What is the grammatical structure of the second sentence? What is the indicative form would be? Is it equivalent to "What function or use they have in our lives?

But why do we have to have feelings? What function or use are they in our lives?

Cooper, A., & Redfern, S. (2015). Reflective parenting: A guide to understanding what's going on in your child's mind. Routledge.

1 Answer 1


By the book, what is correct is "what function do they have?" Something has a function or something functions as X. Also, there's the construction "The function of feelings is to...." This sentence is using a different idiom, and it comes from the inclusion of the word "use." An English idiom is "what use is it trying to argue with you?" That's using the word "is" with "use" in a different way that would normally be used--I consider this to be a very colloquial phrasing, and it's essentially taking license with wording. So that's basically what's happening here--it's not really about the indicative.

  • Thanks a lot. Isn't there an indicative mood of the sentence (or the idiom you mentioned)? I mean, If you want to transform it to the indicative mood (without changing the idiomatic and colloquial form), how do you do that?
    – user52346
    Mar 30, 2022 at 0:45

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