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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 10th, 2010, 02:55 pm
rjw rjw is offline
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Default Inversion in questions.

Among the five questions below are two (questions) where the auxiliary verb and subject have been inverted to make the question. I think the questions are 4 and 5.
But I'm not sure why or how they have been inverted!
Could someone please explain the rules to me?

1 What don't you like about your personality?
2 What makes you depressed?
3 When did you last cry and why?
4 Who would you most like to say sorry to?
5 What song would you like to be played at your funeral?

Thanks in advance.

RJW
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Unread Jan 11th, 2010, 12:30 pm
Sue
 
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Default Re: Inversion in questions.

No - there are three - 1, 4 and 5

S- Aux inversion means that the S and Aux swap the positions they would normally have in the statement. So ...

You don't like ... (S-Aux-Main Verb) becomes What don't you like (Qu word - Aux- S - main verb - The S and Aux have inverted.

If you look at 3,4,and 5 and think about what the statement would be, you'll see exactly the same thing happening - instead of You would like (S-Aux-Main Verb) you've got ...would you like (Aux- S -Main Verb)

And 3 is really the same except that in the statement the auxiliary is not used. The rule is that to make this type of question (an object oriented question - I'll explain that later) You must use an auxiliary verb, and if there's one already in the statement form, then you use it. if there isn't - as with I last cried... , then you add DO in the appropriate form (here past).

So we end up with all four examples (1,3,4,5) having the order (Question word or phrase) Aux - S - Main verb (4 has an adverb most inserted into the sequence, but that's irrelevant).
This is because in all four of those examples the question is object or complement oriented. For example :

When did you last cry?
I last cried two weeks ago.

The question when relates to the complement of the answer two weeks ago. try writing them all out. Underline the question word and the part of the answer that relates to the question verb. You'll find it's always after the main verb - ie it's the object or complement.

Now look at Question 2 :

What makes you depressed?
This horrible weather makes me depressed!

This time the question word What relates to the subject of the answer - the bit before the verb phrase. This is therefore a subject oriented question, and with this type the question word/phrase is itself the subject and the word order continues exactly as it would have been in the statement. Some other examples :

Who would like an icecream?
I would like an icecream.

What type of questions don't need inversion?
Subject oriented questions don't need inversion.


Hope that helps.
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Unread Jan 11th, 2010, 03:12 pm
rjw rjw is offline
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Default Re: Inversion in questions.

Hi Susan

Thank you very much for your time and of course the explanation.
It makes a lot more sense now. So thank you!

RJW
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