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Inspector Montalbano gets it wrong

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

I’m a great fan of Montalbano. One of the striking things about the production is the subtitling which is well above average quality for films. I was surprised therefore to see Montalbano committing an error which is very common among non-native speakers of English. He uses a question structure when the interrogative is not there to make a question. But surely this is a question, isn’t it? It is a question but it’s not an interrogative question but a yes/ no question. He’s asking whether Moscato knows the identity of the father (the answer is no). The interrogative is not there to make a question, it’s there to identify the subject of the enquiry. Therefore Montalbano should have said ‘Do you know who the father was?’


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