The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

May I know what your name is? Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 1:52:39 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
Posts: 5,454
Neurons: 22,592
What is your name?
1. May I know what your name is?

What is in your hand?
2. May I know what is in your hand?

I would like to know why inversion is needed in the first reply but not in the second?

Thanks.


srirr
Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 7:35:13 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 12/29/2009
Posts: 7,776
Neurons: 406,424
It's the structure.

<Wh-question> is <a noun/ pronoun>?
What is your name?
Who are you?
Where is the cat?
Where were you going?

On inversion, these structures become <wh-question> <noun/ pronoun> is/are?
May I know what your name is?
May I know who you are?
May I know where the cat is?
May I know where you were going?

But, the second structure is different. It is "<wh-question> is <a prepositional phrase>". So, it is not inverted that way.
What is in your hand?
May I know what is in your hand?

Read it as "What is it that is in your hand?" And then it can take the inversion.
What is it that is in your hand?
May I know what it is that is in your hand?





We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. ~ Swami Vivekanand
sureshot
Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 1:41:48 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/16/2015
Posts: 2,309
Neurons: 410,329
Koh Elaine wrote:
What is your name?
1. May I know what your name is?

What is in your hand?
2. May I know what is in your hand?

I would like to know why inversion is needed in the first reply but not in the second?

Thanks.



__________________________

An indirect question follows the pattern "subject + verb + ...". "Inversion" is not done in an indirect question.

Sentence 1 does not require inversion because it follows the usual grammatical pattern "subject + verb" in the indirect question.

Sentence 2 is heard but it is not in accordance with the usual grammar pattern. To overcome the problem, one should say:

- May I know what you are holding? [= May I know what you are holding (in your hand)?]

The phrase "in your hand" is superfluous as it does not add to the meaning.

Romany
Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 3:57:41 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 15,637
Neurons: 49,309
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Now that, hopefully, the question has been answered Koh, may I say something about usage?

The title of the thread - the first sentence - is, I know, used in many places is Asia. Which means it's used in different kinds of Asian English.

So I stress again I am not saying it's wrong. My response is prompted by the fact that I know Koh speaks - and wants to improve -BE. And to most BE ears this sounds almost servile: unnecessarily humble. Or as if the secret of our name is not usually known.

In BE a secretary might say "May/Might I have your name please? "May/Might I ask your name, please" to someone on the phone.. But normally the person who wants to know someone else's name introduces them selves first: "Hello, I'm Koh from ABC company/school" and customarily the other responds "Oh hi, Koh, good to meet you: I'm Some Wan for AN.Other company/school." It's just automatic, really.



Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum RSS : RSS
Forum Terms and Guidelines | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2008-2019 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.