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  1. #1
    maydayman is offline Newbie
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    word order in a subordinate wh-clause

    Hi, I'm doubtful whether both of these two sentences are grammatically acceptable:

    (a) They are people who did not realize how close they were to success.
    (b) They are people who did not realize how close to success they were.


    Is sentence (b) also grammatically acceptable?


    What about these two?


    (c) I didn't realize how interested he was in magic.
    (d) I didn't realize how interested in magic he was.

    In terms of school grammar, I've been told sentences (a) and (c) only are correct.
    I wonder, however, whether sentences (b) and (d) could be plausible spoken forms.
    Please let me know.
    Last edited by maydayman; 07-Jul-2010 at 12:14.

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: word order in a subordinate wh-clause

    Quote Originally Posted by maydayman View Post
    Hi, I'm doubtful whether both of these two sentences are grammatically acceptable:
    ['Both' implies 'two']
    (a) They are people who did not realize how close they were to success.
    (b) They are people who did not realize how close to success they were.
    Is sentence (b) also grammatically acceptable?
    Yes, they are both correct.

    What about these two?

    (c) I didn't realize how interested he was in magic.
    (d) I didn't realize how interested in magic he was.
    Yes, they are both correct.

    In terms of school grammar, I've been told sentences (a) and (c) only are correct.
    It sounds like a beginner's rule, to stop sentences getting away from you and forgetting the verb.
    "I didn't realize how interested in studying hard, getting a degree and doing something positive to change the world he was."
    This would be better written in the other form.


    I wonder, however, whether sentences (b) and (d) could be plausible spoken forms.
    Please let me know.
    All of these sentences are good in both spoken and written English.

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