What does the question "What are the very serious diseases caused by mosquitoes?" need, subject or complement?


What are the very serious diseases caused by mosquitoes?

I'd like to know whether the word "What" is used as a subject in the question above . Thanks.


Posted 2015-12-29T12:26:14.700

Reputation: 849

Do you not understand the question's meaning, or are you interested in quibbling about which is the subject and which is the complement in an "are" predication? – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2015-12-29T12:38:41.450

Where should I put the answer to this question, in place of "What" or behind the verb "are"? – yethu – 2015-12-29T12:59:39.723

1It's unclear what you're asking. – CowperKettle – 2015-12-29T13:57:16.013




The very serious diseases caused by mosquitoes are malaria, dengue, chikungunya, etc.

Joao Arruda

Posted 2015-12-29T12:26:14.700

Reputation: 1 538

Dear Joao Arruda, can I rewrite it as "Malaria, dengue, chikungunya, etc. are very serious diseases caused by mosquitoes"? – yethu – 2015-12-29T15:02:44.963

Yes, in this case the order doesn't matter, it all goes with the focus you want to set in this sentence. If the focus is "warn that there are many serious diseases caused by mosquitoes", then my sentence is better fitted. But if the focus is "warn which are the serious diseases caused by mosquitoes" then your sentence is more appropriate. – Joao Arruda – 2015-12-30T17:08:20.627

The focus of the sentence fits always better in the beginning of the sentence, in the cases in which the order of subject/predicate doesn't matter. – Joao Arruda – 2015-12-30T17:10:17.763


"The very serious diseases" is the subject.

I don't think what in this case is a subject complement, because it's not a modifier.

The verb to be doesn't take an object, but what follows it is a type of grammar called a predicate that gives additional information about the subject - either a predicate word (noun, etc.) or phrase. (A few other verbs can take predicates, such as look, appear, etc.)

I think that what here is technically a predicate noun or predicate nominative (a pronoun standing for one), since it renames the subject in a sense. Reference.


Posted 2015-12-29T12:26:14.700

Reputation: 31 841