0

I think all declarative sentences can be transformed into Yes/No questions as well as wh-questions (look at the following examples).

I can't think of any exceptions, can you?

Examples:

  • It is a bag.

    • Is it a bag?

    • What is it?

  • The book is in the bag.

    • Is the book in the bag?

    • Where is the book?

  • 3
    I'm wondering why people want to close this. It's a perfectly understandable question and isn't proofreading or anything. – It's Over Aug 10 '15 at 14:08
  • @inɒzɘmɒЯ.A.M: My closevote is for lack of prior research. It shouldn't take long to establish that "a sentence" may make many simultaneous assertions (witness Jay's answer). Take a well-known (very short) one - I think, therefore I am. How would you go about unambiguously converting that to a question? Should you be asking for confirmation of whether Descartes actually thinks at all, or whether his assertion that thinking entails existing is an unassailable fact (I assume we can dismiss the possibility of asking for confirmation that he "exists"). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 10 '15 at 14:54
  • I think this question is fine, even if it is trivial to a native speaker. – Aaron Brown Aug 10 '15 at 15:18
  • With past-tense statements (e.g. I ate the apple) you will have to use "did" as a helper verb for the yes/no version: "Did you eat the apple?" and you can ask "Who ate the apple?". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 10 '15 at 15:32
  • It's actually not trivial at all. But there are many times when declarative main clauses don't have interrogative equivalents or vice versa, for example when they contain polarity items allowed in one but not the other. Compare interrogative Have you finished yet? with declarative *You have finished yet. (You can make this grammatical by replacing yet with already, but that isn't a declarative version of the original.) – snailcar Aug 10 '15 at 16:42
4

Probably technically true, but the questions might be very akward.

Easy ones:

"I am going to the store." -> "Are you going to the store?"

"The box is on the shelf." -> "Is the box on the shelf?"

But with more complex sentences it can get pretty twisted.

"Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both the Rhine River and the English Channel when he built a bridge across the Rhine and conducted the first invasion of Britain, achievements which granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse the standing of Pompey, who had realigned himself with the Senate after the death of Crassus in 53 BC." I suppose that could become, "Did Caesar become the first Roman general to cross both the Rhine River and the English channel by building a bridge across the Rhine and conducting the first invasion of Britain, achievements which, if he had done them, would have granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse the standing of Pompey, who had realigned himself with the Senate after the death of Crass in 53 BC?"

Grammatically correct, I suppose, but ...

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.