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"What reason would your father have to lie?". This is a line of the movie "Rogue One".

I've checked the sound of the movie, and the line in the script, but it seems correct.

But some people say to me that the sentence is not right and that the right one is "For what reason would your father have to lie?".

I want to know if the verb 'lie' can take 'a reason' as an object. And if the first sentence is right, could you explain the meaning of it?

Thank you.

  • The sentence is correct. What makes you assume that it may be incorrect? – SovereignSun Apr 4 '17 at 7:49
  • Thank you. Some people say that. They say that the verb 'lie' is an intransitive verb and can't take any objects. – JS.Kim. Apr 4 '17 at 7:59
  • What reason would your father have (in general) to lie (in general)? – SovereignSun Apr 4 '17 at 8:01
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Both ways of writing the sentence are technically valid, but things change a bit between the two in their meaning.

  1. What reason would your father have to lie?

Think of this as, "What reason would your father have, to lie?" Here, "would ... have" acts as the verb, with "what reason" and "to lie" both technically acting as the objects. ("to lie" may be a different part of the sentence, but I cannot remember the exact term for it.) Note that in this case, it is implied that the father lied willingly.

  1. For what reason would your father have to lie?

Here, the complete phrase "would ... have to lie" is the verb, with "what reason" being the object. In this case, it is implied that the father "had to lie" or was forced to lie.

If I remember the movie correctly, the first case implies the correct meaning, so the original movie line is correct.

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