectly grammatical. Like Chomsky's 'Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.' And, as is not the case with the Chomskian example, I could provide suitable context. Though I won't. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 25 '17 at 19:48
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    I'd like to know why the OP thinks the auxiliary would not precede the subject in a question. Subject-auxiliary inversion is a requirement for all questions except those wh-questions where the wh-word is the subject, which is not the case here. In addition, If you are going to question the agent, why use the passive? The passive is for when the agent is irrelevant or unknown; if you want to make a question out of it, use the active: Who will have broken the flower pot? (note that there is no inversion here, because who is the subject). – John Lawler Mar 25 '17 at 20:38
2

"Who will have broken the flowerpot" is less complicated than either.

2

Normally in questions whether active or passive, we invert the words to auxiliary + subject + verb order except in questions where the question words act as the subject.

So, the OP's correct sentence is "By whom will the flower pot have been broken?"

Who will have broken the flower pot? (Who is the subject; No inversion)

To ask about the doer of an action, questions in the active voice are usually used. Here the OP may be asking/wondering about the possibility of who might have broken the flower pot. In such cases, the conditional question forms can be used.

The flower pot has been broken. By whom would/could it have been broken?

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