Could you please help me understand whether I've got to use the usual word order or the question word order in these two situations, and most importantly why. Please, give me some guidance.

A: Hello, mate! Very good to see you.
B: Hi, how are you doing? Nice to see you too.
A: Is that the outfit that you'll be wearing today?
B: It is actually. Yeah. You don't like it? / Don't you like it?

C: Do you like pizza? 
D: No, I don't. 
C: (You're surprised and say:) You don't like pizza? / Don't you like pizza?
  • 2
    To form a question in formal English, you invert the subject and verb. In speech however, you can ask a question using the normal subject verb word order, with a rising question intonation. Both forms are common in speech. There is also a general sense of surprise/disbelief when you don't use the inversion.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Apr 9 at 11:56
  • You want to say that there's no difference in meaning between "You don't like it?", "Don't you like it?" and "Do you not like it?"? Commented Apr 9 at 12:01
  • There is a difference. I've just explained it.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Apr 9 at 12:02
  • So, the whole difference boils down to formal/informal English? If not, then I would've said that you tried to explain it (not explained). Commented Apr 9 at 12:07
  • Yes, kind of. A question in the inverted word order is more neutral. It's just a question, with no display of emotion or surprise. A question not inverted is not rude or anything like that, but it is loaded. It's a bit like saying "I can't believe it, really?".
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Apr 9 at 12:09

1 Answer 1


A question can be asked in the form of a statement (I assume that's what you mean by 'the usual word order'). The speaker's tone of voice indicates that it is intended as a question.

In your two examples, the use of this type of question indicates surprise. A's question "Is that the outfit you'll be wearing today?" hints that they may think that the outfit is unsuitable; B's response implies "Do you mean that you don't like it?"

Since C has already asked "Do you like pizza?", it would be odd to then ask "Don't you like pizza?"

  • > It would be odd to then ask "Don't you like pizza?". But it wouldn't be odd to ask "You don't like pizza?", did I understand correctly? Why? Commented Apr 9 at 12:07
  • Because, as I and Billy said, a question in this form implies surprise/disbelief. "Are you really telling me that you don't like pizza?" Commented Apr 9 at 13:17
  • If C asked "Don't you like pizza?", D would be puzzled or annoyed. "Why are you asking me again? I've just told you that I don't like it." Commented Apr 9 at 13:24
  • yes, but that doesn't explain why D wouldn't be puzzled or annoyed if C asked "You don't like pizza?". See? Commented Apr 9 at 14:13
  • I explained that in my previous comment! C is asking again in a way that indicates surprise. "You really don't like pizza?" "No, because I've never liked cheese." Commented Apr 9 at 15:27

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