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I have a point of confusion regarding the use of interrogatives in English, as I am not a native speaker of English.

I want you to inquire from your teacher of English that are the classes of English punctuation going on or not?

In the above sentence, I think I have made a run-on sentence. Am I right? Or is the sentence grammatically correct?

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    A run-on sentence is two independent clauses with no connectors between them: "It's a beautiful day I'm going to the beach." Try this: "Please ask your English teacher if punctuation classes are still going on." – deadrat Nov 29 '15 at 17:43
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It's not a run-on sentence, but it's not grammatically correct. A run-on sentence would typically have multiple subjects and predicates all strung together, frequently with commas or no punctuation at all, where each clause "runs into" the next. You are communicating a thought that can be expressed as a proper sentence; it just needs a little work.

Try this:

I want you to ask your English teacher whether the classes about English punctuation are going on or not.

Key changes are highlighted in bold. In particular note:

  • "inquire" is more formal; "ask" is much more common. You can use "inquire" here and it would be grammatical, but it's very wordy (uses more words than necessary to communicate the idea clearly).
  • "your teacher of English" and "the classes of English punctuation" are technically correct, but most native English speakers wouldn't use this construction. This sounds more like how it would be said in Spanish (tu maestra de ingles). In English, the preference is to put the adjective before the noun for these simple cases. Note that I have offered another option (the classes about English punctuation) in the example above, using a more natural-sounding preposition.
  • "whether" is preferable to "that" in this instance. Use your favorite grammar book to do a little research on relative pronouns for more info. Also note that using the relative pronoun to introduce the dependent clause (basically, all the words after "that" in your original sentence) means that you need to move the verb (are) to its standard place after the subject noun phrase.
  • Because the core concept here is "I want you to ask your teacher something," it's not really a question. So the correct end punctuation is a period, not a question mark.

Final note: We are happy to help, but you may find that the English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a more useful resource for these types of questions.

Best wishes!

EDIT: A comment on the original question suggested the following revision:

Please ask your English teacher if (the) punctuation classes are still going on.

This is certainly more natural and the way that I would say it myself. I am leaving my original analysis above because I was attempting to change as few words as possible and articulate the reason for each edit. But this is a good revision and is worthy of note. (H/T deadrat)

  • Well, I am impressed by the quality of your answer. I want to ask one other question. Is it okay use question mark with the descriptive constructions of interrogative? In the above sentence, you haven't changed the order of the sentence and used question mark in the end. – Umer Malik Nov 29 '15 at 18:08
  • @UmerMalik Excellent point! No, it should be a period at the end, not a question mark. As you no doubt correctly deduced, the core concept of this sentence is "I want you to ask your teacher something." So it's not really a question. The exception would be if you were quoting a question, but then the question mark would be inside the quotation marks (Please ask your teacher, "When are the classes?"). I will update my answer to correct the punctuation error. Thanks. – Nonnal Nov 29 '15 at 18:12
  • Well, it is because of confidence your answer has given to me. I have plenty of questions regarding English Grammar, and I don't have the source to consult. Would it be okay to ask in the comment box? At a given moment, I just have only two questions in my mind. – Umer Malik Nov 29 '15 at 18:16
  • Once you have 20 reputation you can participate in Chat, which might be a good forum for general unstructured questions/discussions. Ask them here (in the comments) for now, and we can either answer them in the comments or perhaps even open one or more new questions if they are of interest to the general community. – Nonnal Nov 29 '15 at 18:25
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    No. If it's uncountable you can either omit the indefinite article ("I need additional information"), use a definite article, assuming that it fits your intended meaning ("I need the additional information"), or use a measurement and then move the object into a prepositional phrase ("I need a piece of additional information"). – Nonnal Nov 29 '15 at 18:34
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The word "that" is grammatically incorrect.

I want you to inquire from your teacher of English, "Are the classes of English punctuation going on or not?"


Using "of" is unnatural, but makes sense.

teacher of English --> English teacher

classes of English punctuation --> English punctuation classes


Here is a more natural version:

I want you to ask your English teacher, "Are the English punctuation classes going on or not?"

Here, the main clause is in the indicative mood.

  • I want you to ask your English teacher.

The interrogative clause is a dependent clause being used as a direct object.

  • I want you to ask your English teacher something.
  • something = "Are the English punctuation classes going on or not?"

If you use a dependent word like "that", the dependent clause cannot be in the interrogative.

Also, "that" doesn't work with "or not". You need "whether" or "if".

I want you to inquire from your English teacher whether the English punctuation classes are going on or not.

I want you to inquire from your English teacher if the English punctuation classes are going on or not.

These clauses are in the indicative mood, not the interrogative. They are "indicating" that you want something.

  • Your answer has provided me with the additional information; it has cleared my remaining doubts or confusions, Sir. – Umer Malik Nov 29 '15 at 18:20

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