Why is "what's what?" always wrong as a question?


When I talk to somebody, and I miss a certain part(word) of the sentence they said, I have a habit of replacing the unheard part with what and ask the same sentence like this:

Speaker: Can you please pass the texta(missed)?
Me: Can you pass what?

Speaker: Why don't you drink coffee(missed) in the morning?
Me: Why don't you drink what in the morning(what-in-the-morning is spoken with a special intonation).

Speaker: What is the time(missed)?
Me: What is what?

The speaker I was talking to was an English guy, and he said you can't say what's what.

What is grammatically wrong with what's what as a question and why can I replace the unheard word with what in other sentences?

Thank you.


Posted 2020-02-02T11:09:48.473

Reputation: 1 693

1He's wrong, pretty much, though the confusion may be from you not including "the", so instead of "What's the what?" you said "What's what?" Both are correct, though. A politer way of requesting someone to repeat what they said would be "Pardon?" (pronounced "par" as in golf, "duhn" as in garden) – Corsaka – 2020-02-02T12:06:54.560

Note: where Corsaka uses italic font, e.g. "He said what?", that word is spoken with emphasis. – Michael Harvey – 2020-02-02T12:28:46.880

No answers