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Thread: What does X mean? vs. What X means?

  1. #1
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    What does X mean? vs. What X means?

    Quando si chiede il significato di qualcosa mi è capitato di sentire entrambe queste espressioni:
    - What does R.S.V.P. mean?
    - What R.S.V.P. means?

    Sono entrambe corrette grammaticalmente parlando?

  2. #2
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    Re: What does R.S.V.P. mean? v. What R.S.V.P. means?

    Salve

    La prima è grammaticalmente corretta; la seconda, da sola, non è corretta, ma potrebbe essere corretta se va inserita in una domanda indiretta: ad esempio, "Could you tell me what RSVP means?". Dove hai sentito la seconda espressione e/o chi l'ha detto/scritto? E' madrelingua inglese?

  3. #3
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    Re: What does X mean? vs. What X means?

    Tuna ha detto benissimo. Io aggiungo soltanto che un'espressione come "What R.S.V.P. means" (ma senza punto interrogativo) è molto comune nei titoli dei capitoli e dei sottocapitoli d'un testo. E' lo stesso uso di cui parla Tuna, colla differenza che qui la parte "Can you tell me" è "cancellata". Naturalmente la traduzione è sempre " Cosa significa RSVP". Altri esempi:
    "What mathematics is"
    "Who Jimmy Dean really was"
    e via inventando.

    Saluti.

    GS
    Last edited by Giorgio Spizzi; 30th August 2011 at 5:19 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: What does X mean? vs. What X means?

    E già che ci siamo aggiungiamo un'alta cosa: il pronome IT non è messo li a caso tanto per portare via un po' di spazio. Si chiamano pronomi perchè si usano AL POSTO dei nomi, quindi non posso mettere un sostantivo e anche il suo pronome nella stessa frase!!
    (Non si fa nemmeno in italiano, allora perchè dovremmo farlo in inglese?)

    Cosa significa X?

    What does it means X? NO
    What does it mean X? NO
    What does X means? NO
    What does X mean? YES

    Brevity is the soul of wit - Le persone intelligenti hanno il dono della concisione

  5. #5
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    Re: What does R.S.V.P. mean? v. What R.S.V.P. means?

    Pensandoci su un attimo, mi viene da aggiungere che la frase "What R.S.V.P. means?" (col punto interrogativo) potrebbe anche essere una di quelle che vanno sotto il nome di "echo questions". Esempio: Jo dice " I wonder what RSVP means", e Joe risponde "What R.S.V.P. means? It means: Répondez s'il vous plait, that's what it means ".

    GS

    Ai moderatori: Scusatemi ma non sono riuscito ad aggiungere questo supplemento al post precedente perché quando ho battuto su "edit reply", mi è comparsa diverse volte a schermo una domanda "Vuoi veramente abbandonare questa pagina?".

  6. #6
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    Re: What does X mean? vs. What X means?

    "I would like to know what does it means RSVP."
    "I would like to know what does it mean RSVP."
    "I would like to know what does RSVP means."
    "I would like to know what does RSVP mean."
    "I would like to know what means RSVP."
    "I would like to know what RSVP means."
    It's the short words that get you.

  7. #7
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    Re: What does X mean? vs. What X means?

    Ciao, M-7.

    In realtà, nessuna frase interrogativa inglese inizia con un verbo (questo succede in tedesco e in altre lingue germaniche), ma piuttosto con un ausiliare. Il verbo invece ama restare alla destra del soggetto della frase. Gli ausiliari sono un set chiuso, che può essere facilmente memorizzato: do does did, have has, had, am is are was were, can could may might shall should will would must (secondo taluni anche "ought"). Fine della trasmissione.

    Cordialmente.

    GS

  8. #8
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    Re: What does X mean? vs. What X means?

    Something to help remember word order in direct questions:

    (Qu)ASI/Quasi
    (Question word/interrogative pronoun), Auxiliary, Subject, Infinitve (for the present simple and past simple only)

    i.e. (Qu)What (A)does (S)XXX (I)mean?

    (except the verb "be", for which you invert subject and verb to make a question. Modals (will, can etc) are considered auxiliaries in this scheme).


    And (Qu)ASV: Question word), Auxiliary, Subject, Verb (main verb, in whatever form the context requires)

    e.g (Qu)Where (A)have (S)you (V)been (all my life)?

    In indirect questions, or reported questions (reported speech), the pattern is

    Could you tell me/I'd like to know/he asked/she wanted to know...Question word - Subject - Verb (i.e. no auxiliary, no inversion). If you are asking a question to which the answer is only "yes" or "no", the question word will be "if" or "whether".

    "Could you tell me (Qu)when (S)the bank (V)opens?"

    "She asked him (Qu)if (S)he (V)had car insurance."

  9. #9
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    Re: What does X mean? vs. What X means?

    Quote Originally Posted by Giorgio Spizzi View Post
    Ciao, M-7.

    In realtà, nessuna frase interrogativa inglese inizia con un verbo (questo succede in tedesco e in altre lingue germaniche), ma piuttosto con un ausiliare
    Good morning.

    What about questions such as "Who lives here?"?
    It's the short words that get you.

  10. #10
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    Re: What does X mean? vs. What X means?

    Acute question, sound.

    Your sentence is a perfect illustration of the English "principle" by which the Verb follows the Subject — or, if you prefer: The order SV is the norm. When this happens the language dispenses with auxiliaries, the sequence being that of a statement. You can always substitute "Jack the Ripper" for "Who" and you get a statement of fact).

    All the best.

    GS

  11. #11
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    Re: What does X mean? vs. What X means?

    Quote Originally Posted by sound shift View Post
    Good morning.

    What about questions such as "Who lives here?"?
    In this case, the question (Who?) is about the subject. "Who lives here?" "Mark lives here." (compare "Where does Mark live?" "Mark lives in France." i.e. the answer is not the subject but the indirect object - extra information about the subject). Other subject questions: "What has 8 legs and lives in the ocean?" - "An octopus...".

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