What hope had he or any of his people?

ClimbEveryMountain

Senior Member
Español
Hi everyone,

I'd like to know the grammar behind the following sentence: "What hope had he or any of his people?"

Since I'm a TESOL teacher I do know a lot of English grammar rules, but I dont understand why the question, which is in simple past, doesn't take the auxiliary "did" and the base form of the verb have.

Thanks in advance for any explanation you guys can provide.
 
  • Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    You know that "have" as an auxiliary verb undergoes inversion in questions ("What had he done?").
    In some varieties of English—but not present-day American ones—"have" with the meaning "possess" also inverts:
    "Have you any money?" (Doesn't sound too bad in a yes/no question.)
    "How much money have you?" (Sounds antiquated.)
     

    ClimbEveryMountain

    Senior Member
    Español
    You know that "have" as an auxiliary verb undergoes inversion in questions ("What had he done?").
    In some varieties of English—but not present-day American ones—"have" with the meaning "possess" also inverts:
    "Have you any money?" (Doesn't sound too bad in a yes/no question.)
    "How much money have you?" (Sounds antiquated.)
    Thanks for your reply. I do know that, but this is not the case. There's no inversion in this sentence at all.

    My question is shouldn't the question be "What hope did he and his peopl have?"
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Sorry, you're right, it's not the presence or absence of inversion; both questions have inversion.
    But "What hope had he?" treats the possessing have like the auxiliary have. I don't know why, but I'm sure it's archaic.
    You're right, it should be "What hope did he and his people have?"
    Treat the possessing have like any other non-auxiliary verb: use "do"/"did" to form a question.
     

    ClimbEveryMountain

    Senior Member
    Español
    Sorry, you're right, it's not the presence or absence of inversion; both questions have inversion.
    But "What hope had he?" treats the possessing have like the auxiliary have. I don't know why, but I'm sure it's archaic.
    You're right, it should be "What hope did he and his people have?"
    Treat the possessing have like any other non-auxiliary verb: use "do"/"did" to form a question.

    Thanks a lot.
     

    ayuda?

    Senior Member
    What hope had he or any of his people?
    This can definately be difficult to understand for non-native speakers. It just something you pick up intrinsically if you are a native; however, it is hard to explain, and I’ve tried my best to do that. Hope this helps in some way. Any questions, just ask.

    Verb/Subject (V/S) inversion in questions in English
    auxiliary verb in present tense = [does he have]
    past tense auxiliary = [did he have]
    What hope does he have? [regular V/S inversion in questions beginning with question words. (or questions in general—using present auxiliary do)
    Question words = what, where, when, why, who, which, which one, how much, how many. [See link]

    ▶︎If you used the past auxiliary it would be:
    What hope did he have? (Same V/S word order as present) auxiliary—no V/S inversion:did he...)
    **▶︎When you put it into the simple past (had vs. did he have )← [word order = V/S]
    What hope had he ? (V/S inversion.—just like in regular questions).
    **What hope had he had? (V/S inversion ← You could possibly put it this way too... That is also another way of putting it into the past→ [no do involved]
    When it is put into the simple past (had) the word order changes—the auxilary do is not used that way.
    For some reason??, that’s just the way things have developed.

    It is literary; kind of gives more emphasis to things, as far as I am concerned, BUT you will still find it used in different ways even today.

    Some sources and links:

    Question forms & subject/object questions [with question words]
    Subject-verb inversion / verb-subject-object -- is this correct? [use of unusual verb/subject word order]
    **Google Search> inverted subject verb word order [gets you to more sites about word order in general]
     

    ClimbEveryMountain

    Senior Member
    Español
    What hope had he or any of his people?
    This can definately be difficult to understand for non-native speakers. It just something you pick up intrinsically if you are a native; however, it is hard to explain, and I’ve tried my best to do that. Hope this helps in some way. Any questions, just ask.

    Verb/Subject (V/S) inversion in questions in English
    auxiliary verb in present tense = [does he have]
    past tense auxiliary = [did he have]
    What hope does he have? [regular V/S inversion in questions beginning with question words. (or questions in general—using present auxiliary do)
    Question words = what, where, when, why, who, which, which one, how much, how many. [See link]

    ▶︎If you used the past auxiliary it would be:
    What hope did he have? (Same V/S word order as present) auxiliary—no V/S inversion:did he...)
    **▶︎When you put it into the simple past (had vs. did he have )← [word order = V/S]
    What hope had he ? (V/S inversion.—just like in regular questions).
    **What hope had he had? (V/S inversion ← You could possibly put it this way too... That is also another way of putting it into the past→ [no do involved]
    When it is put into the simple past (had) the word order changes—the auxilary do is not used that way.
    For some reason??, that’s just the way things have developed.

    It is literary; kind of gives more emphasis to things, as far as I am concerned, BUT you will still find it used in different ways even today.

    Some sources and links:

    Question forms & subject/object questions [with question words]
    Subject-verb inversion / verb-subject-object -- is this correct? [use of unusual verb/subject word order]
    **Google Search> inverted subject verb word order [gets you to more sites about word order in general]

    Thanks for your explanation, but what's an inversion for you? We need to have the same approach to inversions because I don't see any in the question I'm asking about.

    I think the explanation Cenzontle gave about that being archaic is appropriate for this case.
     

    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    Sí, esta inversión (VS) siempre existió en el inglés. Se fue perdiendo durante el inglés medio, pero nunca llega a 0% aún hoy (p. 4):

    [Plainly detectible] were the scars from his old football injury.
    [In this rainforest] can be found the reclusive lyrebird.
    [Across the river] lived seven dwarfs.
    [Now] comes the time to make peace.
    [Thus] ended his story.
    [In the year 1748] died one of the most powerful of the new masters of India.​

    Con wh-words es anticuado o literario. En El Señor de los Anillos, por ejemplo, Aragorn pregunta a los Oathbreakers, "What say you?".
     

    ClimbEveryMountain

    Senior Member
    Español
    Sí, esta inversión (VS) siempre existió en el inglés. Se fue perdiendo durante el inglés medio, pero nunca llega a 0% aún hoy (p. 4):

    [Plainly detectible] were the scars from his old football injury.
    [In this rainforest] can be found the reclusive lyrebird.
    [Across the river] lived seven dwarfs.
    [Now] comes the time to make peace.
    [Thus] ended his story.
    [In the year 1748] died one of the most powerful of the new masters of India.​

    Con wh-words es anticuado o literario. En El Señor de los Anillos, por ejemplo, Aragorn pregunta a los Oathbreakers, "What say you?".

    But what say you? or what hope had he or any of his friends? are not examples of inversion, are they?
     

    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    Sí, la inversión solita valía, sin necesidad de auxiliares vacíos. Aquí mencionan que tardó dos siglos en completarse el proceso, hacia 1700, pero fue como en francés y español (Seest thou these things? ¿Ves tú estas cosas?) y aún sobrevive con unos pocos verbos y construcciones: :thumbsdown:What hope saw he? :tick:Never had I met someone so interesting (BBC).

    Los imperativos tampoco necesitaban auxiliares, lo cual aún se ve formalmente: "Ask not what your country can do for you..." (John F. Kennedy).
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    But what say you? or what hope had he or any of his friends? are not examples of inversion, are they?
    They certainly are. The subject comes after the verb. Without inversion we would have "You say what?" and "He or any of his friends had what hope?".

    There is no inversion in the following:

    —Do what I say.
    —What you say? No matter how stupid it is?

    —What hope he or any of his friends had was beyond me.
    —What hope he or any of his friends had? (As if there were anything but doom in store for them.)
     

    ClimbEveryMountain

    Senior Member
    Español
    Okay. I learned that inversions happen in statements, maybe my teachers made a mistake when explaining to us. They never mentioned them in questions (even though inversion literally happen in the grammar used to create them), as that's the grammar structure for question in the English language.

    So to me, I wouldn't count questiona as a form of inversion (even though it literally happens) since that's just the normal structure English has when creating a question except for some exceptions like the following:
    A: He didn't tell me about the test
    B: He didn't?

    I guess you can see my point. Also, I'd like to share the following video, which is a pretty accurate and simplified way to explain inversions (only 90 seconds)

    Nota de moderación: no se permite insertar ningún archivo o enlace de audio ni video sin autorización previa de un moderador (regla 4) [JeSuisSnob, mod].

    So, based on what I just explained and what the video shows I think I wouldn't call "What say you?" an inversion. Same principle would apply to the question I asked about.

    The normal questions would be "What do you say?" and "What hope did he or any of his friends have?" meaning we already have literal inversions of the subject-verb structure mentioned in the previous comments. So, would it be the inversion of an inversion if I say that "What say you?" is an inversion?

    I don't know if I made myself clear. Sorry if I didn't :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    El verbo está antes del sujeto = inversión. Que no tenga auxiliares no lo cambia. La inversión era normal en el inglés medio, pero los vikingos la mataron (p. 6). :)
     

    ClimbEveryMountain

    Senior Member
    Español
    El verbo está antes del sujeto = inversión. Que no tenga auxiliares no lo cambia. La inversión era normal en el inglés medio, pero los vikingos la mataron (p. 6). :)

    Me gustaría que vieras un video en el que hay algo diferente, sobre todo el último ejemplo de las inversiones. ¿Puedes entrar a Google y buscar Inversiones BBC Learning English? Me gustaría saber tu opinión al respecto y que se me aclararan las dudas.
     

    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    Ajá, los mismos del enlace de BBC en #11, con hardly. Con cualquier negativo al principio, sucedía lo mismo que en #8: "Never was seen so black a day as this" (Romeo and Juliet). Pero hoy siempre llevan auxiliar, porque se rompe con SVO. Aunque no los usan mucho, coloquialmente.

    Como explicaban, el contacto con otras lenguas solidificó el orden SVO. Quizá el resultado natural, que así puede identificar fácilmente los miles de monosílabos verbales, que apenas se conjugan en inglés. Para beneficio de nosotros, que lo aprendemos. :D

    Un lenguaje con 70 conjugaciones, de tres o seis sílabas, vería el verbo en cualquier lugar y sin necesidad de repetir su sujeto. Como el nuestro, que refuerza la posición con pronombres vacíos: Esas las pagué ayer. A ellos les dio carbón.
     
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