22.interrogative sentences


If the interrogative sentence starts with an interogative pronoun or an interrogative adverb, why, how, when, what, which etc.. the question is about something specific, why asks for a reason, when for a moment in time, how for the way something is done etc.. In this case the answer can't be yes or no. (Who bought the painting? => Yes.)

Depending for what these interrogative words stand for, we can distinguish between pronouns, adverbs and adjectives. If the interrogative word stand for a noun, it is an interrogative pronoun: What do you see? A tree. If the interrogative word stand for an adverb or adverbial, it is an interrogative adverb: How did he do that? Very fast. If the interrogative word aks for the property of a noun it is an interrogative adjective: What kind of car do you like? Cars that are not very thirsty.

Interrogative pronouns can be nominative (subject of the sentence), accusative (direct object of the sentence), indirect object (dative of the sentences and genitive. Basically the same things already discused in the chapter about pronouns are valid. In English cases, the function of an object in the sentence, nominativ, accusativ, dativ, genitive, are determined by prepositions and works the same way as it does in Portuguese.

subject: Who (person) => John loves Mary. => Who loves Mary? => John
subject: What (thing) => The roses are red. => What is red? => the roses

direct object: Whom => John loves Mary. => Whom does John loves? Mary
direct object: What (thing) => John give Mary rosese. => What does John gives Mary? => Roses

indirect object (person): To whom => John gives roses to Mary. => To whom does he gives roses? => to Mary.
indirect object thing): To what => Mary gives the roses water. => To what does she gives water? => to the roses.

genitive: whose => Johns car is in front of Mary's house. => Whose car is in front of Mary's house? John's car.

The author expects that we have cleared all grammar problems that can show up in the love affair between John and Mary. If they marry we will have a closer look on this issue.

Furthermore a distinction is to be made between what and which, see 22.3. Symplifying. What used as an adjective asks for properties, "What kind of flowers do you like?", which asks for an element of a group, "Which of your cars is the fastest?".

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