1) Which part don't you understand?
2) Which part you don't understand?

I'm getting a little confused here. According to my understanding of this source I should use the subject form when the answer is Subject and the object form when the answer is object. So, if my answer is "I don't understand the first part" then the 1st is correct and if my answer is just "The first part." then 2nd is correct, right?

  • possible duplicate of What is the correct sentence: “Who are we?” or “Who we are?”. In this case your first version is correct (the standard subject/verb order of you don't is reversed in questions). The second version, (using the standard word order), includes an noun phrase which can be either a subject or an object - "The [part you don't understand] is [this]" or "I will explain the [part you don't understand]" – FumbleFingers Mar 13 '14 at 14:11
  • In English, subject form and object form are terms which have meaning only with respect to a few pronouns: I/me, he/him, she/her, we/us, they/them, who/whom, and the last is gradually disappearing. The distinction does not come into play here. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 13 '14 at 14:33
  • I know the rule but i was referring to this : englishgrammar.org/subject-object-question – user2747502 Mar 13 '14 at 15:18
  • 2
    So, if my answer is [A] then the 1st is correct and if my answer is [B] then 2nd is correct, right? Grammatical correctness of the question never depends on the answer. For a start, the answer is not necessarily known to the person asking the question. – starsplusplus Mar 13 '14 at 15:23
  • Ah, now your question makes sense! I have taken the liberty of adding that link to your question. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 13 '14 at 15:26

The rule is that you reverse the verb and the pronoun in a question, usually with the verb "do" used as an auxiliary. Therefore, your first sentence is correct, and your second sentence is incorrect as a question.

While something like "Which part of 'no' don't you understand?" is indeed a way of expressing anger in a sarcastic manner, there are many other uses of this sentence. A simple example:

I don't understand one part of this.
Which part don't you understand?

  • 3
    And yet we would say "Which part do you not understand", not "Which part do not you understand". – nxx Mar 13 '14 at 15:24
  • 1
    @nxx True. Same is true for many contractions in questions: we "bring the pieces together" to make the contraction. "Can you not see it?" Becomes "Can't you see it?" "Why are you not here?" becomes "Why aren't you here?" Etc. I can't think of an example of this that isn't a question, but maybe I'm just not thinking hard enough. – Jay Mar 13 '14 at 16:22
  • @Jay: Or maybe you're thinking [, but] not hard enough. – FumbleFingers Mar 13 '14 at 23:23

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