2

In questions, the subject (if present in the sentence) goes after the noun, such as

Tú estás aquí.

becoming

¿Estás tú aquí?

and

Stormblessed está comiendo una hamburguesa.

becoming

¿Está Stormblessed comiendo una hamburguesa?

If I use the construction of a conjugation of ir + a + infinitive, how does that work? Would it be

¿Va Stormblessed a comer una hamburguesa?

or

¿Va a Stormblessed comer una hamburguesa?

or something completely different?

  • 2
    It looks like you didn't realize that you can convert Tú estás aquí to a question by just slapping the question marks on and adjusting the intonation. Well, you can, and it's quite common. And then you can do the same when you have a more complex verb. Certainly with a hard to pronounce subject like Stormblessed it's even more likely that this will be the approach taken. – aparente001 Jun 16 at 23:38
  • yup, in spanish you only need to add the question marks to make it a question. when you talk you just change the entonation and it will make perfectly sense – Mike Jun 17 at 3:58
  • for ir + a verb: It's just like English in terms of the inversion. The subject and auxiliary are inverted, unless you're doing the intonation thing. – Lambie Jun 18 at 19:44
4

This is two questions in one, actually. The first one is, how does one use the ir a + infinitive construction, and the second one, which is hidden in there, is what is the preferred word order in Spanish.

Ir a + infinitive has two subparts: the verb ir (conjugated as needed) and the unit formed by the preposition a plus the infinitive of the main verb. In general you don't insert anything between a and the main verb (see below).

The order tends to stay the same too: wherever you place the subject and possibly other things, ir and a + infinitive will appear in that order in most cases (again there are exceptions; see below).

It's not strictly true that in questions the normal subject-verb order is inverted as in English. Spanish has a much freer word order than English and the subject might change places depending on a lot of factors, including emphasis, the particular verb in use, and even what sounds better. The inversion rule you have learned is just a good approximation.

In your particular example you would say

¿Va Stormblessed a comer una hamburguesa?

but you could equally say

  1. ¿Stormblessed va a comer una hamburguesa? (no change in order)
  2. ¿Va a comer Stormblessed una hamburguesa? (subject after verb phrase)
  3. ¿Va a comer una hamburguesa Stormblessed? (subject at end)

No. 1 shows you that in Spanish yes-no questions can be asked just by raising the tone at the end, without changing the word order.

No. 2 suggests that va a comer is perceived as an inseparable phrase (so there's a inversion: SVO becomes VSO, but V is not the verb va but the whole phrase va a comer).

No. 3 shows you how the subject can even be moved to the end; to me this sounds as if the subject were not so important, being already more or less established in the conversation, while the object (una hamburguesa) is the thing I'm interested in, so it appears before.

Don't let this all discourage you; some of these things are very subtle and you'll learn them, if it comes to that, after exposure to actual native speakers.

Remember "see below"? Well, you actually can insert something between a and the infinitive. Mostly adverbs: Va a rápidamente comer una hamburguesa. Or even adverbial phrases: Va a de una vez por todas comer una hamburguesa. But it tends to sound odd and clumsy, so you generally don't do that.

Also, you can invert the order and say, for example, A comer una hamburguesa va. It's rather unusual, though. It can be done for metrical effect in poetry, or for contrast: A comer una hamburguesa va, pero a comerla con lechuga jamás. Which more or less means: "Eating a hamburguer, that he will, but eating it with lettuce, (he) never (will)."

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