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I remember a teacher in a video course taught me that "who do you like for..." is an idiom, but I almost never came across it.

The following are two examples he gave:

Who do you like for the best actress at tomorrow’s Oscar’s?

Who do you like for the soccer game tomorrow night, Brazil or Germany?

I'm wondering if who is obligatory in this idiom. Can we use what or which instead?

And what to make of this idiom?

  • Odd though it may seem, I'd still use who for the two football teams. I think possibly because it is so idiomatic, it gets away with it. There's also the connotation of 'What do you like for..' sounding like you're planning to eat while the match is on. 'Which' might go unnoticed, in conversation, but I'd stick with 'who'. – gone fishin' again. Nov 12 '14 at 10:51
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Only who is correct there.

If you wanted to use what or which, you'd have to reference the person/group you are talking about.

For example, these sentences are all correct.

Which actress do you like for the best actress at tomorrow’s Oscar’s?

What actress do you like for the best actress at tomorrow’s Oscar’s?

Which team do you like for the soccer game tomorrow night, Brazil or Germany?

What team do you like for the soccer game tomorrow night, Brazil or Germany?

The idiom, who do you like for..., is primarily just used when asking someone which person, school, team, etc they want to win at something. It's a very common phrase when asking someone who they think will win in any type of competition.

Here are some more examples of how this is used :

Who do you like for homecoming king and queen?

Who do you like for president?

Who do you like for the Kentucky Derby horse race?

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  • If context is clear, can I say Who do you like? for short? – Kinzle B Nov 12 '14 at 11:52
  • Yes, that works just fine and is common too. – CRABOLO Nov 12 '14 at 11:57
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"What" is valid here. We often say, "What do you like for breakfast?" or "What do you like to do with your free time?" Well, the second is not quite the same construction.

"Which" can work. "The Vikings and the Tigers and playing in the final tournament. Which do you like?" But to use "which" you have to specify the options somewhere. You can't just start a conversation by saying, "Which do you like?" Which of what? You could say, "Which team do you like in the tournament?"

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