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My friend asked me about my colleague and I replied him that "I don't know where she went". Then he replied that I must say like "I don't know where did she go".

Is there any mistake in the former sentence?

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2 Answers 2

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If the question was "where did she go" then to refer to that in a response, in your own words, you would normally say "where she went". Examples:

  • A: Where did Susan go?

  • B: She went to Brussels. That's where she went.

  • A: Did she go to Brussels?

  • B: Yes, that's where she went.

  • A: Did she go to Liège?

  • B: No, that's not where she went. Brussels is where she went.

You can can also use "did+infinitive" in the answer if you need emphasis:

  • A: I thought you said that she went to Brussels.
  • B(1): Yes, she did go to Brussels.
  • B(2): Yes, I did say that she went to Brussels.

Then [my colleague, who was attempting to correct my English grammar] replied that I must say [it] like "I don't know where did she go".

The question that someone asked you was "where did she go", so if you do want to use that exact phrase in your reply, you'd have to make it clear that you're echoing or quoting that part. Here are some possible ways to do that. In a spoken conversation, you'd use intonation to make it clear which part is a direct quote:

  • A: Say, where did she go?
  • B(1): I don't know the answer to "where did she go?".
  • B(2): I don't know how to answer, "where did she go?".
  • B(3): Where did she go? That, I don't know.
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Clearly depends on how you want to frame your sentence and the situation.

In the first case "where she went" brings a tone that she left the place quite a while ago while in the second case "where did she go" brings a tone that she has just left the place.

You see it is all about the feeling in a language like English, your tone defines the situation.

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