What did they do about the problem?

I think the structure of the sentence is like the following:

  • Subject = they

  • Verb = do

  • Object = What

  • Adverbial = about the problem

Is it correct? Please explain it to me.

  • It is a question about a past action, hence the full verb is "did do", with inversion of the normal subject-verb-object order. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 31 '16 at 13:34
  • Yes, essentially. The dummy auxiliary "did" is also a verb. – BillJ Jul 31 '16 at 16:59

What did they do about the problem?

What= Relative pronoun serving as an object (they did do [what])

Did= Auxiliary Do

They= Subject

Do= Verb

About = Preposition

Problem= Object of preposition


About the problem= Adverbial phrase modifying verb "do"

We can see that as TRomano said, there is inversion.

  • I'd say that interrogative "what" is object of "do", not a relative pronoun. They did what about the problem? – BillJ Jul 31 '16 at 17:02

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