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Can I transform the follwing sentence into a yes/no question in that manner:

Sentence: the president thought that a sandwich sighed .

Yes/No question: Has the president thought that a sandwich sighed ?

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    How can a sandwich sigh?
    – BillJ
    May 2 at 9:56
  • The meaning is not important. Only the grammar.
    – Dan798
    May 2 at 9:59
  • Your sentence is ungrammatical, so it is important. The verb "sigh" does not license a subject like "sandwich".
    – BillJ
    May 2 at 10:04

1 Answer 1

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What a ridiculous sentence! Sandwiches don't sigh!!!

When we talk about "transformations" we usually mean simple grammatical manipulations that can be applied automatically.

You have made two transformations. You have taken the original

The president thought ....

Then transformed from the past tense to present perfect

The president has thought ....

And transformed that to a question:

Has the president thought ...

So you have made a yes/no question, but not the one that the teacher is expecting. Moreover the verb "think" (meaning believe) is not normally used in the present perfect. So "The president has thought..." is already odd and not idiomatic. (You can use "have thought" when it means ponder but not when it means believe)

(On the other hand the idea of sandwiches sighing is already so odd that this extra bit of oddity might be ignored)

There are lots of other transformations you could make:

Is the president thinking ...

Does the president think ...

Is the sandwich thought by the president to have sighed?

Etc. However, only one answer involves simply changing the past tense statement to a past tense question

Did the president think ...

And that is the only answer that will get you marks.

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  • A Brit who was alive in the 1970s might think that a British Rail sandwich might have sighed before it expired, but train passengers only encountered them long after that time. May 2 at 8:14

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