1

I wrote:

What was like the relation between Greeks and Persians before W happened.

Is "What was like" correct?

  • "What was like" is conceivable in other contexts, but I don't understand what you would mean by it here. Note that "like" can be construed as an adverb used as parenthetic filler material, but that is non-standard and I'm sure you wouldn't want to use it in an informational context. – Robusto Sep 17 '17 at 15:08
  • @rob I meant a general description of the relation between two nations. – Ahmad Sep 17 '17 at 15:56
1

You may be wanting to ask...

What was the relationship between the Greeks and the Persians like before W happened?

This question could be twisted into a command like...

Describe the relationship between the Greeks and Persians before W happened.


Technically, however, your sentence is correct as-is, if you use a question mark.

What was like the relation between Greeks and Persians before W happened?

As other have pointed out, however, the way that you are phrasing the question sounds kind of weird. In the context of a riddle, your sentence might be okay, but otherwise you may want to provide more background information. Maybe try something like...

Before W happened, relations between the Greeks and Persians was characterized by X, Y, and Z. Do you know of any other pair of nations, from any period in history, whose relationship was also characterized by X, Y, and Z?

  • 1
    I suggest you mention the intended wording first, then the way to make a technically correct reading of the sentence after, to avoid confusion... – Luke Sawczak Sep 18 '17 at 1:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.