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"I wonder why X's don't have (insert subject) and you do" Is it a question? Statement? A question imbedded in a statement? Or would it depend on the tone that was used?

Thank you in advance.

  • As it stands, it's not a sentence at all… are the underscores meant to be placeholders standing in for actual words? Like for example, “I wonder why I don't have any money and you do”? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 31 '15 at 20:11
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - Yes. My apologies. I edited it. – Jennifer Aug 31 '15 at 20:13
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It's context sensitive. If you are genuinely asking "I wonder why the other bakery doesn't have dinner rolls, but you do?", then it's just a question.

If you are not asking in order to get a response, but are instead commenting on the sad state of the other bakery (perhaps you are making a point to this baker that he needs to be well-stocked in dinner rolls,) then it's called a rhetorical question and may not require a question mark.

  • Yes; your first analysis is a hedged version of 'Why do you have dinner rolls while the other bakery doesn't?' It might be included in the set of 'declarative questions', but these normally require yes/no answers. The second, the rhetorical version, is signalled by a different tone in speech, or a full stop rather than a question mark in print. But this grades into a declarative statement; 'wonder' (now = 'am intrigued') is a multi-purpose verb. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 31 '15 at 21:42
  • Thank you for your answers. The reason I am asking is because someone I know told me that it is a statement, not a question, and in order for it to be a question it would have to be worded like this, "I wonder if X's have (insert subject) like you do". – Jennifer Sep 1 '15 at 3:31
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In the declarative sentence

I wonder why the Joneses don't have a Lexus and you do.

the word "why" serves as a subordinating conjunction to introduce the clause

Joneses (subject)  --  don't have  (verb)  --  a Lexus (direct object)

The structure is the same as the related sentence

I wonder that the Joneses don't have a Lexus and you do.

with the word "that" taking the place of "why." The difference is in the meaning: in the second sentence, you're contemplating the automotive disparity; in the first, the reason for the difference.

The clause in the first sentence isn't a question, but you may transpose it into one, using why as an interrogative adverb:

Why don't the Joneses have a Lexus?

Notice the difference in the word order.

  • Thank you everyone for your answers. The reason I am asking is because someone I know told me that it is a statement, not a question, and in order for it to be a question it would have to be worded like this, "I wonder if X's have (insert subject) like you do". – Jennifer Aug 31 '15 at 23:23
  • @Jennifer Nope, still a statement. – deadrat Sep 1 '15 at 1:15
  • If it was said in a questioning tone would that make a difference? Like, would that make it a rhetorical question? – Jennifer Sep 1 '15 at 3:34

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