As I know, I can start an interrogative sentence with "How" for proposing questions like:

  1. How fast does this car go?
  2. How much does this car cost?

Can I start a declarative sentence or a phrase with "How" to refer to amount or quality of something?

  1. How fast this car goes has not been tested. (I want to say the amount of speed that this car can go has not been tested.)
  1. How much this car costs depends on options. (I want to say the amount of money that this car costs depends on options.)

Are the third and fourth sentences grammatically correct? Do they convey the meaning that I want to say?

  • (Just to get ahead of it: This is not a question about the rhetorical construction that uses "How" in an exclamation or observation, like "How long your ears are, granny!" or "How green was my valley" or "How doth the little crocodile improve his shining tail.") Oct 11, 2021 at 17:36
  • Also, just thinking out loud: Does it matter if the example sentences 3 and 4 are re-ordered to put the "how" phrases in the middle of the sentence? "We have not tested how fast this car goes." "Several options determine how much this car costs." Oct 11, 2021 at 17:37
  • Yes: "how fast this car goes" and "how much this car costs" would be subordinate interrogative clauses (embedded questions). The latter, for example, means "The answer to the question 'How much does this car cost?' depends on options.'"
    – BillJ
    Oct 11, 2021 at 17:44

1 Answer 1


Yes, as BillJ says in the comments, 3 and 4 are correct. However, in terms of common speech, they do sound slightly unnatural to native speakers. This problem is usually solved by putting a clarifying word in front of "how."

3: Precisely how fast this car goes has not been tested.

4: Exactly how much this car costs depends on options.

Or, they sound more natural in a future tense:

3: How fast this car goes has not yet been tested.

4: How much this car costs would depend on options.

  • I want to use these sentences in a formal writing. Are they also unnatural in formal writings?
    – alireza
    Oct 12, 2021 at 6:40
  • The same suggestions would apply to formal writing in this case. Oct 12, 2021 at 16:58

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