Can you tell me what is this? or What this is?

rafaelgan

Senior Member
Spanish
I wonder if there is a difference:

Can you tell me what is this?
Can you tell me what this is?


I know that you can put "is" at the end, but I forgot in which cases.

By the way, "which" is correct or should it be "what"?

Thanks.
 
  • jann

    co-mod'
    English - USA
    Can you tell me what this is? :tick:
    This sentence reflects an indirect question, and is the most common way to say this idea (and the best way to say it in writing).

    Can you tell me, what is this?
    This is a direct question. This option is common in spoken English, and but it really isn't so great in writing unless you are recording a dialog. There is a pause between the two halves of the sentence (marked by the comma), because there are actually two direct questions: Can you tell me? and What is this?

    Remember that you can't ask a direct question without inversion... :)
     

    Shy One

    New Member
    u.s.a.(az) english
    i dont know if this is what your looking for but...if you say "what is this? that is in the form of a question..and if you say What this is its more in the form of a direct question you know more serious WHAT THIS IS...i hope it helped...
     

    Starbuck

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    I wonder if there is a difference:

    Can you tell me what is this?
    Can you tell me what this is?


    I know that you can put "is" at the end, but I forgot in which cases.

    By the way, "which" is correct or should it be "what"?

    Thanks.

    Rafael,

    "Can you tell me what this is?" is an embedded question (what is this?) inside a question (can you tell me?). Let me give you a couple of other examples:

    She asked, "Who is that man?"
    She asked who that man was.

    He asked, "What time is it?"
    He asked what time it was.

    They asked, "Who is he?"
    They asked who he was.

    Other examples:
    Can you tell me what time it is?
    Do you know where she is?

    Hope this helps.
    Starbuck :)
     
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