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Hello

Could you tell me if there is a difference between the following two sentences?
  • What department are you in?
  • In what department are you?
Thanks a lot.
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Comments  (Page 2) 

Again in a conversational context, for me the questions posed, without further context would seem to elicit this kind of conversation...

A) What club are you in? (Tennis? soccer? crib? or? and so forth)

After the type of club is established then...

B) Which (tennis) club are you in?

I expect there will be differences of opinion and in conversation there would be more context probably, making the choice of question easier. In any event the question would probably be understood for what it is either way.
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In what department are you? Would never be spoken naturally like that, I don't think.

Of the two, What department are you in? Much more likely.

I still like "Which" though. :-) In spite of technical aspects.
DougLewisIn what department are you?


I believe natives or anyone with adequate English background would never deliver a question in such awkward form. But having an Asian language background, I'd like to point out that some cultures do have grammar structures in this form and commonly used by people.
Thanks everyone for your contributions. I think the department-question has been cleared up.

As for the club-question, thanks for your lengthy explanation, DougLewis. Indeed, a specific context would trigger a specific word choice. Yet since the purpose of the question is to find out what kind of school club (soccer, baseball, tennis, art, ...) someone is in, "what" seems to be the way to go.

The help this forum (you!) provide is absolutely terrific!
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dimsumexpress I'd like to point out that some cultures do have grammar structures in this form and commonly used by people.
What's missing here?
AvangiWhat's missing here?
I assumed those who participlated in this thread understood that we were discussing the form of this question "in what department are you?". The point I tried to deliver was the grammar form "in what department are you? " does exist in some langauges. Therefore,I didn't feel the need to repeat it. Sorry it caused you confusion.
“ I'd like to point out that some cultures do have grammar structures in this form and commonly used by people.”
dimsumexpress Therefore,I didn't feel the need to repeat it.
Thanks for the clarification. Somehow your sentence just didn't seem right.Emotion: smile
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Civil department