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  1. Slow learner

    Correct expression

    Dear Teachers,
    I am not sure whether the following expression is correct grammatically. Perhaps,someone is kind enough to enlighten me on this.

    I have not been able to locate the following students for the past few
    weeks. Do you know where are they ?

    My problem is :" Do you know where are they ?" or " Do you know
    where they are ? "

    Thanks for great help.

  2. #2

    Re: Correct expression

    .......where they are?

  3. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552

    Re: Correct expression

    "...where they are" is correct here.

    This is a very nasty trap. Usually, when we ask a question in English, the word order is as follows:

    1. Question word
    2. Helping verb
    3. Subject
    4. Main verb

    In this case, there is no main verb, only a helping verb, so you'd expect "where are they?" to be correct -- it's a question, right?

    Not quite: the question is "Do you know X?". There's no question word here, but the word order helping verb, subject, main verb is followed. The rest -- "where they are" -- is the object of "know", so it is not actually a question: it's a thing.

    This was obviously a trick question: you were supposed to think: "Ooh, it's a question, there's a question mark to prove it!" Yes, but the question is in the main clause "Do you know...?", not the subordinate clause which acts almost like a noun here.

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