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    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 58
    #1

    S-V inversion

    hello, you know there's no S-V inversion if we ask about the subject but what if the main verb is 'be' would it also be possible?. then the construction would be S + be + SP
    for example:
    - I'm Alice.
    a. when asking about SP (Alice): Who are you? I'm Alice.
    b. when asking about S (I): who is Alice? I'm Alice. right??
    how about this:
    - I'm in Afghanistan.
    'in Afghanistan' is a prepositional phrase and it functions adverbially here but it's after 'be' so is it a SP? if not then 'be' isn't intransitive verb because after it we need a SP not adverbial??
    c. when asking about the PP: where are you? I'm in afghanistan.
    d. when asking about the S: Who is in Afghanistan? I'm in Afghanistan.

    you can argue that we use 'are' with 'you' in 'a and c' BUT why do we use 'is' in 'b and d' where no mention for the subject and we know that the S
    determines the conjugation of the verb coming after. So why 'is not are'?
    thanks in advance

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    #2

    Re: S-V inversion

    b- Who are Alice?
    This would make no numerical sense- how can plural people be a single person?
    d Who are in Afghanistan?
    This would be possible as long as we were sure that the answer would be plural, though people would still use the singular.
    Last edited by Tdol; 09-May-2007 at 09:06.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 58
    #3

    Re: S-V inversion

    but 'are' doesn't always mark the plural. plus the verb form is affected by the subject preceding it not what comes after it such as 'Alice'
    take this example:
    You are Alice.
    S V SP
    asking about the SP (S-V inversion is needed): WHO ARE YOU? you're Alice.
    asking about the S (no inversion at all): WHO ARE ALICE? you're Alice.
    Is it now palatable?
    - what i know is that there's no inversion when asking about the subject. right??
    - the verb form is affected by the subject not any other else (S-V concord).right?
    THEN, why is the change for the verb form in 'b and c'

  1. #4

    Re: S-V inversion

    Hi,

    The subject of the sentence "Who is Alice?" is "Who". "Who" is a pronoun (interrogative pronoun) that takes third-person agreement:

    Who is Alice? (singular)
    Who are Alice and John? (plural)

    This does not depend on the grammatical person of the verb in the answer, as that is usually unknown at the time of speaking. So, if you ask "Who is Alice?" the answer doesn't have to be, "I am Alice." It could also be "She is Alice," or "The lady with the ginger cat on her arm is Alice," or "You are Alice," (in some sort of party game, perhaps).

    Now it's possible that the answer is known beforehand. This doesn't change a thing. A mother might talk to her baby: "Who's my little girl? Now, who's my little girl? YOU are!" The reason is always the interrogative pronoun "who", which always takes thrid-person agreement (perhaps, because the basic use is as outlined above).

    I hope this makes sense to you.

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #5

    Re: S-V inversion

    Quote Originally Posted by rezaa View Post
    BUT why do we use 'is' in 'b and d' where no mention for the subject and we know that the S
    determines the conjugation of the verb coming after. So why 'is not are'?
    Simply put, who is by default singular in number:

    Paradigmatic agreement: a. Who are you? I'm Alice.
    Paradigmatic agreement: b. Who is Alice?
    Paradigmatic agreement: c. Where are you?
    Default agreement: d. Who is in Afghanistan?

    The same holds true for what:

    Ex: What is in the fridge? Bread, cheese, meat, and so on.

    Does that help?


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 58
    #6

    Re: S-V inversion

    sure it helps:). thank you all for your replies.

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