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Is it correct to say, "Where did you throw the ball?"?

I thought it was a very simple question to ask, but as I ran several Google searches (including ngram searches), just for precaution, I couldn't find the number of results I was expecting. And that made me wonder if the question might actually be grammatically incorrect.

To give some context. Imagine you're out in a park with your little children. You give them a ball to play with, and at some point, they return without it, so you ask them this question wondering if they threw the ball somewhere hidden, such as a bush. Is this the question you would ask them?

Or, if you want to use a slightly criticising tone,

"Where did you manage to throw the ball?"

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  • It is an ambiguous question, since it could be asking either (1) where the ball was thrown to or (2) where the thrower was standing when he threw it. Feb 4, 2021 at 15:09

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No, the question is entirely correct grammatically. If you were watching baseball, for example, and you didn't see where someone threw the ball, you might very well ask "where did he throw the ball?"

To be absolutely grammatically correct, you would ask "to where did he throw the ball?" But nowadays, you would much more often hear "where did he throw the ball to?" and even more often just "where did he throw the ball?" I mention this because the answer would always include the preposition: "he threw the ball to first base."

In your example, I would probably ask what happened to the ball or where the ball was, though. Maybe the kid dropped it somewhere, after all.

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Where did you throw the ball? is fine.

Where did you manage to throw the ball? suggests that you are asking how far the thrower was able to cast it.

Another typical way of asking is: Where did the ball go / land?

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