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  1. #1
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    Default A questions about grammaticality

    Hi everyone,

    I would like to ask about the grammaticality of the following question:

    Which daughter does he wanna become a doctor?

    Is the (want to) contraction in this question grammatical? Is it used in this way by native speakers?

    Thank you in advance

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: A questions about grammaticality

    Hi, and welcome to Using English.

    We do contract "want to" in our speech to "wanna." I want to go now. I want to see that movie.

    It seems less likely that we'd contract in the way you've shown: "She's the one I want to see see succeed" or "Which does he want to be a doctor?" Possible, but not as likely.

    Note that such contractions are not grammatical at all. It's simply a way of writing the sound of what we say. It's never grammatical to say "I wanna go to see that movie." It simply common to utter it that way.

    I am among those who dislikes seeing wanna/gonna/etc. in anything but the MOST informal of writing platforms (text and e-mail to close friends), or as dialog in a novel, I cringe when I see "wanna" in an e-mail at work, and I am often so annoyed by it in posts here (except in cases like this when it's the subject of the inquiry) that I ignore the post.
    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
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    Default Re: A questions about grammaticality

    Hi Barb_D,


    Thank you very much for your reply and sorry for bothering you with that "annoying" form. i am doing a syntactic analysis of wh-questions. In some cases it is likely to hear such a contraction in questions but in other cases, as exemplified by the question i posted here, it is not likely for native speakers to contract the two words. As i am not a native speaker, i just wanted to make sure of that before adding it to my paper.
    Thank you again.

    May

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    Default Re: A questions about grammaticality

    Well, like I said, when it's the subject of your question, it's not annoying.

    When posters say things like "I wanna know all the irregular verbs" it annoys me greatly!

    Other native speakers may have other views than mine.

    Good luck on your paper.
    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.

  5. #5
    orangutan is offline Member
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    Default Re: A questions about grammaticality

    I'm not sure I should get involved in a discussion of American English, but this observation might be helpful:

    Contraction is generally OK (for those who accept it) when the subject of "want" is the same as the subject of the dependent verb:

    "I wanna go home" (I = subject of both "want" and "go")
    "Which film do you wanna see" (you = subject of both "want" and "see")

    It is less good (perhaps not possible) when the subject is different:
    * Which team do you wanna win the world cup
    (you = subject of want; which team = subject of win)
    Last edited by orangutan; 30-Nov-2010 at 16:28. Reason: qualifying a statement

  6. #6
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    Default Re: A questions about grammaticality

    You said that much better than I did. I couldn't articulate why the original didn't really work as well.
    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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