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In this sentence

"I am absolutely determined — and I've spent a great deal of time and energy on this in the four months that I've been CIA director — to get to the bottom of the question of what and who caused this," Burns said.

Can I just say ~ to the bottom of the question what ~ ? Why should I use "of" between noun and noun. if so, what grammar should I study in order to learn "noun + prepositon(of?) + noun Thank you

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  • I think your final question, "what grammar should I study in order to learn "noun + prepositon(of?) + noun" is too broad to be answered here. There are about 150 prepositions in English, and many of them have multiple meanings.
    – stangdon
    Jul 23, 2021 at 0:12
  • Yes, you can. The preposition is optional.
    – BillJ
    Jul 23, 2021 at 7:31

1 Answer 1

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Just saying "...to get to the bottom of the question what and who caused this", without the of, is unidiomatic even if it's understandable. The only way I can think to make it sound right without of is to make it into a direct quotation:

...to get to the bottom of the question "what and who caused this?"

The question of X is such a common stock phrase that any change to it is going to look very strange.

Of in this sentence means one of its normal meanings:

5a : relating to : about

It's not just any question, it's the question relating to this particular thing.

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