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Dear teachers,

Though I have learnt how to construct inversion sentences in a very basic way like:

1. As soon as I let go of the string, up went the balloon, high into the sky.

2. Had the plane not been diverted, they would have arrived early.

But the sentence below highlighted in Green seems a bit difficult for me to understand. How do I rewrite the sentence back to a non-inversion form. I don’t even know which is subject and which is object? Does What need had he of that = Why did he need to ?

What need had he of that, when God had given him abundance of other fruit? But, with David, Adam spares his own flock, and takes his neighhour's one lamb.
Your clear explanation well be very much appreciated.
Comments  
Hi,

Though I have learnt how to construct inversion sentences in a very basic way like:

1. As soon as I let go of the string, up went the balloon, high into the sky.

2. Had the plane not been diverted, they would have arrived early.

But the sentence below highlighted in Green seems a bit difficult for me to understand. How do I rewrite the sentence back to a non-inversion form. I don’t even know which is subject and which is object? Does What need had he of that = Why did he need to ?

What need had he of that, when God had given him abundance of other fruit? But, with David, Adam spares his own flock, and takes his neighhour's one lamb.

Your clear explanation well be very much appreciated.
What need had he of that? Here, need is a noun, so I''d rephrase it carefully as 'What need did he have of that?' 'He' is the subject, 'need' is the object

However, much more common is simply 'Why did he need that?'.

The original is not a very commonly used construction. It's rather literary, so I'm not surprised to see it in reference to the Bible.
Best wishes, Clive
I'm having problem to login these few days. Sort of running-out-of-memory on the server and often get disconnected even I've successfully login by chance sometimes. I often need to close the explorer and reactivate it to come back to the same page where I was. I experienced few times not being able to login for one whole day.
Big thanks to Clive!

Best Regards, Nokia88
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Will this work ?
using algebra to get the answer despite the "inversion" logic !
( in this case only )
1. have you got = do you have = (basic sentence structure)
2. has he a friend = has he got / gotten a friend =does he have a friend
3. have you a friend = have you got / gotten a friend =do you have a friend
4. had you a friend = had you got / gotten a friend = did you have a friend
5. what problem had he of that = what problem had he got / gotten of that = what problem did he have of that
6. what need had he of that = what need had he got / gotten of that =what need did he have of that

eventually I got the answer "what need did he have of that"

Can this method be accepted?
Algebra? Emotion: smile I think you are on the right track, but you can leave out everything withgot and gotten.
Has he a friend? = Does he have a friend?
Have you a friend? = Do you have a friend?
Had you a friend? = Did you have a friend?
What problem had you with that? = What problem did you have with that?
What opinion had you of that? = What opinion did you have of that?
What need had you of that? = What need did you have of that?
Note that Americans do not use the first of each pair these days, though you may find such patterns in academic or literary environments.

CJ
CalifJimNote that Americans do not use the first of each pair these days,
Nor the British. None of the sentences on the left are at all likely to be used nowadays.
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Hmmm. I thought the British were the last hold-outs on earth who still used have without do-support.
I haven't a good pen. Have you a better one?Emotion: smile
Not British either, then? Or not any longer, at least?

CJ
CalifJimNot British either, then? Or not any longer, at least?

These are my perceptions.

"I haven't a" is used in certain expressions such as "I haven't a clue" or "I haven't a care in the world" (probably this is the same in the US?), but it is not natural with arbitrary nouns. For example, almost no one these days would say "I haven't a good pen", "I haven't a car", etc. (It would almost always be "I haven't got a good pen" or "I don't have a good pen".)

"Have you" risks sounding stilted in conversation, and most people would naturally say "Have you got" or "Do you have". In writing it's more widely used, but is getting rarer I would say. For some reason, it seems to work with some nouns but not with others. The specific example you gave -- "Have you a friend?" -- is not at all natural to me, yet "Have you any reason for saying that?" seems much more natural. Possibly it works less well with concrete nouns; I'm not sure.

If you believe Google stats, restricted to ".uk":

"have you a friend": 1,150
"do you have a friend": 48,200

"have you any reason": 169
"do you have any reason": 155

"Has he a friend?" seems about as unlikely to me as "Have you a friend?". The other four sentences that you gave are all very unlikely in modern usage.
To my surprise, the context in the exchange-threads between CJ and Mr Word is more than just an ordinary answer to my question. It's beyond my expectation. Excellent!

Thanks CJ and Mr Word for the extremely clear explanation with examples given.

Best Regards, Nokia88
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