I heard someone saying "what is (something) stand for?" and another question format "how is this happen?"

Are these questions grammatically correct?

  • Did you hear or see these sentences?
    – athlonusm
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 8:46
  • I heard them in a lecture. do you think I heard them wrong? and there is nothing like this in English? If yes, please let me know the correct format.
    – Hend Makky
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 8:51
  • 1
    It would have to be "How does this happen?" or "How is this happening?" Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 9:36
  • @KateBunting Or probably "How did this happen?"
    – Bella Swan
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 11:51

1 Answer 1


You probably misheard your sentences. They are grammatically incorrect. Both is should be does since both stand and happen are verbs, not adjectives or participles.

What does NHL stand for?
* What is NHL stand for?

If we turn these two questions into statements, we'll get:

NHL stands for the National Hockey League.
* NHL is stand for the National Hockey League.

Again, since stand is a verb, only the first sentence is correct.

In fast speech, I think what does might indeed sound somewhat like what is (and vice versa), especially in American English, where a T between two vowel sounds is often pronounced more like a soft D.

  • Thank you. That was extremely helpful. I always try to do exactly the same, when you turned the question into a statement and it, of course, didn't make sense to me but I was just sure I heard it that way. Anyway, the lecturer accent indeed was American so I most probably misheard it :) thanks again.
    – Hend Makky
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 9:54
  • @HendMakky Welcome to ELL. If this answer helped you, then you can reward the answerer by clicking the tick mark on the left. It will turn green, which means you "accept" this answer. You don't have to accept it, but it is a good thing to do when answers are helpful. :)
    – AIQ
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 10:10
  • @HendMakky You may have heard What's it stand for?, which in this case expands into what does. But there's a good chance you simply misheard does as is because the t and the d at the end of what and the beginning of does may melt into a single sound when the speaker is being lazy or when they talk fast (i.e. what this answer says).
    – user3395
    Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 17:34

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