When is a “what” not a “What?”

So maybe  you want to know what time it is. Ok, it’s now! But you didn’t ask me, did you? The “what statement” in this sentence:

“You want to know what time it is.”  .

.. is actually the OBJECT of “KNOW”. So, it’s NOT a question. That’s why we don’t move the verb IS in front of the noun like,

*Wrong* –> “You want to know what IS the time.” (TIME is the Subject here)

We can do the same thing with all of the CONTENT questions for verbs like:

I wonder WHO she is.    OR

Can you tell me WHEN you’re coming home?   OR

I’ve been thinking about WHEREI want to go on our holiday.   OR

I wish I knew HOW I can call for an Uber right now.     OR

If I found out WHY he had done this maybe I would understand.

These are called “Embedded Questions” but they’re not really questions at all but rather the objects of:

Wonder WHO // Tell me WHEN // Thinking about WHERE // Knew HOW I can // and Found out WHY.


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