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  1. Junior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Javanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2009
    • Posts: 40

    tell me what/who/when etc.

    Dear Teacher,

    a) Can you tell me who he is?
    b) Can you tell me who is he?

    I think a) is grammatically correct and b) is not.

    By the same rule,

    c) Can you tell me what the best way to remove the skin from an avocado that is not very ripe is?
    d) Can you tell me what is the best way to remove the skin from an avocado that is not very ripe? (no comma between "me" and "what")

    I would have to say c) is grammatically correct and d) is not.
    However, c) is kind of awkward, and moreover, it appears that many people actually write (and presumably speak) like d).
    (Try googling with the key prase "tell me what is".)

    Could you clarify?

  2. 5jj's Avatar
    VIP Member
    Retired English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134

    Re: tell me what/who/when etc.

    In indirect questions we do not normally use the subject-verb inversion that we use in direct questions. However, if the subject is quite long and the verb is a linking verb, we sometimes invert to make the sentence easier to comprehend.


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