“Is this” vs “Isn’t it”

I am really confused about this and wanted to share/learn.

I was talking with one of my Canadian friends with whom I would like to hang out, about a song and I wanted to say:

“What a good song is this!” (i don’t know if it needs to end with “!”
or “?”)

But something within me said it’s not a good usage of English, so I decided to say

“Isn’t it a good song?”

and now I am stuck right at that point because none of the above sounded right.

Which way can I tell my friend that I liked this song and ask him if he liked it or not?


The format what a [positively/negatively-qualified] noun is/are + [pronoun]

is hopelessly archaic. Native speakers are familiar with it from an early age, because it survives in nursery rhymes…

Little Jack Horner … said “What a good boy am I!

The same non-standard “verb + subject” order is also “mocked” by Yoda’s grammar in Star Wars…

Strong is Vader … Strong am I with the Force

In modern English they’d always be expressed as What a good boy I am!, Vader is strong, I am strong.

It’s also worth noting that “Isn’t it a good song?” would never be expanded to “Is not it a good song?”. This particular contracted format (and the “tag question” version “It’s a good song, isn’t it?”) are very common today, but if a native speaker had to avoid contractions, they’d switch the order to is it not?

The “verb + [pro]noun” reversal of “It’s a good song, isn’t it?” is standard for tag questions (or indeed, any question of the general form Is it a good song?”), but it’s no longer current in many other contexts.

I see OP’s second alternative “Isn’t it a good song?” as a reordering of “It’s a good song, isn’t it?”. It’s not likely to be a genuine question – almost certainly the speaker thinks it is a good song, and doesn’t expect an answer in the negative.

Because of potential conflation with the rhetorical/tag question form, if the speaker really didn’t know, and was asking whether the song was in fact “not good”, he’d probably say “Is it not a good song?”

Source : Link , Question Author : Berker Yüceer , Answer Author : FumbleFingers

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