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Thread: happen

  1. #1
    Nightmare85's Avatar
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    Default happen

    Hello guys,
    I don't know why but I have the feeling that it's correct to use happen without do.

    What happened?
    What the hell happened to you?


    What did happen?
    What the hell did happen to you?


    Please tell me what is correct.

    Thanks!

    Cheers!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: happen

    You use the did as you would other questions.

    For example:
    A: That's a pretty picture you drew.
    B: I didn't draw it.
    A: Oh, well it's a pretty picture Mark drew.
    B: Mark didn't draw it either.
    A: Well, who [the hell] did draw the picture?

    A: Something wonderful happened to me! Can you guess?
    B: Did you get engaged?
    A: No! Guess again!
    B: Did you get a full scholarship for your PhD?
    A: No! Guess again.
    B: Did you win the lottery?
    A: No! Guess again.
    B: No, I will not guess again. What DID happen to you?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. #3
    Nightmare85's Avatar
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    Default Re: happen

    Thank you.
    Okay, I guess I heard it somewhere and thought it could be correct, but I hear plenty of wrong information too, unfortunately...

    Ah but I think you made a small mistake:
    Who (the hell) drew the picture?
    I'm very sure we do not need do in combination with who (if we ask what a subject did.)
    (Except if you want to emphasize something.)

    Cheers!

  4. #4
    Mzungu39 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: happen

    You don't use 'do' when asking questions about the subject, and not about the object. That rule goes also with other verbs.
    Study the examples:

    What happened? Nothing happened.
    Who came to the party? All my friends (came to the party.
    Who did you invite to the party. (I invited) all my friends (to the party).
    Who invited them to the party? I did./ I invited them to the party.

  5. #5
    Mzungu39 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: happen

    One more thing. Since 'happen' is an intransitive verb it cannot be used with an object, so the question can't be formed with auxiliary 'do' unless we want to emphasize sth. as it has already been mentioned.

  6. #6
    mmasny is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: happen

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    (Except if you want to emphasize something.)
    And that's exactly the case here. As well as in
    B: No, I will not guess again. What DID happen to you?

  7. #7
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: happen

    I'm sorry - I thought you already knew the rule about using "do" to show an emphatic way to ask the question. In my examples, the person had already tried to figure out the subject a couple times and wasn't getting that information. So the second person use the "Who DID X?" or "What DID X" form to ask the question emphatically.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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