I think I’ve heard some people express their enthusiasm/strong emotion by starting a sentence with a verb as in a question form.

How common is this and for what kind of sentence will it be awkward to speak like this? In other words, is it acceptable only when the sentence starts with “do” or any other auxiliary verb?

Is there a name for this structure?

  • 1
    It's a rhetorical question that has meandered quite a way from it's roots as a question. It doesn't need do in particular: "Oh boy, ain't that a shame!" "Oh boy, have I got something to show you!" – Mike Graham Dec 24 '19 at 7:44
  • This has been dealt with earlier on this site, if I remember it right. Try searching previous related posts. Good Luck. – Kris Dec 24 '19 at 9:16
  • Welcome to ELU. Do the read the FAQ here: english.stackexchange.com/help – Kris Dec 24 '19 at 9:16

"Oh boy!" is an informal, predominantly American English, and somewhat outdated expression of surprise or excitement.

"Do I love it" is a rhetorical question - that is a question which does not demand an answer, but rather meant to remind the hearer of the answer, or make them reach an obvious conclusion. In this particular example, the speaker clearly does "love it", and is emphasising this by the use of rhetoric.

This sort of expression is probably quite familiar to most native English speakers but is not as common today in everyday speech. You will find expressions like this in literature, but both elements of your example - the exclamation, and the particular rhetorical question used - feel quite outdated. I associate them with American literature, TV and films of the 1950s and 1960s.

Other rhetorical questions are still common - many used sarcastically, for example, "Is the Pope Catholic?", or "do you want to be a failure for the rest of your life?" As you can see, it is perfectly acceptable to begin a question with an auxiliary verb like "do" or "have".

  • Is it still a rhethorical question if it uses an exlamation mark instead of question mark? – Llewellyn Dec 24 '19 at 11:39
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    It is. Ignoring punctuation, this rhetorical question uses the same grammar, the same subject/auxiliary inversion, as a direct inquiry. The grammar of the sentence requires some appropriate end punctuation, but the choice between using a question mark or an exclamation point (or both, either separately or as an interrobang) is only a question of style. – Gary Botnovcan Dec 24 '19 at 17:01
  • @GaryBotnovcan Yes, rhetorical questions can end in either a question mark or an exclamation mark. Now you know what it is, you can Google some examples. – Astralbee Dec 27 '19 at 9:00

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