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Interrogative degree
quickinfo

Degree questioning of adjectives takes place by means of the word hoe how, as in this example:

Example 1

Hoe laat moet ek daar wees?
how late must.AUX.MOD I there be
At what time must I be there?
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The degree of application of adjectives is questioned by means of the word hoe how.

Example 2

Hoe groot is hy?
how big be.PRS he
How tall is he?

When an attributive adjective is questioned, the indefinite article intervenes between the question word and the adjective:

Example 3

Hoe 'n groot boom wil jy dan hê?
how a big tree want.to.AUX.MOD you then have
How big a tree do you then want to have?

Adjectives which morphologically incorporate a comparison behave like intensified adjectives in that they cannot be questioned either. However, as an exclamation, it is perfectly grammatical:

Example 4

*Hoe skreeusnaaks is die grap?
how shout.funny be.PRS the joke
How very funny is the joke?
Example 5

Hoe bloedrooi is haar wange!
how blood.red be.PRS her cheeks
How very red her cheecks are!?

The negative marker nie is often used to reinforce the exclamatory nature of such an expression:

Example 6

Hoe beeldskoon is sy nie!
how picture.beautiful be.PRS she PTCL.NEG
How stunningly beautiful she is!

Note that some adjectives have an inherent intensity, and do need to combine with an intensifier, as in the example above. Examples of such adjectives are fantasties fantastic and pragtig, an intensive form of mooi beautiful, as in:

Example 7

Hoe pragtig lyk jy nie!
how very.beautiful look you PTCL.NEG
How beautiful you look!
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