Student or Learner
I have a silly question...I know it maybe a simple question but I'm not sure if it's grammatically correct...so please could anyone tell me?
1. May I ask what it mean?
2. May I ask what it means?
3. May I ask what does it mean?
4. May I ask what that mean?
5. May I ask what that means?
Which of the above sentence is correct?
And for no.4 & 5, I think they're both correct because "that" can imply both singular or plural nouns, am I right?
I'm glad you now have a clear head.
May I ask what is wrong with "May I ask what does it mean?"?
If you simply said "What does it mean?" that would be correct.
If you replace the word "it" with, for example, a word you are unsure of, you may see my point. Imagine you are confused about the word "genius". You can say...
May I ask what genius means?
Genius - what does it mean?
Genius - may I ask what it means?
What does genius mean?
We would rarely use "it does mean" in place of "it means" unless we were trying to be very emphatic. Imagine the following conversation:
- Genius means a very clever person.
- No, you're wrong. It means a friendly person.
- Are you sure? I thought it meant a very clever person.
- I'm sure it means a friendly person.
- I've just looked it up in the dictionary. I'm right. It does mean "very clever".
(One way of avoiding the problem of handling the finite verb is to ask 'What is the meaning of...?)