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In the book Story Genius by Lisa Cron we read:

Even if she's only six, she already has a worldview that, like most of us, she's never even questioned—why should she? As far as she can see it's "just the way things are." Boy, is she in for a rude awakening. [...]

(Yes, punctuation's been double-checked)

My question, of course, pertains to 'is she in'. How does this inversion find its explanation?

I guess it falls in what's taken as an informal register, but still I don't know if it's the matter of putting more stress on specific words or something else (intonation...?)

I would appreciate more examples like this from your smart linguistic heads and a word of explanation!

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2 Answers 2

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It is a form of exclamation.

Boy, is it ever hot and humid today!

Boy, is it hot today!

There's an underlying almost imperceptible question: "Wouldn't you agree?"

On the semantic level it's probably a close cousin to

Hot enough for you!?

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It's a statement, rather than a question, as the wording may seem to suggest. She is in for a rude awakening. It's a common way to say it with a hint of sarcasm, because of course they aren't asking, they are saying. Like, "Boy, am I hungry nom nom nom".

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  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Aug 16, 2023 at 13:50
  • I don't think I need to reference common sayings like 'boy am i hungry'
    – user485570
    Aug 16, 2023 at 13:59
  • Any internet search will shows plenty of examples, there's even a tiktok trend that shows up
    – user485570
    Aug 16, 2023 at 14:07

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