LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||09/SET/2005 9:29 AM|
I don't want to make things more confusing, but...there is more to these sentences than meets the eye.
(1b) Which team did win?
(2a) How many people work here?
(2b) How many people do work here?
(3a) How many people you see?
(3b) How many people do you see?
Questions (1a) and (2a) are correct, of course.
Questions (1b) and (2b) are common in spoken English. "Do" is often used in spoken English for emphasis in statements. When used in a question, often the speaker is repeating an unanswered question or requesting clarification. The "do" is usually stressed, pronounced a little more loudly than the other words in the sentence.
Statements with "do":
Frank: "Gentlemen do stand when ladies enter a room." (Regardless of what you may have learned at home, gentlemen rise when ladies enter.)
Jack, "But I do stand when ladies enter the room." (I assure you that I am a gentleman and I stand when a lady enters.)
Sally, "Do bring your sister to the party." (Here "do" is almost like "please".)
Bill, "Do sit down." (Here "do" is almost like "please".)
Questions with "do":
Mary - Which team won?
John - It was really close. Inter made a goal, Flamengo made one, Inter made another, then Flamengo scored again. Nobody could predict the ending score. Some thought Inter would win, and others thought that Flamengo would win.
Mary - Which team did win? (You're not answering my question, you idiot. I'm not asking about every goal in the game, I'm asking you a simple question. Which team won?)
John - How many people work here?
Mary - We used to have 55 workers. The manger thinks that there are 67 workers here now, but I know that number is wrong because I have a list of the names of all the employees.
John - How many people do work here? (Stop playing games with me. I want to know how many people are working here now, not how many were here yesterday and how many your boss says are here. How many people are working here right now?)
Question 3a is not correct, but you will hear it in very informal spoken English. Often the "do" is dropped. (Have you a match? Have you time for a coffee?) Correct? No. Will you hear it? Yes.
Years ago I read an interesting book by Toru Matsumoto entitled A Brother is a Stranger. In the book, Matsumoto leaves Japan for the USA in the 1930s. He thinks he speaks English until an American asks, "Gotta match?" Matsumoto was stunned. He was prepared for "Do you have a match?" but completely unprepared for street English.
Question 3b is correct. With "how" you use the auxiliary "do".
How do you know him?
How does she use this machine?
How do you bake a cake?
How does he make bricks?
How do they plant corn?
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