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I got this sentence from a Primary 5 student's worksheet.

According to this passage, this creature can be found where?

Some of the parents think that the sentence should be "..., where can this creature be found?" One of the teachers said that "where" can be put at the end of the sentence, too.

All of us, the parents and the teacher, are non-native English speakers. Please enlighten us.

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closed as off-topic by Kris, Josh61, medica, tchrist, RyeɃreḁd May 17 '14 at 20:12

  • This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This question is better asked on English Language Learners – Kris May 17 '14 at 6:16
@Kris and others, thanks for the pointer to ELL. Although I've gain some understanding here from Edwin, F.E., jthill, and njboot, I'll repost this topic at ELL for some more insight. – idar May 18 '14 at 3:03

Placing the wh-word in a question containing one at the end is uncommon except in what are known as echo questions:

Leslie: "I put the deer carcass in the laundry room."

Kelly: "You put it where?!?"


Sabrina: "I went to the party last night.

Salem: You did WHAT!?"


_"This creature can be found up the rear end of sea cucumbers."

_"This creature can be found where?"

Otherwise, this type of end-focus isn't common (though it is not ungrammatical). It would be used only to focus attention on the wh-word itself, say in a quiz or test:

Napoleon's second place of exile was ... where?

(Or perhaps when doing a Noël Coward impression.)

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+1 for use of rear end of sea cucumbers which oddly enough is also where their respiratory organs are. As you say, which I think should be at the top of your answer, _typically used in a quiz or test (a question) _, which appears to fit the OP perfectly. – Frank May 17 '14 at 7:56

This creature can be found where?"

Yes, that is an interrogative clause, due to the presence of the interrogative word "where".

In your example, the interrogative word/phrase has not been fronted, but rather it has been left in place (that is, in situ). When the interrogative word/phrase is fronted, then obligatory subject-aux inversion occurs--if that clause is a main clause.

  1. "This creature can be found where?"

  2. "Where can this creature be found?"

Both clauses are of the type that is grammatically known as interrogative clause.

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It's grammatical because for instance one might start out saying "this creature can be found" and then realize he doesn't actually know or isn't sure he understood. Listeners understand. So, some such mental process, one that naturally starts out declarative and unexpectedly switches to the interrogative at the end, is implied.

A tutor might use it, to check if the student's paying attention, or a text might use it as it's used here, to focus attention on the demand.

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In both cases, either a period or a semicolon is required. The second sentence is less awkward, in my opinion. As F.E. stated, both are examples of the interrogative.

Gargantuzilla hides in dark places. This creature can be found where?

Gargantuzilla hides in dark places. Where can this creature be found?

In order to use a comma, you need a conjunction:

Gargantuzilla hides in dark places, but where can this creature be found?

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