As a non-English speaker dabbling in Natural Language Processing, I'm trying to generate meaningful Yes/No-question based in hotel and restaurant reviews. This includes 2 types of "exists" questions: "Is/Are there ... at KFC?" and "Does KFC have ...?" I can see that in some case they cannot be used interchangeably. for example, here works both

  • Are there parking lots at KFC?
  • Does KFC have parking lots?

However, in the next example there sounds something off with the "Does ... have ..." question:

  • Is there a good experience at KFC?
  • Does KFC have a good experience?

That clearly has different meanings, and I understand that my 2 types of "exists" questions are semantically equal, in general.

Now I was trying to figure out how I can decide which type of question I can form depending on the "exits" noun (here, "parking lots", "experience"). Intuitively, I thought I can do this be check if the noun is an "abstract entity" or a "physical entity". WordNet gives me this information. Thus, with "experience" being an abstract entity, I can say that "Does KFC has a good experience?" does not work.

However, I now noticed that words like "queue" and "service" are also considered abstract entities, but to me the following questions sounds quite alright:

  • Does KFC have a queue?
  • Does KFC have a good service?

Do these question only sound correct or are they really correct (in the most picky sense). Because if so, simply looking whether the noun is an abstract or physical entity won't do. In this case, how else can I (programmatically) decide when "Is/Are there ...?" and "Do/Does ... have ...?" can be used interchangeably.

  • The grammar: Does KFC has a good experience? Should be "have"... regardless, it needs to be reworded to "Is eating at KFC enjoyable?" OR "Is eating at KFC a pleasant experience?" How can a restaurant "be" a good experience? Good experience for someone who has never eaten out before?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 7, 2017 at 6:36
  • 1
    You could say 'Does KFC provide good service [etc.]?' Sep 7, 2017 at 7:00
  • 2
    "generate questions automatically"? What? You mean the programme creates the questions itself? So every question has to have the same verb? That will never work. The short answer to the question in the title is "Yes". Does it necessarily mean what you think it does? "No".
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 7, 2017 at 7:42
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    'Correct' is ill-defined in these instances. Many wouldn't consider Chomsky's famous (fully grammatical) sentence 'Colorless green ideas sleep furiously' totally acceptable. 'Is there a queue at KFC?' (only asked of a person who had passed the establishment in the last few minutes) and 'Is there usually a queue at KFC?' are the variants I'd consider idiomatic in the UK. 'Does KFC have a queue?' would sound at least unusual. 'Does KFC have good service?' is again at least unusual. 'What's the service like at KFC?' would be used by most Brits. Sep 7, 2017 at 7:55
  • 1
    Oh, I can fit in one more :) Sep 7, 2017 at 10:45


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