Friday, November 12, 2010

Embedded/Included Questions

"The Guitar Player" Jan Vermeer, 1672
An embedded or included question is always a noun clause. It is the object of the verb, as in the following sentence: I don't know where the supermarket is. "where the supermarket is" is a noun clause, the object of the verb "know". The noun clause must always be in the word order: subject+verb. So, a noun clause can never be in the form of a question.

If it is an information question, (when, what, where, why, whose, which, how much, how many, etc.), the noun clause begins with the question word.

If it is a yes/no question, such as "Is this your book?" The noun clause begins with "if" or "whether".





Exercise: Change the following questions to noun clauses after the appropriate main clauses supplied.

1. When does the train arrive?
Do you know

2. Was Sam in San Francisco last year?
I don't know

3. Where's your brother going to live next year?
I'm not exactly sure

4. What is the teacher's name?
Can you tell me

5. Does this school have a cafeteria?
Could you please tell me

6. When did the new factory open?
Do you remember

7. Where can I find a good shoe store?
Do you happen to know

8. How far is Oregon from here?
I'd like to find out

9. What time is it?
Could you please tell me

10. Are there any new employees this week?
I really can't tell you

11. How much does this computer cost?
Do you know

12. Where are the restrooms in this building?
Could you please tell me

13. When did the First World War begin?
Do you happen to know

14. How long has Jack been here?
I'm really not sure

15. How did she break her leg?
Poor Maria! Do you happen to know

16. What kind of guitar is that lady playing?
I don't have any idea

17. What did she say?
I didn't hear

18. What was the answer?
She remembered

19. What movie did we see yesterday?
I don't recall

20. What did you explain in class?
I'm trying to remember


The following is an excellent video from Learning American English. It has a good explanation of the Noun Clause.




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  3. I think that embedded question of number three is incorrect.
    "I'm not exactly sure where YOUR brother is going to live next year"

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    Replies
    1. You're right since this topic is embedded questions not indirect ones, although both are similar and a bit confusing!

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    2. I would say that #3 is not what we also call "reported speech", where "your" would be more accurate to present the ideas of the question in an indirect way. Rather, there is an implied conversation here and thus we need to embed the clause while also responding to the person who asked the question (and thus change 'your' to 'my').

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  4. Glax, it is the possessive adjective. The first person is asking about the second persons brother. Then when the second person in that conversation answers, he is talking about HIS brother.

    Example; "How is your mother?" "My mother is well and how is your mother?"

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    1. Thank you, anonymous. That's the answer I was also going to give Glax. But you articulated it very well.

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  9. 20. What did you explain in class?

    I'm trying to remember what you explained in class.
    I'm trying to remember what I explained in class.

    Which sentence is correct?
    I think the first answer is right. But the answer is the second.
    Could you explain why the second is the answer?

    Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. I'm trying to remember what I explained in class, is correct, base on the question "What did YOU explain in class?"

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    2. See my answer above to Glax. This is a conversational change, not a direct reporting of the original sentence.

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