Which sentence is correct?

  1. They won't tell me where is the office.

  2. They won't tell me where the office is.

  • 5
    Your title asks one question and your text asks a different question. They have opposite answers, and if you can't tell the difference between one question and another, it's unlikely we can offer you any help. – John Lawler Feb 19 '14 at 17:39
  • related (possible dupe) to the edited question: english.stackexchange.com/q/68737/8019 – Tim Lymington Mar 6 '14 at 17:23

The difference is between

a question in direct reported speech, or direct question

He asked: "Where is the station?"

He asked: "What are you doing this evening?"


a question in indirect reported speech, or indirect question

He asked where the station was/is (if the situation of the station has not changed).

He asked what I was doing that evening.

The word order in an indirect question is the word order of a declarative sentence, not of an interrogative one, that is:

Subject | (Auxiliary) | Verb | Object

There is no Auxiliary-Subject or Verb-Subject inversion as is the case in an interrogative sentence.

And there is not a question mark either.

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Where is the office? They won't tell me where the office is.

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They won't tell me where the office is is correct.

The problem with the first sentence is that using where + is is creating an interrogative mood, when the beginning of the sentence suggests an indicative mood.

The interrogative mood is commonly conveyed by inverting the subject-verb order. [Source][Author] The subject is the office and is is the verb, in the sentences you mentioned in the body of your question.

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