While this is true and the tone of the question would likely indicate that, it's still technically grammatically correct to ask questions in English in a similar way that they ask them in Spanish.
It's just that most people would only tend to do that with a tone of surprise. The word 'actually' might be added as well.
It makes sense but it isn't proper English. Did he follow the rules? is correct. He followed the rules? Is lazy English but understood.
If it was in a statement form then it makes perfect sense and is grammatically correct. James played well and he followed the rules.
I don't know why they couldn't have posed the lessons sentence that way.
You can take any statement in English and stick a question mark at the end to make it a question. In this case I would interpret it more as a statement of surprise and doubt, than an actual question though:
- John didn't cheat today.
- What, he followed the rules?
Most of the time, this form is used when confirming something, rather than asking about something where both cases are just as likely. I believe this is also what PuperFish's example was about: "Did Elijah play well today?" "Yes." "So he really did follow the rules?"
Having do-support or simply attaching a rising pitch at the end have nothing to do with lazy or proper. Many languages show no do support OR movement at all for questions and aren't considered "lazy". In fact, I'm fairly sure that rising intonation to indicate a question is close to a language universal.
I wondered if you were correct and found this, which I thought was a good explanation: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv207.shtml
questions through intonation
In spoken English, we can sometimes ask questions by using a rising intonation and no subject-verb inversion when we think we have understood something but want to make sure or find it surprising.Tag questions have a similar purpose. Compare the following:*
This is your car? I didn't know you were going to buy a new car. Where did you get the money from?
You're coming to lunch tomorrow, aren't you? And Tom is coming with you?
Note that this word order is not possible after question words such as who/what/which.
The thing is, you have to hear how it's said or read the whole paragraph, if scripted, to know if it's a question. However, that seems to be how the language is, so that is something us students of the language just need to accept, regardless of how much harder it may seem to make it.
It's not common to omit them in Spanish. They don't exist in Spanish. There is no equivalent for do (in this sense) in Spanish. (There are other auxiliary verbs, but not do.)
¿Comen carne? Do you eat meat?
No como carne. I don't eat meat.
English is one of two extant languages that does this. It gives English learners fits. My students struggle with this, saying things like "You not eat meat."
Here's an article: https://www.economist.com/blogs/johnson/2011/10/auxiliary-verbs
Just to close this out? "He followed the rules?" meaning "Did he follow the rules?" would be called an ellipsis and is proper grammar, but either informal (spoken rather than written) or poetic license. The sentence used as expressing surprise is not strictly an ellipsis, but is informal / colloquial. Such constructions are NOT lazy; rather they suggest a gradual shift in grammar/syntax from a low Germanic origin to romance language dialects (of which Spanish is one). And, yes, the opening phrase is an ellipsis!
You can but it adds extra levels of meaning that you may not want to have. For example:
"Did he follow the rules?" << This is a simple question. You just want to know if the rules were followed by him.
"He followed the rules?" << This indicates surprise. You are implying that there is some reason to think he may not have followed the rules.