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  1. #1
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    Default "I know what is under the table" or "I know what under the table is"?

    I'm an Indonesian (and therefore I live in Indonesia), and recently I have been learning noun clauses in English. The task was to change the questions given to noun clauses (for example "Who is she?" to "I know who she is" or "Where does he live?" to "Tell me where he lives").

    On one question, my teacher and I had a disagreement. The question was "What's at the end of the rainbow?" and my teacher told me that the answer was "I know what at the end of the rainbow is". I, on the other hand, thought the correct answer should be "I know what is at the end of the rainbow". I also thought the right sentence should be "I know what is under the table", not "I know what under the table is". The problem is, I'm not sure how to explain the exact reason.

    Can anyone give me a thorough and detailed explanation for this? Thank you :)

  2. #2
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Default Re: "I know what is under the table" or "I know what under the table is"?

    Your teacher is correct. You are informally correct too.
    The nominal clause serves as the object of the verb 'know'. The noun-clause marker 'what' comes first in the sub-clause, the verb comes last, and the rest of the clause is in-between.


    What is at the end of the rainbow --> what at the end of the rainbow is
    Last edited by svartnik; 10-Nov-2009 at 16:23. Reason: put some meat on the bone

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: "I know what is under the table" or "I know what under the table is"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    I'm an Indonesian (and therefore I live in Indonesia), and recently I have been learning noun clauses in English. The task was to change the questions given to noun clauses (for example "Who is she?" to "I know who she is" or "Where does he live?" to "Tell me where he lives").

    On one question, my teacher and I had a disagreement. The question was "What's at the end of the rainbow?" and my teacher told me that the answer was "I know what at the end of the rainbow is". I, on the other hand, thought the correct answer should be "I know what is at the end of the rainbow". I also thought the right sentence should be "I know what is under the table", not "I know what under the table is". The problem is, I'm not sure how to explain the exact reason.

    Can anyone give me a thorough and detailed explanation for this? Thank you :)
    Your teacher is wrong if you have understood her correctly.
    "I know what at the end of the rainbow is" is not a correct sentence.

    If you're talking about an object which is under the table, you say "I know what is under the table."

    It is possible to construct a sentence using the other form, but it means a different thing.
    A: Please get rid of the chewing gum stuck under the table. Look, under here.
    B: Yes, I know what under the table is. (I know what 'under the table' means).

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    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: "I know what is under the table" or "I know what under the table is"?

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    Your teacher is correct. You are informally correct too.
    The nominal clause serves as the object of the verb 'know'. The noun-clause marker 'what' comes first in the sub-clause, the verb comes last, and the rest of the clause is in-between.


    What is at the end of the rainbow --> what at the end of the rainbow is
    Maybe in German svartnik. Do you want to have another go?
    Certainly adding "I know" can change the word order.
    A carp is a fish. Yes, I know what a carp is. Not *I know what is a carp.

    But the OP has presented a different problem:
    A: What's in the box?
    B: You know what's in the box. Not *You know what in the box is.

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    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: "I know what is under the table" or "I know what under the table is"?

    Yes, exactly. It's possible to create a situation in which "I know what the end of the rainbow is" could be correct, but it doesn't match the situation you described.

    Do you know what's in my hand?
    Yes, I know what is in your hand.

    Do you know what is [hiding] under the table?
    I know what is under the table.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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