Is there any difference between these two forms?


  • "How did I take that picture" vs. "How I took that picture"
  • "How did I make the cake" vs. "How I made the cake"
  • "How did I meet my wife" vs. "How I met my wife"

"How did I take that picture?" is a question that functions as a complete sentence, whereas "How I took that picture" is an adverbial clause that cannot stand on its own.

So, the statements beginning with "How did I..." are questions aiming to determine the manner in which an action was carried out. The statements beginning with "How I..." are adverbial clauses of manner that can be added on to complete another sentence.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    The adverbial clause can very well stand on its own as a title. This TV series obviously comes to mind, but it would also work for a book/chapter, blog/blog entry, photo album/photo caption... – RegDwigнt Dec 13 '10 at 13:50
  • I certainly agree that the clause could stand as a title. After all, most titles are not complete sentences but rather phrases and dependent clauses. – Jimi Oke Dec 13 '10 at 15:39

The "How did I..." construction works as a rhetorical question or a question posed to oneself:

"How did I make the cake turn out so perfectly?"

The "How I..." works as a statement narrating past events:

"How I made the cake turn out so perfectly was to add the flour in 1/2 cup increments."

| improve this answer | |

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.