Auxiliaries??

Artrella

Banned
BA
Spanish-Argentina
Hello people!

I would like that English speaking natives give me their opinion about the real use of auxiliaries in questions. I have noticed the lack of auxiliaries in questions in everyday speech. I do it myself even though I am learning English and I am supposed to speak it in a correct fashion.
I talk with English people, Irish people and American people and at times they say for instance:

You want me to send you an e-mail?

You know this phrase?


Of course this is not that frequent with "wh" questions (Where he works?). I also hear this kind of questions in films of American/British origin.

Do you think the use of "auxiliaries" is waning?

Thank you (if there are mistakes in my post, please correct them for me) :p
 
  • garryknight

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Where I come from you're more likely to hear something like "D'ya want me to send you an e-mail?". The pronunciation of "D'ya" is like the first syllable of the word "jermaine" but slightly shorter. Sometimes the 'j' sound is so short that you really have to listen closely to detect it. So it sometimes sounds as is people are saying "Ya want me to send you an e-mail?". And as for "Where he works?", you're more likely to hear "Where's he work?" - the 'does' has shrunk down to the letter 's'.

    Of course, the word 'have' is shortened to 'v' as in "I've sent it". Maybe over time that will become "I sent it" but we might not notice since they're both well-formed sentences but with slightly different meanings. And "Have you sent it?" will probably eventually become 'You sent it?".

    And, while 'will' gets shortened to 'll, I think it's very unlikely that it will disappear altogether, for no other reason than that phrases like "I do it myself" aren't likely to be said by anyone (over the age of 5) with any education. Having said this, I can imagine someone in 50 years time laughing at my naivety.

    There are a couple of points about your choice of grammar:

    I would like that English speaking natives give me their opinion about the real use of auxiliaries in questions.

    I know we did the subjunctive again in a recent thread, but it sounds more natural (to me) to say "I would like the English-speaking natives to give me their opinion...". Also, notice that adjectival phrases should be hyphenated ("English-speaking"), although this seems to be falling out of favour a lot these days; so much so that I've seen examples where the resultant meaning is the opposite of the intended one. I can't think of them offhand, but to give you an idea, it's like the difference between a "man-eating tiger" (yum-yum, humans taste good) and a "man eating tiger" (yum-yum, tiger tastes good).

    I also hear this kind of questions in films of American/British origin.

    To be perfectly grammatically correct, it should be "this kind of question". It even sounds better this way. To me, at least...:)
     

    Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Artrella said:
    I do it myself even though I am learning English, and I am supposed to speak it in a correct fashion.
    In this sentence, you should not use "even though". You use "even though" when the second idea contradicts the first idea. Your first idea (using "Do", etc., in questions) is not the opposite of your second idea (speaking correctly because you are learning English). In this case, you should use "because".

    Examples:
    I like carrots even though I hate most vegetables.
    I can add even though I can't do very much math.
    Even though I can't read music, I can play "Sunshine On My Shoulders" on the piano.

    It is worth noting that many native speakers have trouble with this, and as such, it is found on many standardized English tests (such as college entrance examinations like the ACT).

    Also, there should be a comma before "and" because it is connecting two complete sentences (you can easily see this because there are two subjects).
    I like singing, and I like cooking. (comma because "I like cooking" is a complete sentence)
    I like singing and cooking. (no comma because "cooking" is not a complete sentence)

    Artrella said:
    Do you think the use of "auxiliaries" is waning?
    Now to answer the original question: No. I don't think the use of "auxiliaries" is changing. They are not always used, but I don't feel this is a change. To me, their [lack of] use has been consistent.

    I don't really have a preference of whether or not they are used. I usually use "do" (eg: "Do you have time to stop at the store?") but I usually drop "did". Note that with "do", you can drop it without changing the phrase at all but that when dropping "did", the verb must be changed to the past tense.
    Do you like to sing? --> You like to sing?
    Did you go to the store? --> You went to the store?
    Did you fly there? --> You flew there?

    It is not uncommon to find the "auxiliary" at the end of the question, especially in spoken English. I don't think it is grammatically correct, but neither is real life.
    You are going... where? (voice pitch goes up on "auxiliary")
    You got here... when? (voice pitch goes up on "auxiliary")
    You got here when... ? (voice pitch stays even on "auxiliary", this is asking a different question than the previous example)
    You are here because... why? (voice pitch goes up on "auxiliary")
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    That was a very interesting explanation, garryknight.

    I was wondering : in the examples quoted by Artrella, has the auxiliary really been dropped off or is it just a question made like a statement ? If you look at those sentences as statements, they are perfectly correct. Then, only the intonation would show that it's a question.
    Like John is at home? (with a rising intonation).
    But I don't know if such a question could be ever heard in english.
    I was thinking of that because it is extremely frequent in French, in spoken language, so it doesn't sound that strange to me. But perhaps it's totally unthinkable in english (?) That's for you to tell me.

    EDIT : Sorry, I saw Nick's answer only after posting mine
    (and his answer seems to go in my direction : obviously, when "did you go to the store ?" becomes "you went to the store ? ",(like in a statement)
    if it was just a question of the auxiliary being removed, then it would be "you go to the store ?")
     

    Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    LV4-26 said:
    That was a very interesting explanation, garryknight.

    I was wondering : in the examples quoted by Artrella, has the auxiliary really been dropped off or is it just a question made like a statement ? If you look at those sentences as statements, they are perfectly correct. Then, only the intonation would show that it's a question.
    Like John is at home? (with a rising intonation).
    But I don't know if such a question could be ever heard in english.
    I was thinking of that because it is extremely frequent in French, in spoken language, so it doesn't sound that strange to me. But perhaps it's totally unthinkable in english (?) That's for you to tell me.
    You are correct that it is the same as a statement. It is very common to do this in English, as is it in French. :)
     

    Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    LV4-26 said:
    EDIT : Sorry, I saw Nick's answer only after posting mine
    (and his answer seems to go in my direction : obviously, when "did you go to the store ?" becomes "you went to the store ? ",(like in a statement)
    if it was just a question of the auxiliary being removed, then it would be "you go to the store ?")
    "Did" is slightly different because it causes the sentence to be in the past.
    Did you eat? == You ate? (past simple) == Have you eaten? (present perfect)
    [Note that past simple is not always the same as present perfect, but it is the same in many cases.]

    "Do" can be removed without changing anything else.
    Do you sing? == You sing?
     

    garryknight

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    LV4-26 said:
    I was wondering : in the examples quoted by Artrella, has the auxiliary really been dropped off or is it just a question made like a statement ? If you look at those sentences as statements, they are perfectly correct. Then, only the intonation would show that it's a question.

    Because of the way English is constructed, usually when you turn a statement that contains auxiliary verbs into a question, the auxiliary verb moves to the front of the sentence. Or the word 'do' is used at the start of the sentence. So if you drop the auxiliary verb, leaving you with the original sentence (or something like it), then of course you have to rely on intonation to know whether it's a statement or a question.

    But Artrella's question was about the dropping of auxiliary verbs, as in her examples. And these:
    • You want to go to the cinema?
    • Got a pencil?
    Her examples and mine are questions because that's where you can notice the dropping of the auxiliary verb most of the time. But, as my earlier post shows, it's not the only place you see it: "I sent it", for example.

    As for Art's saying "I do it myself even though I am learning English", I'd use 'even though' myself as it signals a reversal of expectation: "I am learning English so I ought to be careful about how I construct English sentences but I still drop auxiliary verbs". In other words, the first part of her sentence contradicts the presupposition behind the second part.
     

    Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    garryknight said:
    As for Art's saying "I do it myself even though I am learning English", I'd use 'even though' myself as it signals a reversal of expectation: "I am learning English so I ought to be careful about how I construct English sentences but I still drop auxiliary verbs". In other words, the first part of her sentence contradicts the presupposition behind the second part.
    Ah. The sentence makes me think "I use auxiliary verbs myself because I am learning English and should be speaking correctly." The "it" is unclear. Well, either way, something has to change for clarity's sake.
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    Nick said:
    You are going... where? (voice pitch goes up on "auxiliary")
    You got here... when? (voice pitch goes up on "auxiliary")
    You got here when... ? (voice pitch stays even on "auxiliary", this is asking a different question than the previous example)
    You are here because... why? (voice pitch goes up on "auxiliary")

    Are you saying that where, when and why are auxiliary verbs--or are you saying your voice pitch goes up on the auxiliary verb?--(If that is the case, what is the auxiliary verb in the sentence, You got here when... ?)

    Artrella--
    I once had to do makeup for a play. The fellow I was supposed to make look like a "wise man from the East" was named Ben. I kept calling him Will, instead. All I could figure was that I had filed his name in the filing cabinet in my brain that was labeled Helping Verbs (auxiliary verbs)! :D
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Artrella said:
    Hello people!

    I would like that English speaking natives give me their opinion about the real use of auxiliaries in questions. I have noticed the lack of auxiliaries in questions in everyday speech. I do it myself even though I am learning English and I am supposed to speak it in a correct fashion.
    I talk with English people, Irish people and American people and at times they say for instance:

    You want me to send you an e-mail?

    You know this phrase?

    Of course this is not that frequent with "wh" questions (Where he works?). I also hear this kind of questions in films of American/British origin.

    Do you think the use of "auxiliaries" is waning?

    Thank you (if there are mistakes in my post, please correct them for me) :p

    Art, I would suggest phrasing your question more like this:

    I would like those who speak English as their native language to give me their opinions about the informal use of auxiliaries in questions. I have noticed the lack of auxiliaries in questions in everyday speech. Although I am learning English and should speak correctly, I omit them [auxiliaries] myself.

    I talk with English, Irish[,] and American people. At times they say, for instance:

    You do not need to put the comma where I marked it in red. It is only necessary if there might be a confusion. I removed "and" and started a new sentence, because there were two many commas for my taste. :)

    Words are dropped in speech in all languages, I think, so I doubt that the words you notice omitted are pointing to any new trend.

    Perhaps it has to do more with speed and laziness than anything else. Other issues have been very well covered by other members, so I won't say any more. :)

    I hope this was not confusing. :)

    Gaer
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    mjscott said:
    Nick said:
    You are going... where? (voice pitch goes up on "auxiliary")
    You got here... when? (voice pitch goes up on "auxiliary")
    You got here when... ? (voice pitch stays even on "auxiliary", this is asking a different question than the previous example)
    You are here because... why? (voice pitch goes up on "auxiliary")

    Are you saying that where, when and why are auxiliary verbs--or are you saying your voice pitch goes up on the auxiliary verb?--(If that is the case, what is the auxiliary verb in the sentence, You got here when... ?)

    Yes, I was confused by Nick's post as well. I'm not sure what he means by this. These words (who, what, when where, why) are interrogatives, not auxiliaries.

    I love your story about Will. Very cute. :D
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    gaer said:
    Art, I would suggest phrasing your question more like this:

    I would like those who speak English as their native language to give me their opinions about the informal use of auxiliaries in questions. I have noticed the lack of auxiliaries in questions in everyday speech. Although I am learning English and should speak :D correctly, I omit them [auxiliaries] myself.


    Gaer


    Thanks G for your corrections :thumbsup: , I need to improve my writing and practising with natives is the best way to learn.

    :D Shouldn't it be necessary to put an "it" there?

    About commas>> we use them a lot in Spanish, and English does not use so many... I have to get used to it!!
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    garryknight said:
    As for Art's saying "I do it myself even though I am learning English", I'd use 'even though' myself as it signals a reversal of expectation: "I am learning English so I ought to be careful about how I construct English sentences but I still drop auxiliary verbs". In other words, the first part of her sentence contradicts the presupposition behind the second part.


    Yes, Garry, that is what I tried to mean.. I don't undersand Nick's question about the "confusing it". Could someone help me to think what is wrong in that sentence, I don't realize where the problem lies... :eek:
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    Garry,Gaer, Nick, Jacinta, MJ, LV4-26 >>> Thank you very much for your clear and long explanations about the "new trend -that fortunately is not so" and for correcting and helping me with my writing. I really appreciate your efforts.
    Thanks again! :p
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Artrella said:
    Thanks G for your corrections :thumbsup: , I need to improve my writing and practising with natives is the best way to learn.

    :D Shouldn't it be necessary to put an "it" there?

    About commas>> we use them a lot in Spanish, and English does not use so many... I have to get used to it!!
    You are 100%. I left out "it". I tried to proof my own writing, but it never works. :(

    I think commas are very difficult in English. There are very definite rules, but they are not followed. You will notice when reading books written by fine writers the many of them (if not most of them) punctuation according to "feel" as much as according to rules. :)

    Gaer
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Artrella said:
    Yes, Garry, that is what I tried to mean.. I don't undersand Nick's question about the "confusing it". Could someone help me to think what is wrong in that sentence, I don't realize where the problem lies... :eek:
    I just got up and have to leave for work almost immediately. My mind is not working too clearly.

    "I do it myself even though I am learning English",

    To me this is 100% correct, but the way you ended the rest of this sentence confused me. Your thought here means this: "I do it myself IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT I am learning English. This is correct.

    But look at the second half:

    I do it myself even though I am learning English and I am supposed to speak it in a correct fashion.

    There, as Nick suggested, I would use a comma. I don't agree that it HAS to be there, but you know the general rule about two complete sentences connected with a conjunction.

    The confusion is that you are saying to things:

    1) You believe you should be speaking English "correctly", meaning not breaking rules as we do in every day speech.

    2) You ARE breaking the rules EVEN THOUGH you are learning English. (Your assumption is that this is a bad thing. The way you wrote "I am supposed to" confused me a bit. It makes me wonder who has given you directions or orders!

    Something caused Nick to mis-read your sentence, and I had to read it at least twice to figure out what you meant. This is why I suggested rewriting the sentence. :)

    Gaer
     
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