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Interrogative degree

Degrees are questioned by means of the word hoe how.


Degrees are questioned by means of the word hoe how. In case an attributive adjective is questioned, the indefinite article intervenes between the question word and the adjective:

Example 1

a. Hoe grut is er?
how big is he
How tall is he?
b. Hoe'n grutte kompjûter hat er kocht?
how.a big computer has he bought
How big a computer has he bought?

This use is considered to be substandard. In written language, a different construction is preferred:

Example 2

Hoe grut is de kompjûter dy't er kocht hat?
how big is the computer which he bought has
How big is the computer that he bought?

Occasionally, the degree is made explicit with the aid of the word bot much. Bot is the only intensifier which may be used in this way (compare Dutch erg worse). Other intensifiers cannot be questioned. This contrast is shown in the examples below:

Example 3

a. ?Hoe bot kâld wie it?
how much cold was it
How cold was it?
b. *Hoe tige/glûpende kâld wie it?
how very cold was it
How cold was it?

Adjectives which morphologically incorporate a comparison behave like intensified adjectives in that they cannot be questioned either:

Example 4

a. *Hoe skytskjin is it dêr?
how shit.clean is it there
How clean is it there?
b. *Hoe sjippeglêd wie de strjitte?
how soap.slippery was the street
How slippery was the street?

The translations don't quite do justice to the Frisian examples.