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    #1

    correct order of verb and noun

    Dear Teacher

    What did he say his name was?

    What did he say was his name?

    Are both sentences correct? If so, please tell me the difference between them.

    Thank you very much

    With best wishes

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: correct order of verb and noun

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    Dear Teacher

    What did he say his name was?

    What did he say was his name?

    Are both sentences correct? If so, please tell me the difference between them.

    Thank you very much

    With best wishes

    Both are fine, and there's not much difference that I can detect. The first concentrates on the event (the reported speech), and the second on the fact (the name). So in some contexts there'd be a preference for one over the other.

    E.g. - someone habitually gives a false name: What did he say his name was [this time]?

    Someone is sending a post-card, but can't remember the name of the addressee: What did he say was his name?

    But the difference is very slight. In most cases, they're equivalent.

    b

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: correct order of verb and noun

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    Dear Teacher

    What did he say his name was?

    What did he say was his name?

    Are both sentences correct? If so, please tell me the difference between them.

    Thank you very much

    With best wishes
    The first is better. We don't normally invert the subject and verb in an indirect question.

    The verb is correctrly inverted in the question part: "did he say".
    The indirect question should be "what...his name was."

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: correct order of verb and noun

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    The first is better. We don't normally invert the subject and verb in an indirect question.

    The verb is correctrly inverted in the question part: "did he say".
    The indirect question should be "what...his name was."
    I didn't mention formality. I agree with Mike, but informally some people say (omitting the punctuation, as speakers tend to!) 'What - did he say? - was his name?'

    b

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    #5

    Re: correct order of verb and noun

    Thanks, Mike and BobK, for your replies.

    Koh
    Last edited by kohyoongliat; 19-Dec-2006 at 11:47. Reason: edit

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