I wonder whether it would be grammatical to pose a question in the form "A is B?" in cases where it is obvious it is a question rather than a statement?

To what extent such sentences perceived incorrect by the native speakers?

  • 1
    The usual form would be "Is A B?", though. E.g. "Is he ill?"
    – MSalters
    Oct 12, 2014 at 14:13
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    I think that in Indian English, questions are quite commonly not marked by inversion regardless of context. But in English as spoken in (for example) US, UK, Australia and NZ, questions without inversion are strange outside of limited contexts, as StoneyB explains below.
    – user230
    Oct 12, 2014 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


It is acceptable, but it is not used to request new information: it is idiomatic only when when it requests confirmation either of what you have just heard or of an inference from what you have just heard. Some typical uses:

A: Hal just told me that Kelly got the promotion.
B: Kelly Carson's the new Director of Marketing?
A: Yeah, who'da thunk it!

A: Then you lock down the set screw—
B: You lock it down here?
A: No, here.

A: I'm heading out now, gotta get downtown.
B: You've got tickets to the game?
A: Right behind home plate.

As you see, this sort of question calls for a yes-or-no answer.

  • Thanks, I had in mind "I need to take a bicycle" - "You car is broke?". Actually we were taught in English classes that in any English question the verb precedes the object.
    – Anixx
    Oct 12, 2014 at 12:49
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    @Anixx That example would be acceptable because it asks for confirmation of your inference that he needs to bike because his car is broken. But if your question introduces a new topic into the discourse, it requires the ordinary form with subject/auxiliary inversion. Oct 12, 2014 at 12:54
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    @Anixx: It would have to be "Your car is broken?". ""Being broke" means "having no money" which doesn't make sense for cars. The usual question would be "Your car broke?", though.
    – MSalters
    Oct 12, 2014 at 14:12
  • "Your car broke down?" would be even more usual.
    – The Photon
    Oct 13, 2014 at 1:01

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