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While I was doing some facebook things, I shared a picture and this sentence came to my mind. I was wondering if it is correct to use this sentence when you want to share your feelings about something (in this case that picture):

What a big like deserves this picture, doesn't it?

What I meant to say was:

I think this picture deserves a big like, don't you?

If it's correct, could you please tell me about the detailed structure of the sentence? I just made it up and my mind naturally says it should be correct.

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closed as too localized by Mitch, MετάEd, Kris, JSBձոգչ, Daniel Nov 27 '12 at 19:17

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If what you meant to say was the second version, why didn't you just say that in the first place? The first version is grammatically gibberish. –  FumbleFingers Nov 26 '12 at 22:28
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If you're truly interested in "grammar", and in knowing whether a given form is "correct" or not, why not start by practising with words like want to? –  FumbleFingers Nov 26 '12 at 22:39
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Yes. If you leave it like that someone will probably end up correcting it anyway. But surely you can see that on a site for linguists, etymologists, and (serious) English language enthusiasts it's not a particularly appropriate form? –  FumbleFingers Nov 26 '12 at 22:45
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@Charles: It's perfectly acceptable in all but the most formal spoken contexts, but I for one don't think it's good enough for ELU question text. –  FumbleFingers Nov 26 '12 at 22:58
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Mohammad, you should consider supporting our sister site for English Language Learners. Lots of us "great" people plan to frequent that site when it becomes active. I think you'd have a lot to contribute. –  J.R. Nov 27 '12 at 0:21

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Consider the simple sentence:

[This picture].NP.sbj [deserves].V [a big like].NP.obj

The more complicated construction that the OP is trying to form is a case of object-fronting, so the object is "moved" with respect to the simpler sentence to the first linear position, and the original object slot is left empty:

  [What a big like].NP.obj [This picture].NP.sbj [deserves].V [ $\o$ ]

A number of constructions in English involve dislocating an object noun phrase to the beginning of the clause.

The first proposed sentence ("what a big like deserves this picture") additionally inverts the order of the subject noun phrase and the verb. In many languages where a subject noun phrase would normally precede the verb, e.g., Spanish, subjects may be emphasized, or focused, by dislocating them to appear either after the verb, or after the verb and the object. For example (in Spanish),

Vio una pelicula mi mama.
saw a   movie    my mother
"_My mother_ saw a movie."

To focus a subject in English, however, no such construction is available, whether in a main or a subordinate clause. So if in your native language you can be flexible about the placement of the subject NP, do not expect to have the same liberties with English.

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Your answer was PERFECT! Thank you man. So my sentence is incorrect. Yeah? –  Rikki Rockett Nov 26 '12 at 22:54
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@MohammadGoudarzi yeah, the first one is incorrect. –  jlovegren Nov 26 '12 at 22:59
    
I got disappointed in my mind reactions! :D By the way, thank you about the great answer. –  Rikki Rockett Nov 26 '12 at 23:03
    
Little Jack Horner has been getting away with 'What a good boy am I!' for a long time now. Personally I don't think "question tags" really work after such "what" statements, but here's an example in print 'What a helpless woman you are, aren't you?', so it can't be totally off the planet. –  FumbleFingers Nov 26 '12 at 23:10
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@jlovegren: I think you're probably right that it only works with [be]. In some other contexts it often turns out that [have] and [be] allow more variability than other verbs, but I can't think of anything remotely akin to "Grandma! What big teeth have you!" that would be acceptable to the modern ear. –  FumbleFingers Nov 26 '12 at 23:30

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