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What is the correct use of the verb in the following sentences:

  1. Could you tell me what kind of qualifications does a deputy coroner have?
  2. Could you tell me what kind of car he owns?
  3. What kind of underwear does he wear?

In the first and second example, I think the question is Could you, so the rest of the sentence should be written in simple form. The second example follows this "rule", however, the first insists on adding another interrogative form in does a deputy coroner have.

In the third example I think that What kind is the question, but there is an additional interrogative form at the end.

Which one is correct?

Thank you!

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Examples 2 and 3 are correct as they stand. Example 1 is only correct in Indian English, in which subordinate clauses in questions do not change their word order. Correct forms of example 1 in standard English include:

  • Could you tell me what kind of qualifications a deputy coroner has?

  • Could you tell me—what kind of qualifications does a deputy coroner have?

  • What kind of qualifications does a deputy coroner have? Could you tell me?

Here, “what kind of qualifications a deputy coroner has” is simply a noun phrase, which can be used just about anywhere a noun can be used. A simpler example:

  • How old are you?

  • Do I know how old you are?

  • I don’t know how old you are.

Notice that the interrogative is always inverted—could you, does he, are you, and so on.

  • Great. An additional question: Why What kind of qualifications is not considered an interrogative sentence on its own with the last part a deputy coroner has as a subordinate clause? – Robert Smith Mar 14 '14 at 6:04
  • I'm thinking that maybe it is because a deputy coroner has is not a full sentence. Could you clarify this? – Robert Smith Mar 20 '14 at 15:37

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