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    #1

    Can anyone/you/somebody

    Hi all,

    I would like to know how to use "Can anyone/you/somebody tell me" in one sentence.

    For example, normally to ask for the time, you say "What is the time?" but when you try to be more polite and use "Can you tell" you say, "Can you tell me what the time is?" and not "Can you tell what is the time?" right? Or both of the sentences are correct?

    I've been googling about for many times but I can't seem to find the answer.

  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Can anyone/you/somebody

    I think "could you" is even more polite.

    Not a teacher.

  2. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Can anyone/you/somebody

    Hello, Lim Choon Yen

    If you are asking about 'indirect questions', please go to:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/le...agepoint.shtml
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...he-money/page2

    I hope my response will be of some assistance to you.

    (Edit)
    "Can you tell me what the time is?"
    "Can you tell me what is the time?"

    Both of these sentences are correct, in my opinion.
    Last edited by tzfujimino; 07-Jun-2014 at 13:56.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Can anyone/you/somebody

    I would mark "Can you tell me what is the time?" as incorrect. The following are correct:

    What is the time?
    Can you tell me the time?
    Can you tell me what the time is?

    And yes, "Could you" could be used at the start of those too. From a pedantic point of view, the answer to "Can you tell me the time?" might be "Yes, I can" followed by the person walking away without giving the time. They are stating simply that they are able to look at their watch and tell you what the time is. They just choose not to.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  4. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Can anyone/you/somebody

    "What time is it?" can also be used according to my Oxford dictionary.

    Not a teacher.

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Can anyone/you/somebody

    That is correct.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. Odessa Dawn's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Can anyone/you/somebody

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I would mark "Can you tell me what is the time?" as incorrect.
    Would you mark it incorrect in conversation?

  7. probus's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Can anyone/you/somebody

    I would mark "Can you tell me what is the time?" as incorrect.
    Me too. But what about "Can you tell me what the time is?" That sounds pretty good to me,
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 07-Jun-2014 at 20:32. Reason: Put quote box back in

  8. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Can anyone/you/somebody

    Would you mark it incorrect in conversation?

    I don't mark conversations but if I heard "Can you tell me what is the time?" I would assume the speaker was a non-native who had not learnt the correct construction for such a question.


    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    I would mark "Can you tell me what is the time?" as incorrect.

    Me too. But what about "Can you tell me what the time is?" That sounds pretty good to me,
    "Can you tell me what the time is?" was my third suggested correct question in post #4.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  9. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Can anyone/you/somebody

    In his Practical English Usage Third Edition (on page 253), Michael Swan writes:

    Questions beginning who/what/which + be can ask for a subject or a complement. Compare:
    Who is the best player here? (This asks for a subject: a possible answer is John is the best player here.)
    What is the time? (This asks for a complement: a possible answer is The time is 4.30, NOT 4.30 is the time.)
    When we report the first kind of question (where who/what/which + be asks for a subject), two word orders are possible.

    - Direct: Who's the best player here?
    Indirect: She asked me who was the best player.
    She asked me who the best player was.
    -Direct: What's the matter?
    Indirect: I asked what was the matter.
    I asked what the matter was. [...]
    This does not happen when who/what/which asks for a complement.
    -Direct: What's the time?
    Indirect: She asked what the time was. (NOT USUALLY She asked what was the time.)
    He doesn't say it's incorrect, but I understand that it is unnatural/grammatically questionable and should be avoided.
    I'll take back what I said in my previous post.
    I'd like to apologize for any confusion it may have caused.
    Last edited by tzfujimino; 07-Jun-2014 at 14:00.

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