• We usually form wh-questions with wh- + an auxiliary verb (be, do or have) + subject + main verb or with wh- + a modal verb + subject + main verb ...

  • When what, who, which or whose is the subject or part of the subject, we do not use the auxiliary. We use the word order subject + verb: What fell off the wall? Which horse won?

    Cambridge Dictionary

The above rules are well known to English students. but what are the other rules that we use to form questions in English?

for example, the following question don't follow the above rules.

How about going to the cinema tonight?

  • 4
    One interesting trait of language that intrigues linguists is that you can create infinitely different sentences using different combinations of words. When taking it as a whole, it doesn't make much sense to speak of all the rules that govern different sentences, but choosing one rule and trying to understand it. This question is kinda broad, as a result.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 20:19
  • In English, can anything can be a question if you put a question mark at the end? Yes it can. Can't it? Usually you will know a question by subject-verb inversion, but not always. As M.A.R. says, this is a very broad question that can't really be answered.
    – Andrew
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 20:30
  • Thank you guys, it seems a broad question, I assumed I could have a resource combined them. So, at least, What is the form (rule) use with "How about"
    – Shannak
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 20:39

1 Answer 1


How about X? may be understood as an elliptical question: "How do you feel about X?" or "How do you regard X?". It's used both as an actual inquiry or as a suggestion that X is somehow relevant to the current discourse.

However, it's strictly a colloquial idiom, and consequently has uses even further removed from the standard:

  • How about we VERB? means "How do you feel about our VERBING?"—it's used to suggest an action or activity.

  • How about you just VERB is a threat meaning "You'd better VERB or I will take steps to make you wish you had."

  • How about that! means "Isn't that surprising!"

  • How about them Bears! (substitute your favorite team) means "Well, the Bears certainly did / are doing well!"


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