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10-K) Embedded Questions (EnglishHarmony) UNIT 10 lesson K

Embedded questions are a special kind of question (or non-question) that uses no inversion. Watch the video, read the explanations and see the other video in this lesson.

An embedded question is a question inserted inside a sentence. In English, questions always have inversion (the verb goes before the subject), but embedded questions have no inversion because they are not real questions.

affirmative --> You are Joshua
interrogative --> Who are you?
embedded question --> I don't know who you are.  (we can't say I don't know who are you because I'm not asking a question)

An embedded question may go inside another question. In that case, the real question (the first) has inversion, and the embedded question (the second) doesn't --> One question = One inversion (never more):

question --> Where is Sofia?
embedded question --> Do you know where Sofia is?

Many languages use inversion for real questions and for embedded question, so if your language is like that, be careful.


When will you come here? --> I have no idea when you will come here
How do you open this? --> She wanted to know how you open that
Where did you go yesterday --> She asked me where I went the day before
What is John doing here --> I want to know what John is doing here
When did she learn how to ride? --> I can't remember when she learnt how to ride
Why do leaves change colour in autumn? --> I don't know why leaves change colour in autumn
What does your sister want? --> I don't know what my sister wants

In unit 1 we saw a song called "What's your name", by Usher. Listen to that song again and pay attention to a sentence he uses with an embedded question:

- What's your name? I wanna know who you are.  (wanna = want to)
- Who are you? --> question
- I wanna know who you are --> embedded question

Watch Usher's video:


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