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Asking about family relationship Options
Helenej
Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 3:36:49 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/24/2013
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Location: Kiev, Kyiv City, Ukraine
Could you tell me, please, which of the words in red would be correct in the following exchange:

- What/Who is Susan to him?
- She is his niece.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 3:53:49 AM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Though it may not sound 'right' at first, the normal question is 'what'.

You are not really asking about the person, you are asking about the relationship (which is a thing).
You know who Susan is - she is the person you have been talking about, or she is the person you can see across the room with 'him'.

"What is Susan to him?" means "What is the relationship between Susan and him?"

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Helenej
Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 4:09:14 AM

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Joined: 9/24/2013
Posts: 1,584
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Location: Kiev, Kyiv City, Ukraine
Thank you very much, Drag0.
leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 11:22:16 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
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Location: Miami, Florida, United States
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
"What is the relationship between Susan and him?"


I would say that that is the more natural and neutral question to ask.

Perhaps it is just my New Yorker attitude, yet that is how I would ask it.


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Wilmar (USA)
Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 4:03:09 PM

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Joined: 6/4/2015
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Location: Vinton, Iowa, United States
How are Susan and Fred related?
Is he related to Susan?
What is the relationship between Susan and Fred?
Helenej
Posted: Wednesday, September 13, 2017 10:45:41 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/24/2013
Posts: 1,584
Neurons: 8,320
Location: Kiev, Kyiv City, Ukraine
Thank you, Leon and Wilmar.
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