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Someone sent me something and then checked back with me writing:

I would like to ask you that have you received my gift?

I myself thought this sentence was really uncommon (I have not heard it before). I discussed it with my friend and suggested that the correct way should be

I would like to ask if/whether you have received my gift.

He said both should be okay. Google gives more than 27 000 000 results for "I would like to ask you that have you" (maybe many people are incorrect?).

Since I am not a native speaker, I cannot prove that it is wrong.

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1  
That estimated 27,000,000 hits has now gone up to 30,100,000 - almost certainly influenced by this very question. But if you try to page through them, there are actually only 22 results. You don't seem to have mentioned it, but I would think it's almost certain your friend is not a native speaker (as is obviously the case with many if not most of the 22 results that Google eventually admits to). –  FumbleFingers Sep 2 '13 at 20:46
    
30,100,000 people can't be right. –  Edwin Ashworth Sep 2 '13 at 21:40
4  
Wow... I've used stack exchange sites for two years now I think but I doubt I'll ever understand the enthusiasm for closing relevant questions that are answerable and create interesting relevant discussion. ltt has learned something useful from my answer and I've learned useful detail from the excellent comments below... but apparently this sort of thing must be stopped because no "specific source of concern in the text is clearly identified" (to me there's a perfectly clear source of concern right there in the question, but never mind...) –  user568458 Sep 2 '13 at 22:15
    
Is this Indian English by any chance? –  TrevorD Sep 2 '13 at 23:37

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The use of "that" in a question isn't right, and "have you" should be reversed.


You'd use "that" if it was a statement, not a question: "it is true that...", for example:

  • I would like to tell you that you should have received my gift
  • I would like to show you that you must have received my gift
  • I would like to inform you that you will soon have received my gift

Your example is a question, so the word needs to match the intention of the question - indicating that this question seeks a yes or no answer:

  • I would like to ask you if you have received my gift?
  • I would like to ask you whether you have received my gift?

Replacing this changes the meaning of the question:

  • I would like to ask you how you have received my gift?
  • I would like to ask you when you have received my gift?
  • I would like to ask you why you have received my gift?
  • I would like to ask you who has received my gift?

Or maybe you meant more like this:

  • I would like to ask you a question: have you received my gift?
  • I would like to ask: have you received my gift?
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2  
All correct, except for the first sentence. It has nothing to do with the use of that in a question. Rather, it has to do with the fact that the verb ask with an indirect object can take either an infinitive complement (I would like to ask you to take out the garbage) or an embedded question complement, as here. It can't take a that-complement, as here; and it can't take a gerund complement, either (*I would like to ask you staying for a few minutes). All verbs have their own specific requirements for complements. –  John Lawler Sep 2 '13 at 20:43
3  
Please note @JohnLawler’s careful wording: ‘ask’ with an indirect object cannot take a that complement. If there is no indirect object, of course, it can: “We kindly ask that you refrain from smoking”. Also noteworthy, however, is the fact that the infinitive complement and the that complement are only possible when the meaning of ‘ask’ is ‘request’ rather than ‘pose a question’. Therefore, even if the verb and auxiliary are reversed, “I would like to ask that you have received my gift” is nonsense, because it is requesting someone to have already done something—which is not possible. –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 2 '13 at 20:51

I would like to ask you that have you received my gift?

I would like to ask (you) if you (have) received my gift?

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1  
@ Rubric K Venison: Thanks for your reply. I know and use the same way as you wrote. I just want to ask whether the mentioned alternative (in my question) is also ok. –  ltt Sep 2 '13 at 18:44
    
@ Rubric K Venison: Are you Groucho in disguise? –  Edwin Ashworth Sep 3 '13 at 8:21

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