A woman's boss invited her to attend some business dinner and she asked

and I fit into this how?

Is it same with

How do I fit into this?


Expressing a question by using the normal word order for a statement but adding the appropriate question word at the end is a common, but not usual way of doing things. It is more common in some dialects, including some ethnic communities in English-speaking countries, and more uncommon in some other dialects.

In the increasingly popular "average English" that seems to be becoming more common in culturally European English-speaking countries, it is mostly used to express to express scepticism that the question will have an acceptable answer. This usage usually involves the question starting with and. For example:

And people get into the building where?

This might be asked by someone who's been shown a mock-up of a new building, or floor plans, and there is no obvious entrance.

And you are telling me this why?

This might be asked by someone who's just received information from someone, and they can see no reason that the person thought they should be given the information.

And I will buy this food with what?

This might be asked by someone who's been instructed to buy food, but not given the money to buy it. If it would be reasonable for them to be expected to pay for it themselves, it might be a pointed reminder that they could pay for it themselves if they weren't broke.

And I will be able to understand him how?

This might be asked by someone who has been told to go speak to someone who doesn't speak the same language as them.

There may be a pause immediately before the question word, but this is not essential.

Hopefully, those examples and explanations will help make things clearer.

  • 1
    Going back to the OP's question (and I fit into this how?), that wording hints that the person who was invited to the dinner not only doesn't understand why it would be a good idea for her to attend, but she's even a bit skeptical that it would be a good idea for her to go. – J.R. Feb 20 at 22:39

You are correct. It is idiomatic (a "way we say things") to use question words (how, where, when, why, what, etc.) at the end of a sentence. The sentence is always reversible.

And I fit into this how? = How do I fit into this?

And you want me to be where? = Where do you want me to be?

You want to do what? = What do you want to do?


  • if you add that the use is not the the most usual way of asking / of forming questions, I give you my upvote. Maybe provide a short explanation of how the question is formed in this case. – virolino Feb 19 at 10:56
  • @virolino that isn't what the OP asked. Nor is the fact that this construction is popularly used in a sarcastic manner, leading to a lengthy discussion of mood and intent. This is ELL.SE. Answers that thorough belong on English Language & Usage. – JBH Feb 19 at 15:49
  • This use of how is common but it is somewhat recent. But an essential part of it is that it is definitely sarcastic or even, at times, downright nasty. – Lambie Feb 20 at 17:37
  • All answers on Stack Exchange sites are encouraged to include explanations and support their assertions as appropriate. I think your understanding of the difference between EL&U and ELL isn't correct. You may want to read some of the meta discussions on the differences like this one: What is the difference between the “English Language & Usage” and “English Language Learners”? – ColleenV Feb 20 at 17:38
  • I agree with what @Lambie said, and maybe that ought to be emphasized even more (if not in this answer, perhaps in another, more detailed answer). By using an equals sign, you make it look like these questions are pretty much interchangeable, but I don't think they are. On my first day at a new job, I might ask my boss, "What do you want me to do?" but I would not ask, "You want me to do what?" (except maybe if he had already told me but I had trouble hearing him, but, even in that case, there are probably better ways to ask that question to an authority figure). – J.R. Feb 20 at 18:54

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