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What is value of the question mark stands for in the figure sequence given?

I've seen this question in a book.
I don't understand why "stands" is used here instead of "standing".

I think the question should have been either

What does value of the question mark stand for in the figure sequence given?

or

What is value of the question mark standing for in the figure sequence given?

Also, shouldn't "the value" have been better?

closed as off-topic by user3169, ColleenV, Ben Kovitz, Varun Nair, choster Mar 8 '16 at 23:40

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  • 2
    Can you add a source for the quotations? It would be helpful to understand if the problems are related to dialect, translation, or perhaps typographical errors. Answers would become a matter of interpretation. – user3169 Mar 7 '16 at 19:13
  • The sentence as you quote it is nonsensical. It looks like an editorial or typographical error; providing the name and author of the text would allow us to confirm whether that is the case. – choster Mar 8 '16 at 23:40
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This sentence is terrible. If it was my book, I'd complain.

Amongst other errors, the writer can't decide which of these two things they are asking for:

  • The value of the question mark
  • The value that the question mark stands for

There are several ways to rephrase it to be grammatically correct.

Keeping the "What is...in the figure sequence given?" structure of the original sentence we could write:

What is the value of the question mark in the figure sequence given?

What is the value that the question mark stands for in the figure sequence given?

In this case you're correct that we need an article in front of the word 'value'. Either question could be answered with:

The value is seven.

There is another way to phrase this question though, using the question mark as the subject instead of the value, and your suggestions are close:

"What value does the question mark stand for in the figure sequence given?"

"What value is the question mark standing for in the figure sequence given?"

The word 'value' can be removed and they still make sense.

"What does the question mark stand for in the figure sequence given?"

"What is the question mark standing for in the figure sequence given?"

They could be answered with:

The question mark stands for seven.

The question mark is standing for seven.

The 'stands for' questions are more likely to be used in formal writing. This looks like a question from a mathematics text book, so I would expect to see the more formal version.

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