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Can this phrase "who is going to do what" be used in English? For example can I say "The teacher wanted me to write down who is going to do what in the next week's class" or "The teacher wanted me to write down what student is going to do what in the next week's class"?

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Both are correct:

"The teacher wanted me to write down who is going to do what in the next week's class"

This can be taken as a vague statement, as "who" could include everyone; like the Teacher and the subject doing the writing.

"The teacher wanted me to write down what student is going to do what in the next week's class"

This is more specific, as you have stated "what student", so we definitely know who you are talking about. You could improve the specificity by expanding the second what statement.

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  • Thanks. Based on the context, if I say "who" instead of "what student", I can still be understood, right? I am talking about a situation where the teacher had me write the assignment topics of the students. – Fire and Ice Feb 16 '18 at 14:09
  • Yes, you will be understood. The who, what, where, why, when - if most of those are in your statement, then you will be fine. – Ugh_tC Feb 16 '18 at 14:54
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    Note that what or which student explicitly includes the relevant noun which is normally only implicit. Exactly the same applies to which student is going to do which/what exercise next week. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 16 '18 at 15:01
  • Since I am writing down the assignments of the people in the class, not only one person's, isn't it better if I say "The teacher wanted me to write down who are(what students are) going to do what in the next week's class" instead of "The teacher wanted me to write down who(what student is) is going to do what in the next week's class"? – Fire and Ice Feb 16 '18 at 18:03
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    A classic (extremely un-PC) limerick goes, "A queer and a dyke in Khartoum/Decided to rent them a room./But they spent the whole night/In a terrible fight/As to who would what and to whom." – WhatRoughBeast Jan 16 '19 at 19:51

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