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  1. Lenka's Avatar

    • Join Date: May 2004
    • Posts: 863
    #1

    I wonder, I'm wondering ...

    My question is simple: I don't know how to start writing a new question to the forum.

    Can I start with the sentence: "I wonder...." or "I'm wondering" or "I would like to know..."? Which one sounds the best?

    Let's say I don't know the difference between the words "hello" and "bye" (I know it's quite a stupid example but it was the first thing that has come into my mind ).
    How shall I ask others to explain the difference? I mean are the sentences below correct?

    1) I wonder / I'm wondering what the difference between the words "hello" and "bye" is.
    or "I wonder / I'm wondering what is the difference....."?
    2) I would like to know/inquire what the difference between the words .... and .... is.

    Feel free to correct my English, please! Any correctin would be really helpful and I would be grateful (to you for correcting me) because I believe the best way to learn a language is by being corrected!

    Thanks in advance for your replies!

  2. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
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      • English
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      • Australia
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    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #2

    Re: I wonder, I'm wondering ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    My question is simple: I don't know how to start writing a new question to the forum.

    Can I start with the sentence: "I wonder...." or "I'm wondering" or "I would like to know..."? Which one sounds the best?

    Let's say I don't know the difference between the words "hello" and "bye" (I know it's quite a stupid example but it was the first thing that has come into my mind ).
    How shall I ask others to explain the difference? I mean are the sentences below correct?

    1) I wonder / I'm wondering what the difference between the words "hello" and "bye" is.
    or "I wonder / I'm wondering what is the difference....."?
    2) I would like to know/inquire what the difference between the words .... and .... is.

    Feel free to correct my English, please! Any correctin would be really helpful and I would be grateful (to you for correcting me) because I believe the best way to learn a language is by being corrected!

    Thanks in advance for your replies!
    Many people do not actually ask a question. (Note your first "question" is not a direct question). Your choice 1) is also not a direct question. The meaning is fairly obvious though, in this case, but you'd be surprised at how many people think they've asked a question and they actually haven't.

    How about:
    "Hello,
    Could somebody please tell me the difference between "hello" and "bye"? "
    An indirect question is not always wrong:
    "I'd like to know the difference between "hello" and "bye".
    At the unacceptable end is a subject line saying "hello and bye", with the message being "as per subject line".

    Incidentally, some readers are irritated by having to keep referring to the subject line. All question content should be in the message. That is, it is not good form to write "hello and bye" in the subject line, and "What's the difference between these two words" as the message.

    Other people don't like being thanked in advance, but I usually ignore it.
    That's about it. I'm sure other people have different preferences.

  3. Lenka's Avatar

    • Join Date: May 2004
    • Posts: 863
    #3

    Re: I wonder, I'm wondering ...

    Thanks for the answer, Raymott!

    So, is it acceptable and correct to start a thread by an indirect "question" with "I wonder/I'm wondering"?

    Which version (word order) is correct, then?
    I wonder / I'm wondering what the difference between the words "hello" and "bye" is.
    or "I wonder / I'm wondering what is the difference....."?

    By the way, what do you mean by this?
    "At the unacceptable end is a subject line saying "hello and bye", with the message being "as per subject line"."

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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      • English
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    • Join Date: Jun 2008
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    #4

    Re: I wonder, I'm wondering ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    Thanks for the answer, Raymott!

    So, is it acceptable and correct to start a thread by an indirect "question" with "I wonder/I'm wondering"?
    Yes, most people would understand that as a request for explanation.

    Which version (word order) is correct, then?
    I wonder / I'm wondering what the difference between the words "hello" and "bye" is.
    or "I wonder / I'm wondering what is the difference....."?
    "I'm wondering what the difference is between ... " This is best.
    Your first version is also correct.
    Your second version should be "I'm wondering: what is the difference ..."

    By the way, what do you mean by this?
    ["At the unacceptable end is a subject line saying "hello and bye", with the message being "as per subject line"."]

    It doesn't happen as much here as it does on some newsgroups.
    Someone writes in the subject line "hello and bye"; and writes in the message "see subject line".
    The intended meaning is something like "See the subject line for my question. I cannot be bothered writing a full sentence. If I did bother, I would mean 'What is the difference between 'hello' and 'bye' or 'How do you use these words?' But since I haven't asked a question, you must guess".

    "At the unacceptable end" means on the spectrum of questions ranging from excellent to unacceptable..."

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