2

I'm not sure if this is something recent, although I've been noticing it much more frequently now than say a couple of years ago. Many times people will make a statement, but will have it in an Interrogative form. For example, I recently saw this sentence online:

Consider what are the consequences of not being great in your home.

This was the sentence construction; however, I would have though it would be more like this:

Consider what the consequences of not being great in your home are.

All I did was move the verb, "are" to the end of the sentence.

Why is it that this happens? Is this a recent development in language, or is it that I'm just now noticing it? If I were to use this interrogative form, would it be commonly considered correct in a formal setting?

  • I'm not sure the premise is correct but you have asked a very good question nonetheless. The first sentence is grammatical and sounds more idiomatic than the second, nor would I consider the 2nd any better. I think your conclusion, noticing this particular structure, is correct. I look forward to seeing someone post an answer to this one! – Mari-Lou A Dec 15 '17 at 11:14
  • 2
    One reason the second sentence feels clunky may be that you removed are as for as possible from its subject. I think it already sounds a lot better as Consider what the consequences are of not being great in your home. The first sentence does sound "off" to me, and would make me suspicious whether the author is actually a native speaker. That said, I hear and read much stranger grammatical concoctions form native mouth and pen... – oerkelens Dec 15 '17 at 11:24
  • Do you have any sources of examples of this phenomenon? – oerkelens Dec 15 '17 at 11:25
  • 1
    @RobbieGoodwin I have to say, I don't really understand what it is that you're finding to be the problem with the question. I see that the way that I've reworded the sentence may be considered non-standard, but I hear sentence formation like that quite often nonetheless. I'm using it simply to contrast the first type of sentence formation, so the specific type of sentence formation I use isn't horribly important as long as I don't set it up in the way one would set up a question. Is that the problem, or is it with my calling it an "interrogative form"? – Morella Almånd Dec 16 '17 at 23:20
  • 2
    Though it’s not super-obvious, this is actually more or less the same question as Is the inversion in “Let’s see ʜᴏᴡ ᴄᴀɴ ᴡᴇ do this” an error for “Let’s see ʜᴏᴡ ᴡᴇ ᴄᴀɴ do this”?, which sumelic linked to above. John Lawler’s answer in particular is a useful and good read. I don’t think there’s anything particularly recent about this variant. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 19 '18 at 1:20
1

Interrogative sentences may actually be declarative sentences, and not interrogative at all. (These pages seem helpful: http://www.k12reader.com/interrogative-sentences/ and http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/interrogative_sentence.htm)

A clearly interrogative sentence would be:

Have you considered the consequences of not being great in your home?

A declarative sentence would be:

Consider the consequences of not being great at home.

I can't comment if this is a new or different style in recent times. However, if you're talking about articles in magazines or online, the declarative style appears to be more prevalent.

For example, if this is a women's magazine (I'm just guessing, could be a men's magazine or blog)... then the author appears to be telling you to consider what happens if you're not great at home. This is a more assertive tone.

If the author wanted a more gentle, discussive tone, then they would use a clearly interrogative sentence. Consider:

Option A (Interrogative sentence, less assertive tone)

Have you considered the consequences of not being great in your home? Your teenage children may not look up to you anymore.

Option B (Declarative sentence, assertive tone)

Consider the consequences of not being great at home. It can lead to marital and family problems.

  • 1
    This does not address the question posed by the OP. – Jim Jan 19 '18 at 20:50
  • @Jim Hi Jim, could you shed more light on what you believe the OP is asking? The two answers here have been downvoted so I'm not sure where the disconnect is. If you, others or OP could clarify that would be great. Cheers. – SaltySub2 Feb 5 '18 at 5:10
1

Without additional context on this particular example, I would say that it is most likely a language error made by a non-native speaker. My wife, who is not a native speaker, makes this mistake from time to time.

Non-native speakers must learn the appropriate word order for questions and statements (what are the XXX vs. what the XXX are). Sometimes they confuse this when speaking or writing as it differs from their native language.

  • 1
    Would you like to expand on this? What sort of error is it? Why would they make such an error? – Andrew Leach Jan 19 '18 at 23:14
  • 1
    @AndrewLeach I added some detail, but I'm not sure how to be much clearer. Word order is a learned construct. For those who do not have a good feel for which word order to use in which context, it's easy to pick the wrong one. English speakers have similar problems with word order and grammar in other languages. – Eric Jan 19 '18 at 23:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.