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Which one is correct and why ?

  1. How old do you think Steve is?

  2. How old do you think is Steve?

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  • Which do you think is correct and why? What research have you done? This is a very basic question.
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 15:34
  • First ,I know that we say "how old are you" , We put the auxiliary before the subject , But I have heard it like this : "How old do you think Steve is?" , So I am not sure which one is correct.
    – user98953
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 15:39
  • @Lambie It's easy to say which is correct...but can you say why? That's a bit more complicated. I started to write an answer but was stymied by the why.
    – Kyralessa
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 15:44

1 Answer 1

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Speech: How old is Steve?

The inversion with think:

How old do you think Steve is?

The inversion in the question is for the verb think, not be.

The car is really very old.

Why do you think the car is very old?

The question concerns another verb and not the statement: the car is very old.

Compare: Is the car very old? That takes the inversion.

If there is a statement about something and you make a question from it using What, How, When, Why etc., it is the verb following those words that become inverted and not the verb in the statement.

  • They are very rich people. [statement]

  • Why do you think they are very rich people? [the statement remains the same.] The question is asked with "Why do you think", which is inverted.

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  • So If we have more than one verb ,We just invert the first one like : "I went to see what was going on outside because I heard a noise." >> Did you go to see what was going on when you heard a noise ? Or "I feel I need a doctor" >> Do you feel you need a doctor ?
    – user98953
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 16:02
  • @user98953 Yes, right.
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 16:11
  • Thank you very much ^_^ This helped me a lot.
    – user98953
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 16:26
  • @user98953 Glad to be of service. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 16:33
  • Which order should be called "inverted"? The order that seems natural to me is "Steve is." Steve is old. I think that Steve is old. Do you think that Steve is old? How do you know that Steve is old? The verb-first order "is Steve" seems inverted. In your answer, you describe "How old do you think Steve is?" and "Is the car very old?" as inverted, although one (Steve is) seems to be subject-verb while the other (Is the car) seems to be verb-subject.
    – Chaim
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 16:54

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