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What is the difference between the two following sentences?

1) Where did you save that file?

And

2) Where you saved that file ?

  • 4
    I think the first one is correct and grammatical but the second one is not. – Raj 33 Dec 17 '17 at 16:03
  • 3
    Indeed, the distinction between the two sentences is that the second one is produced only by non-native speakers. The exception would be in an exchange such as the following: Person A: "What was it that you wanted to know?"; Person B: "Where you saved that file." But here, "where you saved that file" might be better regarded as a sentence fragment. – rjpond Dec 17 '17 at 16:43
  • @rjpond I have heard native speakers produce sentences like the second one, but very rarely. Also their speech would not sound educated to most people. But I have heard it. Everytime I have heard it it was spoken by a people from an urban ghetto. – Readin Dec 17 '17 at 20:14
7

Let's imagine that your friend saved a file somewhere, and you wanted to know where it had been saved. You would ask:

"Where did you save that file?"

Afterwards you might say to your friend:

"I wondered where you saved that file."

If you are asking the question, you cannot say:

"Where you saved that file?"

It's incorrect.

But you can use those words as part of a sentence, as illustrated.

http://www.grammar.cl/english/do-does-did-done.htm https://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/grammar/frage5.htm

1

In short the difference is the function of the word "where". In the first sentence is used as adverb, and in the second is used as conjunction.

Explanation:

The correct formal structure of questions (interrogative sentence) of the past simple tense is:

auxiliary verb ➕ pronoun ➕ infinitive verb

and with Wh questions is:

Wh question (adverb) ➕ auxiliary verb ➕ pronoun ➕ infinitive verb

Therefore, the the correct formal interrogative sentence is:

Where did you save that file?


On the other hand, you can use in a statement (declarative sentence) that says:

I am not sure where you saved that file.

In this case, the word "where" is not used as wh question (=adverb) but as conjunction.

So in the end of the day, both are correct depending on the context.

Obviously, it is not possible to ask:

Where you saved that file? ❎

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