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    • Join Date: Apr 2006
    • Posts: 1

    Is this sentence wrong

    A teacher at my school insists that this sentence is correct....
    "The web now looks like what?"
    I disagree but can't disuade him as I can't say why it's wrong.
    Could someone please tell me if this is correct and if not, why?
    Are the rules of syntax for asking questions
    Last edited by brvprice; 06-Apr-2006 at 08:21.

    • Join Date: Jan 2006
    • Posts: 19

    Re: Is this sentence wrong

    The 'wh' question words should be at the beginning of the sentence and followed by the verb, viz:

    What does the web now look like?

  1. #3

    Re: Is this sentence wrong

    In a very limited, informal way, there are occasions when you can do this.

    I'm sure I heard Uncle Junior on the Sopranos asking "And he's gonna do this when?"

    But maybe it's a privelige given only to guys who are 'made'.

    • Join Date: Jan 2006
    • Posts: 19

    Re: Is this sentence wrong

    Who on earth is Uncle Junior on the Sopranos?? I don't know who he is, but is he well known for his excellent English?

    Yes, the sentence you quoted sounds OK in an informal setting as you say, but 'the web now looks like what' just doesn't sound right. Maybe it will be in general use one day - a few decades ago I doubt whether 'you're going to do it when?' would have been heard either.

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552

    Re: Is this sentence wrong

    This form is often used when repeating what somebody has said but asking for clarification on one point. It usually expresses disbelief: "Did you really say what I thought you said?"

    For example:

    "The web now looks like an elephant."
    "The web now looks like what?"

    The second speaker is repeating the original sentence except for the bit he finds difficult to believe or understand, which he replaces with a question word.

    In the following example, the question word replaces the entire predicate:

    "He took all of our money and tried to book a flight to Rio."
    "He what?"

    Very often in such cases we add the dummy verb "to do":

    "He did what?"

  3. #6

    Re: Is this sentence wrong

    In my opinion, this is a very characteristic way of today's teaching in many languages.

    The teacher says "Hence, given all the examples, we can assume... what?", and at this point s/he waits for the class to complete the sentence.


    • Join Date: Jan 2006
    • Posts: 19

    Re: Is this sentence wrong

    That's the trouble in written language - you can't hear the emphasis. When rewboss adds the italics and explains that the sentence is said that way (a disbelieving exclamation rather than a simple question), yes, it is current spoken English. ewelina's example of the teacher's question (spoken) is heard too. It just depends on the context in which the question was put.

  4. #8

    Re: Is this sentence wrong


    what is the meaning of disuade ?
    I looked it up in every existing dictionary but I couldn't find it !
    didntnt you write it incorrectly.

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