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- Dear Teachers,

1. What is her favorite insect?

- Her favorite insect are bees and butterflies.

- Is this natural to say?

Thanks a lot!

Stevenukd
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Comments  
I have been asked what my favorite color is, what my favorite food is, what my favorite song is... but never, ever has anyone asked me what my favorite insect is, so I can't say it's completely natural, no.

However, the grammar of the question is correct. For the response, say insects, plural.
Grammar GeekI have been asked what my favorite color is, what my favorite food is, what my favorite song is... but never, ever has anyone asked me what my favorite insect is, so I can't say it's completely natural, no.

However, the grammar of the question is correct. For the response, say insects, plural.
Hi Grammar Geek,
"Insects (Class Insecta) are a major group of arthropods and the most diverse group of animals on the Earth, with over a million described species —more than double the number of all other living organisms combined.[1] Insects may be found in nearly all environments on the planet, although only a small number of species occur in the oceans where crustaceans tend to predominate instead. There are approximately 5,000 dragonfly species, 2,000 praying mantis , 20,000 grasshopper , 170,000 butterfly and moth , 120,000 fly , 82,000 true bug , 360,000 beetle , and 110,000 bee, wasp and ant species described to date." Wikipidia - (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insect )

Don't you even like butterfly?Emotion: smile

When you said, "I can't say it's completely natural, no," I hope that you did not mean such question would not be used by native English speakers.

Best Regards,
Hoa Thai
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The question wasn't "Do you like any insects at all?" It was "What is your favorite insect?" I suppose, if had to choose, I may choose the dragon fly or perhaps the lady bug. But it's still not a common thing to ask someone!
Grammar GeekThe question wasn't "Do you like any insects at all?" It was "What is your favorite insect?" I suppose, if had to choose, I may choose the dragon fly or perhaps the lady bug. But it's still not a common thing to ask someone!

Hi,

I gather that you meant, 'In common, do not ask such a question, it is not appropriate'. What makes it inappropriate? some sort of phobia?

If I see a boy who collects all kinds of insect pictures, I can certainly ask the question - right? If that is not even natural, then the problem must be with the word favorite using in that context. What problem is it?

Thanks,
Hoa Thai
I think the word natural in the question was meant to indicate "syntactically and semantically natural", and in the answer the word natural was taken to include "pragmatically natural in typical situations in American culture". In view of that, I would say the subject utterance is natural in the first sense and unnatural in the second sense -- which is, as I read it, what GG has already said.

CJ
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CalifJimFavorite insect to eat? Insects are fairly common foods in some cultures, aren't they?

CJ

In some part of Asia, Africa, South America, and even some rich-people clubs in Europe as I learned from American educational and entertainment shows on TV, people do eat insects. For me, I do not have any need or desire to put one in my mouth.
I guess you took a copy before I deleted that. Emotion: smile

Hi,

I gather that you meant, 'In common, do not ask such a question, it is not appropriate'. What makes it inappropriate? some sort of phobia?

If I see a boy who collects all kinds of insect pictures, I can certainly ask the question - right? If that is not even natural, then the problem must be with the word favorite using in that context. What problem is it?

Thanks,
Hoa Thai

Hi Hoa Thai,

I would never say it's inappropriate. It's just unexpected. It would be like asking me which member of Manchester United (or is that a Quiddich team?) is my favorite, or which of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices. It's just a group that I've never given any thought to having a "favorite" among, so it would seem odd to me that someone would assume I'd have a favorite bug.

On the other hand, if you know that the person has an insect collection, it would be natural to assume that among his collection, he does have a favorite. (Likewise, when someone does follow a sports team, it would be a natural question to ask then too.)
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