In meaning of "in both varieties" I said

Does "both varieties" refer to BrE and AmE? If yes, they are varieties of what?

Simply, I could have said

BrE and AmE are varieties of what?

This seems grammatically incorrect.

How do I make it grammatically correct?

  • It is technically fine English. I personally would be happiest saying, "If yes, then what are they varieties of?". The rule about "dangling prepositions" was contrived to map English onto Latin (along with the rule about split infinitives); I have never bothered myself with it, and there's some controversy over whether it should be a real rule. May 30, 2020 at 11:32
  • But "If yes, then of what are they varieties?" is probably a less awkward "I refuse to dangle my prepositions" phrasing :) May 30, 2020 at 11:34
  • 1
    @MicahCowan Feel free to forget about that zombie rule. Read this, please. Here's a collection of other posts (by actual linguists) on that topic.
    – user3395
    May 30, 2020 at 18:17

1 Answer 1


That phrasing is okay, but it looks more like a quiz than a question. This kind of "fill in the blank" question with a statement structure (no inversion of the verb, no question word at the start) is sometimes used when you aren't actually asking a question, but you already know the answer and are testing the other person

A whale is a type of what. Is the answer "fish", "mammal" or "mollusc"?

So the usual phrasing is "What are they varieties of?" or "Of what are they varieties?" (The latter being more formal, but less common)

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