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I'm explaining how to play a game and there's a part I'm not sure if it's ok or not. Can you say the following?:

"...everyone will be sitting in a semicircle, (each end will receive an object) and they must ask and answer the same thing (about the object given), coming back to the beginning (of the semicircle) with the question (about the object) and returning with the answer through each student up to the last one who asked...it'll get to a point in which both objects are being asked and answered about and students are confused about who's asking what and answering whom and so on...

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    No, you can't do that. If you've got two verbs and they either take different prepositions or one verb needs a preposition and the other doesn't, you must explicitly put each preposition immediately after the verb it goes with. Syntactically, it would be fine to write both objects are being answered and asked about... - but that version is "awkward" because asking naturally precedes answering in the real world. So you have to write both objects are being asked about and answered... Oct 11, 2023 at 16:31
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    Sometimes if the two verbs take different prepositions, people discard the first preposition entirely in such context (for example, Data can be imported and exported from the application, discarding to after imported). But you might lose points for doing that in an exam. Oct 11, 2023 at 16:39
  • maybe asked about and answered to? But to me it seems awkward as well...
    – Ale
    Oct 11, 2023 at 17:27
  • No, it's not idiomatic in English to say a question was answered to. That preposition works in the context of an adjectival modifier of the noun, in answer to the question, but we rarely use it after the verb (even if it attaches to the object, as in "Yes", I answered [to] him). Stick with both objects are being asked about and answered... as per my first comment. Oct 11, 2023 at 18:11
  • Yeah, that's what I did in the end. Thanks a lot!
    – Ale
    Oct 12, 2023 at 17:34

2 Answers 2

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No, it is wrong.

Because the object may be "asked about", but it is the questions that will be answered. You don't answer an object.

An alternative might be to say:

It will reach a point where questions are being asked and answered about both objects

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  • The OP asked about answering about an object, not answering an object. Is that what you meant?
    – gotube
    Oct 11, 2023 at 19:03
  • @gotube You answer a question. You don't answer "about" a question. But I didn't bother addressing that mistake because it is a moot point. Removing the word "about" wouldn't correct the sentence.
    – Astralbee
    Oct 11, 2023 at 20:49
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Yes, that grammar is correct, a native speaker might say it, and it is easy to understand. However, it is a bit awkward.

Here's a natural usage of "answer about something":

Allan: What are the impacts of this policy on local education and real estate values?
Betty: That's an excellent question. I'll answer about education, but I'll let another panellist answer about real estate values.

In this context, and in yours, it's understood that the direct object of "answer" is the question, and the "about..." specifies what the topic or aspect of the question.

THAT SAID, Astralbee's suggested alternative is clear, natural, and not at all awkward.

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