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Which sentence from each pair do you find more natural? If both are fine, please explain what's the difference (if there's any).

1)
a. Who in your family is the tallest? b. Who is the tallest in your family?

2)
a. Who in your family speaks English? b. Who speaks English in your family?

3)
a. Who in your family has had measles? b. Who has had measles in your family?

I'd say 1b, 2 - either is OK, 3a.
I've never heard nor seen 1a and 3b.

Thanks in advance, as always.
Comments  
They all sound fine, though I do prefer 1b to 1a.

With 3, you can emphasize either the person (a) or the disease (b).

A: There's measles going around.

B: Yes, I know. We've experienced it in our own home.

A: You're kidding! Who in your family has the measles? {emphasis is on the "who"}

or

A: Boy, your family has had a lot of bad luck this summer!

B: Yes, I know. First my sister had strep throat, then I had the car crash, and now we're dealing with the measles.

A: Oh my gosh! Who has measles in your family? {emphasis is on the measles, after so much other bad luck}
Thanks for the detailed and helpful post.

P.S. Interesting that I prefer 1b to 1a. Native speakers do usually too. Perhaps an English language demigod would know why it is so. Emotion: wink
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Hi guys,

1) a. Who in your family is the tallest? b. Who is the tallest in your family?

I'd say b is preferable because it more clearly and quickly tells the listener that this is a question about height. As soon as I hear 'Who is the tallest . . . ', I pretty well know the kind of thing I am being asked.

Compare 'Who in your family, which came to Canada in 1975 and consists of your parents, your two brothers, your sister and, in a sense, your pet giraffe, is the tallest?'

Best wishes, Clive
Thank you.

I too agree with you that 3a and 3b seem to stress different things as they are but it might be an over- generalization to say that 3b is emphasizing the measles.

Who has measles in your family could be stressing either the person or the disease, in my opinion.
CliveHi guys,

1) a. Who in your family is the tallest? b. Who is the tallest in your family?

I'd say b is preferable because it more clearly and quickly tells the listener that this is a question about height. As soon as I hear 'Who is the tallest . . . ', I pretty well know the kind of thing I am being asked.

Compare 'Who in your family, which came to Canada in 1975 and consists of your parents, your two brothers, your sister and, in a sense, your pet giraffe, is the tallest?'

Best wishes, Clive

Very logical explanation. Thank you!

I wonder if the same logic can be applied to the examples in 2). GG and I find them equally correct, though.
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Hi,

I wonder if the same logic can be applied to the examples in 2). GG and I find them equally correct, though. Perhaps, but like you, I wouldn't want to argue that there is much of a difference between the two versions.

Best wishes, Clive