2

What is more rightful/ natural sentence structure:

I could not even describe how I was surprised when I found these books.

vs

I could not even describe how surprised I was when I found these books.

Thanks

  • I personally think the second sounds more natural. I'd also move "even" after "not". – Victor Bazarov Oct 11 '15 at 12:09
  • For sure, if i had to speak with someone i would use the second phrase just because it seams more natural but you need to put the verb after the pronoun so i will go for the first one. – jr28 Oct 11 '15 at 12:32
  • The first one might be ok. But it reminds me of a much older style of speaking. – shawnt00 Oct 12 '15 at 17:57
5

How I was surprised - It shows "in what way" or "by which method" you are surprised. How surprised I was - It shows "to what extent" you are surprised.

1

In a statement, you can apply the "how" to three different things in that phrase "I was surprised":

  1. The whole phrase "I was surprised", referring to how it came to be that you were surprised. The order of the words is kept the same:

    how I was surprised

  2. The word "surprised", referring to the extent to which you were surprised. The word "surprised" must be moved next to the "how" for this to be understood:

    how surprised I was

  3. The word "I", referring to the fact that it was you in particular that was surprised. The word "I" must be moved next to the "how", but as it turns out, it already is. To distinguish from example 1, you must emphasize the word "I":

    how I was surprised

In your example sentence, it seems you want to refer to the extent to which you were surprised, so you want example 2, "how surprised I was".

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