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Describing language
Describing language

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2 Structure and sentence functions

In most examples you’ll come across, the grammatical form of a sentence will match the function it performs. A question will look like an interrogative, and a command will look like an imperative. But this relationship doesn’t hold all the time. We can use a declarative to ask a question or give a command:

You expect me to believe that? (not Do you expect…?)

It’s cold in here (in the right context, this could mean ‘shut the window’)

We can use a question to give a command:

Would one of you two like to do the washing up? (when spoken by a parent to two teens)

And, as with Spanish, we can use a statement to ask a question if we say it with rising intonation (or use a question mark):

Susan is a trained scuba diver?