Well this may be a very silly and obvious question but it's bothering me so I am asking it here. I am writing a letter and I asked the question

What qualification are you looking for?

However my colleague says it should be

What qualification you are looking for?

Well, some how I think my version is correct but I cannot justify it grammatically, can someone tell me which of the interrogation is correct? and why?

closed as general reference by Kris, MetaEd, J.R., Tim Lymington supports Monica, FumbleFingers Sep 7 '12 at 12:18

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • if this is a letter about employment prospects, you'd probably ask about "competencies" instead of "qualifications". Few jobs require qualifications per-se. Competencies covers both qualifications and all important key desirable attributes desired. Obviously none of this matters if the letter is about qualifying something instead. – Chris Sep 7 '12 at 6:30
  • @Chris the comment is off topic. – vin Sep 7 '12 at 6:58

When asking a question that begins with a "questioning word" like what, who, which, when or how, the verb will usually be placed before the subject. This is called "inversion", because it's the opposite order from an ordinary non-question sentence. You can read about it here.

In the case that you've cited, the first version is correct. The second version is something that a native speaker would never say.

  • 1
    Also, unless you are specifically talking about a single qualification, the question typically uses the plural: "What qualifications are you looking for?" – Jim Sep 7 '12 at 6:22
  • Yes, very true. Very good point. – user16269 Sep 7 '12 at 6:26

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