For example in the following sentence it seems like do could be omitted:

"Is it OK if we don't talk today? Or do you need to chat about something?"

So that this would seem appropriate, maybe:

"Is it OK if we don't talk today? Or you need to chat about something?"

1 - Is it ok to omit it? If not, why?

Furthermore, regarding the same sentence, what is more appropriate? Anything or something?

"Is it OK if we don't talk today? Or do you need to chat about anything?"

would be better?

2 - Any change of meaning? Or tone? Or grammatical problem?


1 Answer 1


Colloquially, we do sometimes express questions simply by tone of voice, without the inversion normally required. So

You want to chat about something?

is a perfectly good colloquial question. A neutral (less colloquial) form would be

Do you want to chat about something?

But where the modal is need, I find this option much less natural, possibly because talking about what somebody needs is generally less formal than what they want. So to me,

Or you need to chat about something?

sounds a bit odd, though not impossible.

As for the difference between something and anything: the difference is very slight. If you use something, you are suggesting that the other person has something in particular that they want to discuss. If you use anything, you are not making such a suggestion.

Edit: I don't find the question of whether the topic has been raised previously to be of any relevance at all to the question.

  • Thanks. I commented about it having been raised in the other topic because sometimes people complain about duplicates. So I thought I would just announce the reason why I am still asking it again. Oct 29, 2019 at 6:01
  • @HomeroEsmeraldo: my edit was in response to "when the topic has been raised in a previous sentence" in the title of your question.
    – Colin Fine
    Oct 29, 2019 at 14:45
  • hm, I see. The thing is that for me, when the 'or' is in the sentence, it sounds a bit too much to put the 'do' there. But I guess I have to get used to it. Oct 29, 2019 at 17:01
  • 1
    @HomeroEsmeraldo: our intuitions from another language are often not helpful. But the "do" often does not take a whole syllable: in many circumstances, the phrase will come out as /d͡ʒu ni:d/
    – Colin Fine
    Oct 30, 2019 at 12:32

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