My friend asked me over text:

"The new iPhone is out?"

Is this valid English? I say it's not, but he believes it is. I believe the correct question would have been:

"Is the new iPhone out?"

The grammar just seems backwards to me, is it correct English?

  • @KillingTime It just feels like the grammar has been written backwards. The only time I can see that being valid English would be in response to someone saying the same sentence as a statement, and the other person replying with the same sentence for clarification. – Shaun Wild Sep 20 '19 at 14:43
  • I think you've got it right, "The new iPhone is out?" isn't exactly wrong, it's just not the usual form of the question. – KillingTime Sep 20 '19 at 14:59

The sentence is grammatical both ways. There is a subject and a verb.

Inversion of subject and auxiliary verb is a common way of forming questions in English. But, verbal inflection is also a manner of forming questions. (Have you ever asked someone the [fragmented] question, "Beer?")

Consider the following:

He did run out the door?

This is still a question, even though the subject is before the verb. If this were spoken, it would likely require the verbal inflection at the end of the word to signify it being a question.

Most often, this would be a question of confirmation. But that doesn't make it less grammatical.

Arguably, it would have been clearer to ask:

Did he run out the door?

The order of the subject and verb is merely a matter of style at this point.


Yes, it is. It also comes across differently than "Is the new iPhone out?" "The new iPhone is out?" comes across as the asker now asking to make sure after having just heard something suggesting that it is. "Is the new iPhone out?" could be asked in those situations, too, but without any added tone or emphasis, using that wording doesn't come across as the asker having heard that it is.👍😉

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