Why is it correct to say: "Does something interest you" but not "Do you interest something"? But when we ask for example "Do you want to ask him" and "Does he want to ask me" are correct. Or does it depend on word or on word with a preposition?

I understand that "are you interested in this" is correct but that one I don't.

I just can't understand the certain rule about it, can you help me? I would like a detailed answer if it's possible.

1 Answer 1


Do you interest something? is a perfectly grammatical sentence. It often doesn't make much sense, but that's simply because of the meaning of the verb interest.


transitive verb

1 : to engage the attention or arouse the interest of
2 : to induce or persuade to participate or engage


So, I interest him means I make him interested. That's a grammatical and sensible sentence. I interest rock music is grammatical, but since rock music doesn't have any feelings, it doesn't make sense to suggest that rock music could be made interested in me.

This is no different than many other transitive verbs.

Consider: I paint the house as compared to the house paints me.

In some other languages, the object of the sentence would be marked somehow, making the word order more flexible, allowing sentences like:

I paint the house-object and the house-object paint I.

But since English has such a limited case system, we rely more heavily on word order. The subject tends to precede the verb, which tends to be followed by the object.

  • thanks, do you have some article about it? I don't where I can get one.
    – Boyep
    Jan 3, 2020 at 19:47
  • 1
    About the word interest or about English word order? Here are a couple of articles about word order "The Importance of Word Order in English", "Word Order in English". If you have more questions about the word interest, you can either try asking here, or make another question, if it's different enough.
    – Juhasz
    Jan 3, 2020 at 19:58
  • I searched for such words as this one with question construction like that and I didn't find anything. Can you help me? I really appreciate it.
    – Boyep
    Jan 3, 2020 at 22:29
  • 1
    I can try to help @Boyep, but I don't know what you need help with. Do you still need an answer to the original question, or do you have another question? If you still need an answer to the original question, is there some part of this answer that you don't understand?
    – Juhasz
    Jan 4, 2020 at 0:16
  • 1
    @Boyep, it seems to me that you're asking about the difference between "I am interested in something" and "Something interests me." If so, you could try researching the difference between the "passive voice" and "active voice."
    – Juhasz
    Jan 5, 2020 at 0:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .