Given the sentence

That boy is running to his mother.

How can this be turned into an object-related question?

  1. To whom is that boy running?
  2. Whom to is that boy running?
  • 2
    Not many people still bother with whom anyway (it's usually just who everywhere today). But it's also worth noting that since everyone now openly sneers at the pedantic Victorian pedant's rule about not ending a sentence with a preposition, most of us now put to at the end here. So the "natural" version today is Who is he running to? That's a slightly uncommon question anyway, but it's easy to establish the basic preference here by comparing Where are you going to? (standard) with To where are you going? (uncommon / dated / poetic). Dec 25 '20 at 22:36

I am not 100% sure I even understand the question. I am guessing it is

How would we turn the sentence “The boy was running to his mother” into a question if the boy’s goal was unknown?

If that is the gist of the question, then

To whom was the boy running

is fine, but

Whom to the boy was running

is totally wrong.

When the interrogative pronoun is the object of a preposition, the inversion into a question does not affect the normal order of the prepositional phrase.

  • 'To whom was the boy running' is fine in conversation if you want to be considered weird. Dec 26 '20 at 12:51

"To whom" because the fronted pronoun "whom" is preceded by the preposition.

The same pattern can been seen in other question forms:

The cat is sitting on the mat.

On what is the cat sitting?

In a sentence with a subject, direct object and indirect object, three questions can be formed:

John gave the ball to Peter.

To whom did John give the ball?

What did John give to Peter?

Who gave the ball to Peter?

But in standard, non-formal English, the question is constructed differently:

Who is that boy running to?

  • So, apart from in old-fashioned tests looking at archaic English, "To whom is that boy running?" sounds pompous / ridiculous (?) Dec 26 '20 at 12:50
  • Ask not for whom the bell tolls, Ask "Who is that bell tolling for?"
    – James K
    Dec 26 '20 at 14:11
  • Old-fashioned tests looking at archaic English. And archaic English. Dec 26 '20 at 15:15
  • And some people sound as though they do not know English. Dec 27 '20 at 0:51

You must log in to answer this question.