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When I want ask somebody what kind of person he (or she) isn't, which one between these is correct? Or are they interchangeable? I guess they are interchangeable.

A: "What kind of person are you not?"

B: "What kind of person aren't you?"

If you think we can't use either of them, please explain why we can't while we can say "What kind of person are you?". Also, if you think only one of them is correct please explain why we can use it while we can't use the other one.

  • They are both awkward questions, but I think A is worded more awkwardly than B. You could get away with B, but you'd want to put a heavy emphasis on the word aren't. – J.R. Jul 9 '18 at 22:22
  • @J.R. Thanks. If they are both awkward to you, can you recommend any alternative? I couldn't think of any alternative. – Fire and Ice Jul 9 '18 at 22:37
  • This one just came to mind: "What is the kind of person you are not?" Is this correct? – Fire and Ice Jul 9 '18 at 22:39
  • @J.R. You might want to emphasize person if the previous question was What kind of dog aren't you? This could be a party game for the truly stoned. You never know. Or this: I'm not a <garbled> person. -- What kind of person aren't you? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 10 '18 at 18:28
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In terms of syntax, your sentences aren't wrong. But they would never actually be said.

While it's true that we may ask What kind of person are you? we don't ask its direct opposite.

I can't say why we don't—except that we just don't.

The closest alternative phrasing I can think of, that might be asked, is:

What kind of person are you the least like?

Somebody could be asked this, for instance, as part of a personality study.

While uncommon, it's not something I would say is so uncommon as to be effectively never said.

  • Thanks. I think the sentence B is grammatically wrong. – Fire and Ice Jul 10 '18 at 0:01
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    @FireandIce Although the sentence itself sounds odd, there's nothing wrong with it from a strictly syntactic point of view . . . – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 10 '18 at 0:14
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    @FireandIce No, A and B are equally grammatical. They're confusing, though. You could equally ask someone "How old aren't you?" and although it wouldn't be ungrammatical, the person you're talking to might have trouble figuring out how to respond. – snailcar Jul 10 '18 at 0:23

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