There are two men talking. One man smelled a fishy smell and grumbled about it. And the other man didn't smell it. So the second man said, "What are you saying stinks?"

Is the sentence "What are you saying stinks?" correct in this situation? Or in this situation, we should say "What are you saying the stench comes from?" or "Where are you saying the stench comes from?"

  • Do you want the second man to ascertain the source of the smell? Like "What is the source of the stench?", "Where do you think is the source of the stench?" – CowperKettle Oct 10 '15 at 8:27
  • Sounds like a translation from a foreign language. – rogermue Oct 10 '15 at 16:36

The sentence

What are you saying stinks?

makes perfect sense.

To understand it easier, you can convert it into a declarative statement:

You are saying something stinks.

Here, "something" takes place of the interrogative "what". If the sentence is still a bit awkward, then perhaps add a conjunction:

You are saying that something stinks.

To make an interrogative statement out of that (about 'something'), you change "something" back to "what", move it to the beginning, then reverse the subject-predicate pair:

What are you saying that stinks?

As you can see the only difference with the original question is the "that", which we put in front of "stinks". Its position is not obvious, although does become clear once you perform that mental juggling.


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