I know that the next sentence is correct:

What are you going to use it for?

But I was wondering if the following one would be correct as well:

For what are you going to use it?

I had a conversation with my friend where he had noticed my wrong use of the second sentence. Was his remark right?

  • First, "going to use it". Second, be idiomatic not idiosyncratic. – Michael Login Aug 15 '17 at 17:21
  • @MvLog, I am not a native speaker, so I don't know which way is idiomatic – Andrew Tobilko Aug 15 '17 at 18:00
  • You asked essentially the same question before. The normal way of saying it is the former. – user3395 Aug 15 '17 at 18:15
  • @userr2684291, is the second sentence grammatically correct? – Andrew Tobilko Aug 15 '17 at 18:24
  • 1
    Yes, it is, but it sounds very formal indeed. Michael Swan: In a more formal style, a preposition is often put earlier in questions and relative structures, before the question word or relative pronoun. With whom did she go? Even in a very formal style, prepositions are not often put at the beginning of questions which have be as the main verb. Who is it for, madam? (NOT For whom is it?) – Michael Login Aug 15 '17 at 19:05

This one is a bit interesting. In super-duper-perfect grammarian's English, the second sentence would be the only correct sentence, as it's technically incorrect to end a sentence with a conjunction or preposition. As MvLog pointed out, this rule is dated and archaic, so few people strictly adhere to it.

In addition, pretty much everyone who speaks English would use your first sentence. It just sounds more natural.

So to sum up: the first one sounds the best (and is the one you should use), while the second is technically grammatically correct.

| improve this answer | |
  • for is a preposition here – Michael Login Aug 15 '17 at 18:38
  • @MvLog That it is. Post edited. – A. Galloway Aug 15 '17 at 18:40
  • 1
    From Garner's Modern American Usage 3rd Ed. The spurious rule about not ending sentences with prepositions is a remnant of Latin grammar, in which a preposition was the one word that a writer could not end a sentence with. Winston Churchill’s witticism about the absurdity of this bugaboo should have laid it to rest. When someone once upbraided him for ending a sentence with a preposition, he rejoined, “That is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I shall not put.” Avoiding a preposition at the end of the sentence sometimes leads to just such a preposterous monstrosity. – Michael Login Aug 15 '17 at 18:46
  • @MvLog Thanks for the additional info. I've edited again accordingly – A. Galloway Aug 15 '17 at 18:52
  • @MvLog Most likely a misattribution: itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001715.html – user3395 Aug 15 '17 at 18:54

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