who the winner of the game is/who is the winner of the game

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El10

Senior Member
Spanish-Colombia
1. Who won the game?
2. Who is the winner of the game?

If both 1 and 2 are subject questions where who is the subject, then why do we have to change the order of 2 when embedding it into a longer sentence:

1a. I want to know who won the game. (There is no change in 1.)
2a. I want to know who the winner of the game is. (The order of 2 changes here.)

Why is it incorrect to write: "I want to know who is the winner of the game" in these cases where we have a subject question (which is not in inverted order) embedded into a longer sentence?
 
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  • SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    But it is wrong if you write, as many people do, "I want to know who is the winner of the game?"

    Note the question mark, which should not be there.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I prefer to reserve "Who is the winner of the game?" for questions. "I want to know who the winner of the game is." --This is a statement, not a question.

    To me, "I want to know who the winner of the game is" makes it clear that "who" isn't being used as an interrogative pronoun. Instead "who" fronts a clause that functions as an object of the verb "know": I want to know something. I want to know who the winner of the game is.

    Though I can understand its meaning, the interrogative word order in this situation sounds a little unnatural to me.
     
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    treecrown

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Cuba
    hi guys!
    the thing about this sentence is that who the winner of the game is is a noun clause, and in noun clauses the subjects always precedes the verb, you can not use question word order in noun clauses. the winner of the game is the subject of the noun clause, so it is placed before the verb.
    if you say I want to know who lives here , who is the subject, so it precedes the verb.
    Greetings.
     

    El10

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Colombia
    The fact that question number 2 is in normal sentence order and contains a linking verb (is) confuses me:

    2. Who is the winner of the game? = He is the winner of the game.

    As I see it, when you take 1 and embed it into a longer sentence, the order of 1 doesn't change and who continues to be the subject of the embedded clause; but when you do the same with 2, its order changes and who now represents the subject complement (the winner of the game is who). Is this correct?
     
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    El10

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Colombia
    hi guys!
    the thing about this sentence is that who the winner of the game is is a noun clause, and in noun clauses the subjects always precedes the verb, you can not use question word order in noun clauses. the winner of the game is the subject of the noun clause, so it is placed before the verb.
    if you say I want to know who lives here , who is the subject, so it precedes the verb.
    Greetings.
    But the question Who is the winner of the game? is not in question word order. It is in normal sentence order because it's a subject question. That's why I asked if I necessarily have to change the order of words in a subject question when embedding it into a longer sentence. For example, I know that both I want to know who the winner of the game is and Can you tell me who the winner of the game is? are correct, but I wonder why I cannot say, I want to know who is the winner of the game and Can you tell me who is the winner of the game? I mean, if the embedded question was already in normal sentence order, why should I change the order when embedding it or making it into an indirect question?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hi, El 10.

    I know that you've been waiting for an answer for a while. I don't really have the patience to search through grammar sites this evening to provide you an authoritative reason for why you should avoid that word order in your example. I can give you a couple examples of normal word order, however:

    Question: Who is she?
    Statement: I want to know who she is.:thumbsup: (Weird word order) I want to know who is she.:confused:

    Question: Who is the winner of the game?
    Statement: I want to know who the winner of the game is.:thumbsup: (Weird word order) I want to know who is the winner of the game.:confused:

    Question: Who won the game?
    Statement: I want to know who won the game.:thumbsup: Just as you noted in post 1, this phrasing is fine. I can't think of any rule to help you, but you need to change the word order when you use the verb "be" in a statement derived from a question.

    Perhaps this is also true for other verbs, but "be" is the only verb I can think of at the moment that requires this reordering of the words in the question.
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    1. Who won the game?
    2. Who is the winner of the game?

    If both 1 and 2 are subject questions where who is the subject, then why do we have to change the order of 2 when embedding it into a longer sentence:

    1a. I want to know who won the game. (There is no change in 1.)
    2a. I want to know who the winner of the game is. (The order of 2 changes here.)

    Why is it incorrect to write: "I want to know who is the winner of the game" in these cases where we have a subject question (which is not in inverted order) embedded into a longer sentence?
    In 2 you have the subject - auxiliary verb inversion typical of questions. Remove the syntactic form of a question (that is, remove "?"), and the subject ("the winner of the game") and auxiliary verb ("is") switch back to their normal (canonical) positions (subject before the verb). That's why 2a becomes I want to know who the winner of the game is. By contrast, in 1, there is no auxiliary verb and there is no inversion; as a result, in 1a, the structure remains subject ("who") before the verb ("won"): I want to know who won the game.

    Cheers
     

    El10

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Colombia
    Hi, El 10.

    I know that you've been waiting for an answer for a while. I don't really have the patience to search through grammar sites this evening to provide you an authoritative reason for why you should avoid that word order in your example. I can give you a couple examples of normal word order, however:

    Question: Who is she?
    Statement: I want to know who she is.:thumbsup: (Weird word order) I want to know who is she.:confused:

    Question: Who is the winner of the game?
    Statement: I want to know who the winner of the game is.:thumbsup: (Weird word order) I want to know who is the winner of the game.:confused:

    Question: Who won the game?
    Statement: I want to know who won the game.:thumbsup: Just as you noted in post 1, this phrasing is fine. I can't think of any rule to help you, but you need to change the word order when you use the verb "be" in a statement derived from a question.

    Perhaps this is also true for other verbs, but "be" is the only verb I can think of at the moment that requires this reordering of the words in the question.
    Hi owlman5, and thank you very much for your help:thumbsup:

    In 2 you have the subject - auxiliary verb inversion typical of questions. Remove the syntactic form of a question (that is, remove "?"), and the subject ("the winner of the game") and auxiliary verb ("is") switch back to their normal (canonical) positions (subject before the verb). That's why 2a becomes I want to know who the winner of the game is. By contrast, in 1, there is no auxiliary verb and there is no inversion; as a result, in 1a, the structure remains subject ("who") before the verb ("won"): I want to know who won the game.

    Cheers
    Oh, I see it now. I got confused and mistakenly thought that 2 was a subject question -- it is not. If it were a subject question, it would have to be in normal sentence order (like 1), but it is in inverted order. I'm sorry for my mistake:oops:, and I have two more questions:

    1. Is it correct to say that 2 is a simple WH-question that asks for the subject complement or for an adverbial, just like What is her name? and Where is she now? do? Or what would be the correct term for a question like 2?

    2. If auxiliary verbs always occur with a main verb, then why is "is" and auxiliary verb in 2? What is the main verb then?
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    1. Yes, it's a wh-question; and, yes (if I follow you correctly), it's asking information about what, by the structure of the question, is the subject complement. Of course, in the answer, the subject complement becomes the subject.
    2. My apologies; I should've said "linking verb" (not "auxiliary"), and the linking verb "is" is the main verb.

    Cheers
     

    El10

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Colombia
    1. Yes, it's a wh-question; and, yes (if I follow you correctly), it's asking information about what, by the structure of the question, is the subject complement. Of course, in the answer, the subject complement becomes the subject.
    2. My apologies; I should've said "linking verb" (not "auxiliary"), and the linking verb "is" is the main verb.

    Cheers
    Thank you. What confuses me, though, is that when we ask the question Who is the winner of the game? (2), we have two possible answers. For example:

    A1. Barcelona is the winner of the game
    A2. The winner of the game is Barcelona.

    So I don't know if 2 is asking for the subject or for the subject complement. Anyway, If we agree that 2 is asking for the subject, it seems to me that A1 should be the correct answer and that 2 is a subject question. But if 2 is asking for the subject complement, then I think that A2 is the right answer and that 2 is not a subject question.

    Also, if we change is to become in 2, we have the following:

    3. Who became the winner of the game?

    Then the answer would be, for example, Barcelona became the winner of the game, not The winner of the game became Barcelona. And if we use 3 to create either a longer sentence or an indirect question, the results will be as follows:

    3a. I want to know who became the winner of the game.
    3b. Can you tell me who became the winner of the game?

    So the point is that we don't have to change the word order in 3a and 3b as we have to do in 2a, which makes me think that both 2 and 3 are subject questions after all:confused:; and if so, then I still don't understand why we have to change the order of the words in 2a. So I would like to ask you the following please: Is 2 a subject question? And If it is a subject question which is already in normal sentence order, then why do we have to change the word order of the question when turning it into an indirect question or a longer statement?
     
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