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I am wondering what the object question for this sentence would be:

They are talking behind someone's back.

The question should ask about the person whom they are talking behind their back.

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  • It seems I can't get any answer here. Is there any other forum I might be able to get an answer?
    – Mai Temp
    Dec 1, 2017 at 19:49
  • 'They are talking about Fred behind his back' would not be given in response to a question lacking more context. It might follow 'Why are they whispering over there?' / 'Why are you so annoyed with them?' / 'What are the gossips up to this week?' But there is no idiomatic question like 'Who are they talking about in a behind-the-back way?' or 'Who are they talking about behind their back?' Dec 2, 2017 at 1:53

1 Answer 1

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  • Change the noun to a query pronoun: 'someone' -> 'whom' ('who' is for subjects)

  • Note that the noun is possessive (someone's): 'whom' (or 'who') -> 'whose'

  • Transpose the subject and verb to form a question: 'they are' -> 'are they' (if the verb is lexical you will need to split it into an auxiliary verb and an infinite verb, and only transpose the first auxiliary: 'they ate' -> 'they did eat' -> 'did they eat', etc.)

  • Try to front the query noun phrase ('whose back') or the phrase that contains it ('behind whose back') {since some grammarians don't like dangling prepositions}

"Whose back are they talking behind?" or "Behind whose back are they talking?"

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  • The problem is with "behind" and "back". I know that we need to have the preposition at the end of the question, but I am not sure how in this case. And this is not for a test.
    – Mai Temp
    Dec 1, 2017 at 8:17

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