what do you think will be X / what do you think X will be

CuervoGold

Senior Member
Spanish - Spain
Hi,

I would like to know which sentences are ok and which are wrong to you (I want to understand how the "do you think" part affects the word order of the question and if you see "what" or "your greatest challenge" as the subject):

a) What do you think will be your greatest challenge?
b) What do you think your greatest challenge will be?
c) What do you think will your greatest challenge be?
d) What, do you think, will your greatest challenge be?

Thank you very much!
 
  • Plain Language

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Spain
    b) is OK.

    El típico orden de una interrogativa en inglés ya está hecho en do+you+think...?-->auxiliar+sujeto+verbo....?

    El resto de la frase lleva el orden de una afirmativa: sujeto+verbo

    Ejemplo de pregunta directa:
    What------ will--------- your greatest challenge--------------- be------------ in the future?
    Wh.....+....aux..+...................sujeto+.............................verbo+.......resto de la frase



    Ejemplo de pregunta indirecta:
    What---- do---- you---- think----------- your greatest challenge---- will be ----in the f...?

    .Wh..+auxiliar+sujeto+.verbo+........resto de la frase(sujeto+.......verbo+.............CCT)


    En las preguntas indirectas el orden de la interrogativa ya está hecho en la primera parte de la frase: "do you think" y el resto de la frase es como si fuera una afirmativa.
     
    Last edited:

    CuervoGold

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Hi Plain Language,

    Thank you for your answer; b) is ok (the classic word order of reported speech), but what about a), c) and d)? I'm still doubtful:


    a) What (subject) do you think will be (verb) your greatest challenge (attribute)? : I don't know what will be my greatest challenge
    (es el orden de una afirmativa, pero considerando "what" el sujeto

    Isn't it right, if you see it this way? Check out this previous post: what do you think is .....



    c) What do you think will your greatest challenge be? -- I would say this is wrong, since it seems to be mixing direct and indirect speech. "What" is not here the subject.

    d) What, do you think, will your greatest challenge be? - I don't know if it could be considered a right sentence with this parenthetical "do you think".

    Thank you for your patience
     

    Plain Language

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Spain
    Aah, vale. ¡Uf!. Ahora sí que me has liado. En la d) si cambiamos "do you think" por "in your opinion" me suena del todo correcta:

    d)What, in your opinion, will your greatest challenge be?

    Las otras no lo sé. Usar, se usan seguro, y entender , se entienden.

    Yo sólo veo sujeto a "What" en frases como "What happened?-->sin did ni orden típico de auxiliar+sujeto+verbo

    Lo mismo que en: "Who broke this glass?-->"Who" es el sujeto

    Si hay otro verbo auxiliar , ya no me parece que el interrogativo pueda hacer de sujeto.

    Por ejemplo: Who did you help?-->who no es sujeto , pero Who helped you?-->Who es sujeto.

    En esta frase no veo a "What" como sujeto, sino como atributo si le das la vuelta: Tu próximo desafío será,... ¿Cuál?
    , pero tampoco lo puedo afirmar con certeza.

    Ahora sí que me gustaría que alguien nos pudiera sacar de la duda a ambos. ¿Alguien lo sabe?
     

    RebeJC

    Senior Member
    English - American
    All four are correct. C doesn't flow as easily, so it would be my last choice. A and D are the same except for the commas. The commas change the way you would read the question. They aren't necessary, but they are acceptable. B would be the way I would say it.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Hi,

    I would like to know which sentences are ok and which are wrong to you (I want to understand how the "do you think" part affects the word order of the question and if you see "what" or "your greatest challenge" as the subject):

    a) What do you think will be your greatest challenge?
    b) What do you think your greatest challenge will be?
    c) What do you think will your greatest challenge be?
    d) What, do you think, will your greatest challenge be?

    Thank you very much!
    A y B son correctas; C y D no. No se invierte sujeto y verbo en una subordinada.

    a) You think (that) what will be your greatest challenge?:tick:
    -> What do you think will be your greatest challenge?

    b) You think (that) your greatest challenge will be what?:tick:
    -> What do you think your greatest challenge will be?

    c) You think will your greatest challenge be what?:cross:

    Dos preguntas pueden ponerse, la una tras la otra...

    d') Your greatest challenge will be what, do you think?:tick:
    -> What will your greatest challenge be, do you think?

    ... pero no con la una subordinada a la otra:

    d) (You think that) will your greatest challenge be what?:cross:
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hi,

    I would like to know which sentences are ok and which are wrong to you (I want to understand how the "do you think" part affects the word order of the question and if you see "what" or "your greatest challenge" as the subject):

    a) What do you think will be your greatest challenge?
    b) What do you think your greatest challenge will be?
    c) What do you think will your greatest challenge be?
    d) What, do you think, will your greatest challenge be?

    Thank you very much!
    Subject-auxiliary verb inversion is required, for example, in yes/no question, where the subject and finite/conjugated auxiliary change places (Will your challenge be climbing Mount Everest? Answer: Yes/No.), though the requirement is void in rhetorical questions (Your challenge will be climbing Mount Everest?). Yours is not a "yes/no" question, so inversion is not required; the embedded part remains intact, as in (b). Inversion, however, can be done as a matter of style, emphasis, etc., as in (a). But notice that in (a) the inversion is of the full auxiliary verb (finite auxiliary "will" plus the bare infinitive "be"). The problem with (c) is that the inversion is of the finite auxiliary with the subject (will your greatest challenge be), which sounds like the beginning of a new question; in other words, "will your greatest challenge be?" no longer functions as an embedded question. Would (c) be universally accepted/rejected? I couldn't say. I don't have a problem with (d), provided the commas are included. In questions where the interrogative pronouns goes first, the auxiliary/finite verb goes second (What will your greatest challenge be?). By putting "do you think" between commas, we make it an adjunct, an element that can be deleted without affecting sentence meaning: What, do you think, will your greatest challenge be? Stylistically, "do you think" breaks the flow of the sentence, which may or may not be the intended effect. Whether (d) is universally accepted is another question.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Subject-auxiliary verb inversion is required, for example, in yes/no question, where the subject and finite/conjugated auxiliary change places (Will your challenge be climbing Mount Everest? Answer: Yes/No.), though the requirement is void in rhetorical questions (Your challenge will be climbing Mount Everest?). Yours is not a "yes/no" question, so inversion is not required; the embedded part remains intact, as in (b). Inversion, however, can be done as a matter of style, emphasis, etc., as in (a).
    Neither a nor b shows any subject-verb inversion besides "do you think", but their subordinate clauses have different subjects ("what" in a, "your greatest challenge" in b). There may not be much difference between a and b, meaningwise, but an answer like "I think my greatest challenge will be a surprise to us all" works for b but not for a.
    But notice that in (a) the inversion is of the full auxiliary verb (finite auxiliary "will" plus the bare infinitive "be"). The problem with (c) is that the inversion is of the finite auxiliary with the subject (will your greatest challenge be), which sounds like the beginning of a new question; in other words, "will your greatest challenge be?" no longer functions as an embedded question. Would (c) be universally accepted/rejected? I couldn't say. I don't have a problem with (d), provided the commas are included. In questions where the interrogative pronouns goes first, the auxiliary/finite verb goes second (What will your greatest challenge be?). By putting "do you think" between commas, we make it an adjunct, an element that can be deleted without affecting sentence meaning: What, do you think, will your greatest challenge be? Stylistically, "do you think" breaks the flow of the sentence, which may or may not be the intended effect. Whether (d) is universally accepted is another question.
    What you are saying works for an interrupter like "in your opinion":

    What in your opinion will your greatest challenge be?:tick:
    What, in your opinion, will your greatest challenge be?:tick:
    What will your greatest challenge be, in your opinion?:tick:

    Such an interruptor has no effect on inversion. But the direct object of "do you think", with or without the commas, is "(that) your greatest challenge will be what". This direct object should not be inverted, though "what" has to be first in the larger question:

    What do you think will your greatest challenge be?:cross:
    What, do you think, will your greatest challenge be?:cross:

    What do you think your greatest challenge will be?:tick:
    What, do you think, your greatest challenge will be?:tick:

    But put "do you think" at the end and it becomes the skeleton of another question, rather than an interruptor:

    What your greatest challenge will be, do you think?:cross:
    What will your greatest challenge be, do you think?:tick:
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    will be your greatest challenge (a) is the inversion form of the canonical your greatest challenge will be (b).
    What you call an "interrupter" is a syntactic island (that element within commas: , do you think,). In that syntactic island, think becomes an absolute verb (with a syntactic direct object that is implied but not stated). Moreover, the direct object of "think" is recovered semantically from the surrounding information.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    will be your greatest challenge (a) is the inversion form of the canonical your greatest challenge will be (b).
    I am afraid I don't know what this means, but swapping subject and what we used to call a "predicate nominative" is not the same thing as inverting subject and verb. It is the latter that distinguishes most direct questions from indirect questions. An indirect question has the same word order as a relative clause, (nearly) always with the subject before its verb.

    I think (that) x will be my greatest challenge.:tick: [Declarative sentence with subject "x" before its verb "will".]
    What do you think will be your greatest challenge?:tick: [Question asking for x.]
    What, do you think, will be your greatest challenge?:tick: [Question asking for x.]

    I think (that) my greatest challenge will be y.:tick: [Declarative sentence with subject "my greatest challenge" before its verb "will".]
    What do you think your greatest challenge will be?:tick: [Question asking for y.]
    What, do you think, your greatest challenge will be?:tick: [Question asking for y.]

    I think (that) will my greatest challenge be z.:cross: [Invalid declarative sentence.]
    I think (that) z will my greatest challenge be.:confused: [Peculiar word order, could work in poetry]
    What do you think will your greatest challenge be?:cross: [Invalid question.]
    What, do you think, will your greatest challenge be?:cross: [Invalid question.]

    What you call an "interrupter" is a syntactic island (that element within commas: , do you think,). In that syntactic island, think becomes an absolute verb (with a syntactic direct object that is implied but not stated). Moreover, the direct object of "think" is recovered semantically from the surrounding information.
    All the sentences I have marked with ":tick:" are grammatical; all the sentences I have marked with ":cross:" are ungrammatical.
     
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