Asking questions with intonation only.

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space cowboy

Senior Member
I've noticed that in spoken speech it is often possible to drop some auxillaries at the beginning of the sentence, i.g.:

Do you play the Theremin? ---> You play the Theramin?

Are you talking to us ---> You talking to us?

However, I've also noticed that sometimes there is just intonation that is changed to make a question and the word order basically remains intact:

She's treating you ok? - instead of - Is she treating you ok? or She treating your ok?

Can you somehow comment on this?
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Intonation is one of the well established ways to ask questions and it is good that you have noticed this.

    It should be 'You're talking to us?'


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Both those methods are possible. Intonation change is often associated with surprise, or checking something you just heard:

    - I play the theremin, as a matter of fact.
    - You play the theremin?

    Pronouns and auxiliaries can be casually dropped at the beginning of a sentence. The result tends to be that when I'm telling you something, the subject is often 'I' (Got a flat tyre this morning), and when I'm asking something - as I don't know - the subject is 'you' (Got any matches?). 'Play the theremin?' might be idly wondering or hoping that you do (as we happen to have a theremin here handy, and I'd like to hear what it sounds like), not surprise or checking.
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