How / what + exclamations.

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Niope, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. Niope New Member

    Hi everybody!
    I have some doubts about the use of "what / how" with exclamations.

    I've read in other answer that we use "how" if there is a verb, and we use "what" if there isn't any. But what about this:

    - How clever that boy is!
    - What awful news this is!

    Both of them have verb, and my English test book says that they are both correct.

    Thank you very much, for your help.
  2. Agró

    Agró Senior Member

    Alta Navarra
    Fíjate en la posición del nombre en cada caso, que es lo que determina el uso de "how" o "what".

    - How clever that boy is! = What a clever boy that (boy) is!
    - What awful news this is! = How awful this news is!
  3. Niope New Member

    Muchas gracias por tu respuesta Agró. ¿Podríamos decir entonces que si el demostrativo (this, that) va antes del nombre usaríamos how?

  4. Agró

    Agró Senior Member

    Alta Navarra
    No tiene por qué haber un demostrativo:

    - How clever John is! = What a clever boy John is!
  5. Niope New Member

    Nuevamente gracias Agró.
  6. rarufriki

    rarufriki Member

    :warn: NEW QUESTION :warn:

    No sé si estará bien retomar este tema, pero tengo la misma duda y me da palo abrir otro :/

    Es con respecto a las respuestas de Agró. He notado que con todos los ejemplos que ha puesto de "what" siempre usa un indefinite article "a", pero no con "how". But look at this:

    How intelligent a liar he was!

    What a (good) liar he is!

    Both of them use indefinite article and look pretty much the same to me... Same structure and all. Or maybe I'm just blinded right now, and fail to see any difference. I also have another example, not indifenite article included:

    How nice people were in stores and restaurants in that area!

    I found it in a mutiple choice exam, and I picked the answer How/What (both possible). But only how is correct. Why? Can someone enlighten me? Some kind of rule or something?

    ¡Espero que alguien conteste aunque el hilo sea antiguo!
    Thanks a lot in advance :)
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  7. selu28 Senior Member

    Jerez de la frontera
    Buenos dias,

    Tendo una duda en cuanto siempre decimos frases cortas del estilo:

    Qué pena!
    Qué vergonzoso!
    Qué terrible!
    Qué aburrimiento!

    Al traducirlas he llegado a la conclusion que si utilizo un adjetivo se utiliza "how" y si utilizo un nombre utilizo "what".

    What a pity!
    How embarrassing!
    How awful!
    What bore!

    ¿Es cierta mi conclusion?
    Gracias de antemano!
  8. kayokid

    kayokid Senior Member/Moderator

    English, USA
    That seems like the answer.

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