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    #1

    tell me what the matter is

    We say 'Please tell me what is the matter'. But can we say 'Please tell me what the matter is' without changing the meaning?

    I thought of this when I read in a grammar book written by a Chinese professor of English: Tell me who he is. And also: Tell me who is he.

    Thank you very much.


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    #2

    Re: tell me what the matter is

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    We say 'Please tell me what is the matter'. But can we say 'Please tell me what the matter is' without changing the meaning?

    I thought of this when I read in a grammar book written by a Chinese professor of English: Tell me who he is. And also: Tell me who is he.

    Thank you very much.
    I'd say that the normal neutral is to not use the question form, 'tell me who he is', because it isn't a question, however there are times when it can be used and it's more emphatic.

    • Member Info
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    #3

    Re: tell me what the matter is

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    I'd say that the normal neutral is to not use the question form, 'tell me who he is', because it isn't a question, however there are times when it can be used and it's more emphatic.
    Dear RiverKid,
    You mean we should say 'tell me who he is'. And how about 'tell me what the matter is'?

    Thank you very much for the trouble.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
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    #4

    Re: tell me what the matter is

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Dear RiverKid,
    You mean we should say 'tell me who he is'. And how about 'tell me what the matter is'?

    Thank you very much for the trouble.

    We "shouldn't" say anything in language, Joham, save for what we need to express our meaning and feelings/emotions.

    The non-question form is the normal neutral, the other is more emphatic.

    Girl A: Did you see the new boy in school. What a dreamboat!

    Girl B, C and D: Tell us, who is he?!!

    ======================

    A: I'm having a problem.

    B: [exasperated with A who always complains to B] Tell me - what IS the problem?!!

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