“Who are you pregnant by?” or
“By whom are you pregnant?”

What is the best way of asking about the father of the child?

  • 2
    To be clear, are you asking about the difference between using "by whom" and "who... by" and paternity happens to be the example? Or do you really want ask about paternity in a natural way and these are your examples? Please try to include those kinds of details in your posts. – Em. Sep 19 '18 at 8:06
  • Related question: Somebody's wife got pregnant – ColleenV Sep 19 '18 at 13:43
  • @Em. I think that initially, my question was about the difference between by whom and who... by but other useful facts are very important anyway. – Aer Sep 19 '18 at 13:44
  • @Aer Sorry, I should have been clearer. I asked because your question was flagged as "unclear" and I am guessing that was the concern. The focus and goal of the question should be clear. So make sure to include more details, like the goal of your question, what you know, and other relevant information. See Details, Please. – Em. Sep 19 '18 at 21:52

Grammatically speaking, the “by whom” example is the so-called correct, formal one. However, the “who” example is the usual way people speak.

However, asking about paternity is a very touchy subject. You could easily offend the mother by asking this. In particular, your examples seem rather crude to me. If you think it is safe to talk about it, I think there are more idiomatic ways to ask. For example

Who is the father?
Who's the dad/daddy? (Casual)

If you insist on using a verb related to “pregnancy”, you could use impregnate

Who impregnated you?

  • impregnate
    2 Make (a woman or female animal) pregnant.
    ‘he was obliged to marry the woman he'd impregnated’

This is sounds rather forward and formal.

| improve this answer | |
  • Possibly rude to enquire about the paternity in any manner, unless you know the person really well or are a close relative. – Michael Harvey Sep 19 '18 at 10:25
  • 1
    I would say "impregnate" sounds clinical - like a doctor might ask a patient. Actually, a situation where there is a medical or legal reason to ask might be the only situation where asking a woman who the father of her unborn child is appropriate. – ColleenV Sep 19 '18 at 13:36
  • I'd say who knocked you up? but it could be rude or amusing depending on how you say it, and who you say it to. – Sara Sep 24 '18 at 3:06

Both sentences do not sound good or natural English to me. "Who got you pregnant?" would sound more natural English.

| improve this answer | |

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.