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  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #11

    Re: I thought I couldn't start a question using how to

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It is, as Barb says used in heading and titles, but they shouldn't have a question mark at the end:

    How to reset a password
    How to reset a password?
    Even here you could use either:
    How to reset a password = This is how you reset a password. The author offers an explanation to the reader.
    How to reset a password? = The author asks the reader a question, 'How do you reset a password?'

  2. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #12

    Re: I thought I couldn't start a question using how to

    'How to' isn't a good way to start a question, is it?

  3. engee30's Avatar
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    #13

    Re: I thought I couldn't start a question using how to

    Maybe not, but people tend to use ellipsis in everyday conversations.

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #14

    Re: I thought I couldn't start a question using how to

    No, it isn't. (And that includes post 11.)

  5. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #15

    Re: I thought I couldn't start a question using how to

    (Post #12 was a (not very funny) joke.)

  6. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #16

    Re: I thought I couldn't start a question using how to

    Quote Originally Posted by tufguy View Post
    Sorry for using "how to," but I thought that you had told me that we cannot start a question using "how to​." That's why I used it as a part of a sentence, but I didn't know that I couldn't use it anywhere. Could you please tell me where I can use "how to​," because I have seen many question​s starting with "how to​."
    Oh, come on! The people who post questions here do not have perfect English. That's why they come here!

    "How to" can only start a sentence if it's part of a noun phrase:

    - How to speak English well is the topic of almost all the questions posted here.

    Otherwise, it's wrong.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  7. engee30's Avatar
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    #17

    Re: I thought I couldn't start a question using how to

    It looks to me like another strange peculiarity of English grammar.

    You can say something like this:
    Why not ask her out? (general) or Why don't you ask her out? (specific)

    You cannot say: How to reset a password? (general), but you can say: How [do you/shall I] reset a password?
    Or you cannot say: What to do now? (general), but you can say: What [do I/you/we|shall I/we] do now?

    In all of the cases above, it's a question word + infinitive construction. So what's the problem then?

  8. Raymott's Avatar
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    #18

    Re: I thought I couldn't start a question using how to

    Yes, you can say these types of things, and people sometimes do. It's probably normal in Hong Kong and Taiwanese English.
    But I would never write them thinking they were sentences.
    "Now, where to go for our holidays?"; "Who to talk to?"

    The point is that very, very many of the students here i) think that this is proper English, and ii) want to learn standard, acceptable, written English, and iii) want to learn correct grammar. The fact that a native speaker would not ask a question this way should be enough evidence that anyone reading such a question will immediately recognise that you are non-native speaker, no matter how good your grammar is otherwise (not that there's anything wrong with that, but many learners have expressed a desire to speak/write like a native.)

  9. engee30's Avatar
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    #19

    Re: I thought I couldn't start a question using how to

    Of course, I get your point, Raymott. Being a non-native speaker of English, I do realise I will be in the wrong most of the time, but I was merely wondering why you can't say things like that. I've been failing to find a source that could explain that to me.

  10. Raymott's Avatar
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    #20

    Re: I thought I couldn't start a question using how to

    It's not that you can't. It's that we don't usually say it, and we certainly don't write it.
    I think you'd be wasting your time if you looked for evidence for why we don't use certain ungrammatical phrases. You are correct that we use ellipses in many places. This is not one of them.

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