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Thread: ''What happened''

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    ''What happened''

    Two sentences:
    1.What happened?
    2. What did you do last night?

    Why do we use an auxiliary verb ''did'' in the second sentence and in the first one we don't and just say what happened (not 'what did happen')?

    Спасибо!

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    In "what happened", "what" is the subject of the sentence. In "What did you do last night", a different word acts as a subject. I guess that is the reason.

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    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    True. In the second sentence "you" is the subject and"what" is the object.

    Compare: Who saw you? Who = subject, you = object. Who did you see? Who = object, you = subject.
    Спасибо за исправления!

    Вам нравится этот форум, и вы изучаете немецкий язык? Вот похожий форум о немецком языке.

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    zxc
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitpicker View Post
    Whom did you see? Whom = object, you = subject.
    (Note: To those learning English, for all intents and purposes 'whom' is somewhat of a dying word in speech these days, I just wanted to point it out for clarity as you may come across it from time to time in texts.)

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Hmmm, "sheriff stars" to both translationsmru and Bitpicker for their answers -- аs a native speaker of English, I really had no idea how to answer Lena's question, but I thought the subject/object analysis was very logical!

    Двадцать очков Гриффиндору...
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

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    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    Hmmm, "sheriff stars" to both translationsmru and Bitpicker for their answers -- аs a native speaker of English, I really had no idea how to answer Lena's question, but I thought the subject/object analysis was very logical!

    Двадцать очков Гриффиндору...
    I have to confess that while I never had any problem with such phrases I had to look up the reason why it is like it is in a grammar book. It's a distinction I had never really thought about before.
    Спасибо за исправления!

    Вам нравится этот форум, и вы изучаете немецкий язык? Вот похожий форум о немецком языке.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    Hmmm, "sheriff stars" to both translationsmru and Bitpicker for their answers -- аs a native speaker of English, I really had no idea how to answer Lena's question, but I thought the subject/object analysis was very logical!

    Двадцать очков Гриффиндору...
    Удивительно, как люди не понимают собственного языка. В американских школах не разбирают предложения по составу?

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    Thank you for your ideas

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    zxc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Удивительно, как люди не понимают собственного языка. В американских школах не разбирают предложения по составу?
    Не надолго, а затем люди забывают. Разве не то же самое в русских школах? Я могу вспомнить, когда я задавал вопросы русскам о падежах, и они не могли даже перечислить все из них по имени.

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    Moderator Lampada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zxc View Post
    .Не надолго.Недолго, а затем люди забывают. Разве не то же самое в русских школах? Я могу вспомнить, когда я задавал вопросы русским о падежах, и они не могли даже перечислить всех их по имени.

    Недолго =
    короткое время
    Ненадолго =
    на короткое время

    У нашей квартире есть свободная комната, и наш друг ненадолго остановится у нас.
    "...Важно, чтобы форум оставался местом, объединяющим людей, для которых интересны русский язык и культура. ..." - MasterАdmin (из переписки)



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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Lena,

    Your posts to the forum are very good.

    I'm a native American English speaker and this one when I first read it made me shake my head as "what did happen" sounded so odd to my ears but then I started to think about it and I actually do say "What did happen." It is only for a very specific thing though, when I'm upset... say with my children and they are saying that one thing happened and I've heard a different version or two of the same story. I would indeed say (probably through gritted teeth), "So, what DID happen???" Or I might say "So tell me, what DID happen?" At that point, my girls better tell me the truth about what happened.
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom View Post
    Lena,

    Your posts to the forum are very good.

    I'm a native American English speaker and this one when I first read it made me shake my head as "what did happen" sounded so odd to my ears but then I started to think about it and I actually do say "What did happen." It is only for a very specific thing though, when I'm upset... say with my children and they are saying that one thing happened and I've heard a different version or two of the same story. I would indeed say (probably through gritted teeth), "So, what DID happen???" Or I might say "So tell me, what DID happen?" At that point, my girls better tell me the truth about what happened.
    Thanks I know that we can use 'do' or 'did' to emphasize the meaning or stress something. For example, I do like apples, I did see him last night, etc. But ''what happened'' was playing on my mind for a long time. I was wondering why it was not used with the auxiliary verb ''did''. Thanks to this forum and people who know more than me I could get some nice and reasonable answers

  13. #13
    Hanna
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    Yes Lena, I also want to chime in with Rockzmom and say that your English is great.
    Just continue participating here and reading and listening to English speaking material.
    You have already "succeeded in your studies, I think, so you should feel great about that.
    What you are doing now is just "polishing" the edges a bit.
    Keep it up !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    Yes Lena, I also want to chime in with Rockzmom and say that your English is great.
    Just continue participating here and reading and listening to English speaking material.
    You have already "succeeded in your studies, I think, so you should feel great about that.
    What you are doing now is just "polishing" the edges a bit.
    Keep it up !
    Thank you Hanna! I am glad to hear that my English is great. I do love English! It's such a great language. I am trying to learn more and more - to read books in English, listen to music, watch films and I'm coming to London soon! It's not my first time but I am excited

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Удивительно, как люди не понимают собственного языка. В американских школах не разбирают предложения по составу?
    Мне удивительно, что вы удивляетесь тому, что много людей плохо понимает формальную грамматику собственного языка!

    I mean, one thing that I've heard over and over from people who have intensively studied a second language as adults is: "I never even thought about the grammatical rules of my own language until I began studying a foreign language and doing translations."

    And speaking of translations, if it had occurred to me to try translating Lena's two sentences ("What happened?" and "What did you do last night?") into Russian, I would have immediately realized that "what" was a subject in the first one and an object in the second one. ("Что случилось?" vs. "Чем вы занимались вчера вечером?") Although I'm not sure that I would have made the connection between the subject/object difference and the use/non-use of the auxiliary verb "did."

    By the way, Lena -- do you understand that "What did happen?" is grammatically possible? However, the "did" would be strongly stressed and typically have a rising intonation, and the meaning would be something like "Что, на самом деле, случилось?" But the "did" in "What did you do last night?" is normally unstressed, and doesn't have an emphatic meaning -- it's simply a past-tense marker.
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

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    I've been always interested in Russian grammar, although many people do not remember even the titles of the cases. Grammar is taught much in Russian schools. We learnt definitions, determined declensions and conjugations, determined members of sentence (subject, predicate, object, atribute, modifier) and parts of speech, determined parts of word (prefix, root, suffix ending) in many words. And how is English grammar studied in American schools?

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    I have to confess that while I never had any problem with such phrases I had to look up the reason why it is like it is in a grammar book. It's a distinction I had never really thought about before.
    And this is very strange. English is not your mother toungue. How could you say it corectly if you did not know the rules? We learnt structure of English qestions and trained using them for a very long time. And questions with "who" and "what" were treated separately and much attention was paid to distinction between questions where "who" ("what") is a subject and where it is an object.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    And this is very strange. English is not your mother toungue. How could you say it corectly if you did not know the rules? We learnt structure of English qestions and trained using them for a very long time. And questions with "who" and "what" were treated separately and much attention was paid to distinction between questions where "who" ("what") is a subject and where it is an object.
    I guess people have different teachers and different ways of learning. I learnt English myself and I didn't have any tutors. That's why I didn't know about subject/object issues much. I know a Swedish girl who speaks English pretty well. She did study English at school but she had know idea what transcription is (she could not read it) or what the present perfect tense means...I agree with Throbert McGee...we study grammar at schools but then we just speak our native language and we don't pay attention to the rules that much. For example, when you say "Она пришла домой" or "Я пришел домой" you just say it and you don't wonder why you say "она пришла" and not "она пришел".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    Мне удивительно, что вы удивляетесь тому, что много людей плохо понимает формальную грамматику собственного языка!

    I mean, one thing that I've heard over and over from people who have intensively studied a second language as adults is: "I never even thought about the grammatical rules of my own language until I began studying a foreign language and doing translations."

    And speaking of translations, if it had occurred to me to try translating Lena's two sentences ("What happened?" and "What did you do last night?") into Russian, I would have immediately realized that "what" was a subject in the first one and an object in the second one. ("Что случилось?" vs. "Чем вы занимались вчера вечером?") Although I'm not sure that I would have made the connection between the subject/object difference and the use/non-use of the auxiliary verb "did."

    By the way, Lena -- do you understand that "What did happen?" is grammatically possible? However, the "did" would be strongly stressed and typically have a rising intonation, and the meaning would be something like "Что, на самом деле, случилось?" But the "did" in "What did you do last night?" is normally unstressed, and doesn't have an emphatic meaning -- it's simply a past-tense marker.
    Yes, now I do understand that it is possible. I've never heard ''what did happen'' before though. But I trust native speakers
    In addition, I would never guess that "did" could be translated as "на самом деле"...I would imagine an angry or anxious Russian man/woman shouting "ЧТО случилось" and this loud "ЧТО" would mean your stressed "did".

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    One thing I have noticed right now. Maybe I am wrong...
    When in Russian there is a verb after a question word "что(a question word) случилось (verb)", "кто видел тебя?", "кто сказал тебе об этом?" we don't use the auxiliary verb "did":
    что случилось? - what happened?
    кто видел тебя? - who saw you?
    кто сказал тебе об этом? - who told you about it? (The verbs are just used in past tense)

    And if there is a pronoun after a question word "Кому(question word) ты (pronoun) сказал об этом?", "кого ты видел?" we use the auxuliary verb:
    кому ты сказал об этом - who did you tell it about?
    кого ты видел? - who did you see?

    Am I wrong or not?

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