Which of these sentences are correct?

  • Do you really want to know what is in my mind?
  • Do you really want to know what in my mind is?

I doubted it because people say: Do you know who I am? But if you follow up the same structure for the sentences above, it becomes rather weird! (or maybe I'm wrong?)

  • 2
    In what is in my mind, what is the subject. In who I am, I is the subject, not who. That's why the verb goes at the end there; the who got moved up to the front by question formation. – John Lawler Sep 25 '14 at 18:22
  • @JohnLawler Would you say that who is a subject complement in this case? – Matt Gutting Sep 25 '14 at 19:09
  • No. That's not how I use the term complement. Are you asking about this sentence, or the one it came from? – John Lawler Sep 25 '14 at 19:26

The first version is correct. (provided you change in my mind to on my mind)

Do you really want to know what is on my mind?

The reason is that what is the subject of your secondary clause.

Something (subject) is on my mind => Do you know what is on my mind?

If it were not the subject, the verb would go to the end.

My name is Javid (not the subject) => Do you want to know what my name is?

  • 1
    "in my mind" is not incorrect, it just means something else. – Wlerin Sep 25 '14 at 20:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.