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    #1

    Interrogative words in indirect speech

    Which one is correct:
    (1) No one knew for certain what was the matter with her.
    (2) No one knew for certain what the matter was with her.
    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: Interrogative words in indirect speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepurple View Post
    Which one is correct:
    (1) No one knew for certain what was the matter with her.
    (2) No one knew for certain what the matter was with her.
    Thank you.
    Both of those are possible.

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    #3

    Re: Interrogative words in indirect speech

    With respect, would you tell me the subtle difference of them. Thanks again.

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    #4

    Re: Interrogative words in indirect speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepurple View Post
    With respect, would you tell me the subtle difference of them. Thanks again.
    There is no difference in meaning.

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    #5

    Re: Interrogative words in indirect speech

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) I have found an expert who says there is a difference, BUT he himself says that neither sentence "is more normal than the other." In other words, the difference makes no difference!

    (2) IF (repeat: If) I understand this expert, here is the unimportant difference:

    (a) Mona: No one knew for certain what was the matter with her.

    George: I knew. Losing her youthful looks was the matter with her.

    Mona: Poor baby!

    (b) Mona: No one knew for certain what the matter was with her.

    George: I knew. The matter with her was losing her youthful looks.

    Mona: Poor baby!

    *****

    I found this information in a famous book entitled A Dictionary of Modern English Usage by the famous H.W. Fowler. He wrote it in the ancient days of 1926. Today many people ridicule (make fun of) him as being old-fashioned. Other people feel, however, that he will be the master until the end of time. (I have the second edition, 1965, page 279.)

    *****

    P.S. If I had my druthers (that's how we old people used to say "If I had my choice"), I should choose the second sentence.

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    #6

    Re: Interrogative words in indirect speech

    Thank you so much, Parser. That's what I want to know.
    I asked this question because many grammar books had told us that the word order of an interrogative clause in a sentence should be changed to "Wh-word +subject +verb..." as distinct from an independent interogative sentence "Wh-word +verb +subject...?".

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