On Saturday, May 13 my 13-year-old daughter in Grade 8 had a big English test at school: Present Tense Verbs, Past Tense Verbs Present Continuous Tense Verbs, changing Declarative Sentences (statements) into Interrogatives (Questions), and Interrogatives into Declaratives. I think that was all. It was her mid-term test, or “chukan shikken.” Emma didn’t want me to help her study. She only wanted Junko.
When you change statements into questions, or questions into statements the tricky part is that the pronouns “I” and “You” get
“Who are you?”
“I am Taro.”
And, we have the big, confusing problem of the “disappearing do.”
“I like it.”
“What do you like?”
The trick here is that the verb “like” is an abbreviation of “do like” - a feature of many other English verbs as well. So if a person says “I like it,” what they are saying is that “I do like it.” But the “do” is deleted as unnecessarily repetitive. However, it is not deleted from the question. It’s what I call the“disappearing do,” or the “invisible do,” and it is a big problem for Japanese students. You can observe it as a language hurdle for English speakers as well, when babies are learning to speak.