In a cartoon (Finding Nemo) I heard an interesting phrase:

I've seen a boat. - You have?

I was wondering what the phrase ''You have?'' could be from a grammatical standpoint. It's a sentence, but a half of it is dropped which makes it incomplete. It's a question, but the word order is the one of an affirmative sentence.

After some research I came to think that it could be a follow-up question, BUT a grammatically correct follow-up question should be ''Have you?''. Is the phrase ''You have?'' a follow-up question that is also a statement question or there's a simpler explanation to all of this? Could that be a case of conversational deletion?

1 Answer 1


Your example is a statement question, which means any question with the grammatical structure of a statement but a question mark (in writing) or rising tone (in speech) that otherwise indicates a question. They are commonly used to express surprise at or disbelief in what the other person said or did; you are literally questioning it by stating it as a question. Compare:

  • Have you seen a boat? (normal)
  • You have seen a boat? (statement)

It is also a follow-up question because it isn’t a complete sentence and therefore depends on the previous statement to supply the missing parts:

  • I saw a boat!
  • You have [seen a boat]?
  • Thank you for your answer. So, ''You have?'' is a statement question? Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 15:36
  • @LittleHedgehog Yes. And note that you just used one there too!
    – StephenS
    Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 15:43
  • :) Yeah, I did. There's one thing I still don't fully grasp (I hope I'm not too bothering :D). ''You have?'' has the rest of the sentence missing. Is it ellipsis or a follow-up question (that is also a statement question)? Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 15:56
  • @LittleHedgehog Added that above
    – StephenS
    Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 16:09

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