Is it ok to use "what's" instead of "what does"?


Actually is this construction common in NY English?


Posted 2017-12-03T13:59:15.267

Reputation: 413

2I can't speak to any of the NY dialects, but where does is unstressed this is fairly common in general American speech. It should be avoided in written English, where it may lead the reader to understand what is. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2017-12-03T14:04:29.757

It's fine in BrE: "What's this mean?", although you would only use it in direct or reported speech. – Mick – 2017-12-03T14:18:03.680

1It sounds fine to me. I would always write "what does", but in speech, sometimes syllables are elided. – Nick – 2017-12-03T15:25:44.663



It would depend on the context. In an informal situation between a group of close friends discussing a Rube Goldberg machine, most people would consider it perfectly acceptable to say:

What's it do?

insted of:

What does it do?

On the other hand, in a formal situation such as a corporate tour of an engineering workshop when the chief engineer is taking questions on machines, it would probably be in-appropriate to say:

What's it do?

Therefore it would be better to say:

What does it do?

From this we can deduce that context is everything. The first phrase is appropriate in an informal context and but is in-appropriate in a formal context.

As a general rule use the more formal phrase over the informal phrase if you are unsure of the formality of the context.

P.S. (Post Script) Please feel free to correct my spelling/grammar/formatting as I am dyslexic and so am not good at things.


Posted 2017-12-03T13:59:15.267

Reputation: 174