My girlfriend and I have a little disagreement and we would love to have somebody set it straight for us once and for all.

We would like to know what is the correct way of saying the sentence below.

A - I would like to know how much can I do...

B - I would like to know how much I can do...


The normal pattern in English is that, while direct questions show inversion of the subject and the (auxiliary) verb:

How much can I do?

indirect questions do not:

I would like to know how much I can do.

You do sometimes hear A above in speech, but like many non-standard forms that you hear, it usually represents somebody changing their mind in the middle about what they intended to say.


Contemporary grammar books will say that B is correct and A is incorrect.

Some simple examples (from Cambridge Grammar in use 3rd Ed.):

  1. What time is it? (inverted word order, simple question) - Do you know what time it is? (direct word order, question consists of two clauses)

  2. Who are those people? (inverted) - I don't know who those people are. (direct word order, sentence with two clauses)

Grammar books clearly prescribe that one should use direct word order in such sentences.

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