where the bathroom is? / where is the bathroom? (Orden de las palabras en preguntas)

Palm

Member
Spanish
I have a little doubt about the order or words in sentences with two phrases.

Is it: Do you know where the bathroom is?
or: Do you know where is the bathroom?

Thanks a lot.
 
  • levmac

    Senior Member
    British English
    Palm - the grammar point here is "Embedded questions".

    You invert once, not twice.

    Do you know where the bathroom is?

    After the pronoun, use the normal word order: Subject + verb [+ object + etc]

    :thumbsup:

    P.S.: I think that "I have a doubt about" is absolutely fine :) They mean different things (a doubt : duda and a question: pregunta).

    I have to say I think English speakers generally use "question" for pregunta, duda, and consulta! I think if you look at English speakers posting questions on here, you will find they rarely use "doubt".

    Other natural possibilities: "I am confused about...", "I am unsure about..."
     

    Palm

    Member
    Spanish
    So “embedded questions“...
    Thanks everyone.
    Here´s another sentence but this one is from the Complete First Certificate (student´s book):
    If you studied in a different country, what do you think would be your biggest problem?
    According to what you said it should be: If you studied in a different country what do you think your biggest problem would be?
    Is is a mistake in the book?
     

    levmac

    Senior Member
    British English
    So “embedded questions“...
    Thanks everyone.
    Here´s another sentence but this one is from the Complete First Certificate (student´s book):
    If you studied in a different country, what do you think would be your biggest problem?
    According to what you said it should be: If you studied in a different country what do you think your biggest problem would be?
    Is is a mistake in the book?

    No, both structures here are possible. I can't tell you why! But I can show you that

    a) The direct question has two possible structures, unlike the first example:

    What would the biggest problem be? :tick:
    What would be the biggest problem? :tick:

    Where is the bathroom? :tick:
    Where the bathroom is? :cross:

    b) The verb "to think" also seems to have some kind of flexibility:

    What do you think is the problem? :tick:
    What do you think the problem is? :tick:

    Someone else might know the technical reason, but I suspect it's to do with one or two of those things!
     

    Lauren_SAME

    Senior Member
    USA
    English - America
    I have a little doubt about the order or words in sentences with two phrases.
    I am not sure about the order of the words in this sentence. -or- I am uncertain about the order of the words in this sentence.
    You wouldn't say "I have some/a little doubt."

    Is it: Do you know where the bathroom is? :tick:
    or: Do you know where is the bathroom? :cross: You could say, "Where is the bathroom?" but that's a little more forward/not as polite.

    Thanks a lot.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    What would the biggest problem be? :tick:
    This is fine because "The biggest problem would be that" is a valid statement structure.

    What would be the biggest problem? :tick:
    This is fine because "That would be the biggest problem" is a valid statement structure.

    Where is the bathroom? :tick:
    This is fine because the subject ("the bathroom") and verb "is" invert in a direct question (except in an in situ question).

    Where the bathroom is? [COLOR="#D0000"]X[/COLOR]
    This is wrong because it is a direct question and "where" is not in situ, so subject and verb should be inverted. (The in situ form would be "The bathroom is where?".)

    It is not the verb "to think" but the verb "is" that creates the flexibility:

    What do you think is the problem? :tick:
    "You think that is the problem" is a valid statement because "That is the problem" is a valid statement.

    What do you think the problem is? :tick:
    "You think the problem is that" is a valid statement because "The problem is that" is a valid statement.

    What do you think he did? :tick:
    "You think he did that" is valid because "He did that" is valid.

    What do you think did he? [COLOR="#D0000"]X[/COLOR]
    "You think did he" is invalid because neither "Did he that" nor "That did he" is a valid statement, at least in everyday English.

    Now the original questions:

    Do you know where the bathroom is?:tick:
    This is fine because "You know the bathroom is there" is a valid statement structure.

    Do you know where is the bathroom? OK
    This is not altogether wrong, but it is unusual. "You know there is the bathroom" is a valid but ambiguous statement structure.

    "There is" could mean "hay", in which case "there" would not be a place and the question would be "Do you know whether there is the bathroom?".

    But if we want to use "where" we need to be talking about a place, as in Spanish "ahí está". We do sometimes say "Here is the bathroom" (= "Aquí está el baño") or "There is the bathroom" (= "Allí está el baño"), and this is fine, but the usual word order is "The bathroom is here/there."

    So "You know the bathroom is here/there" is the usual word order, and "You know here/there is the bathroom" is less common. Not wrong, but much less common.
     
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