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I know we say "do you know who he is / I don't know who he is" but I saw this sentence in an article translated by a Chinese famous translator who was born in 1921 so it is unlikely to send him an email to ask him such a question.

At the beginning of the translation is :

Do you know who is the most well-known person in China?

so

Do you know who is the most ... is in C

or

Do you know who the most... is in C

Which one is correct? Both?

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Both cannot be correct. Only the second sentence is correct.

"who is the most well-known person in China" is an interrogative Content/noun clause. When used as a dependent/subordinate clause under a main clause, it functions as a noun and takes those positions that a noun/pronoun can. However, as a dependent clause, it doesn't ask a direct question, but rather an indirect one.

Know is a transitive verb and hence takes an object(a noun/pronoun).

So, you say:

'Do you know who the most well-known person in China is?'

You see how the subject and the verb in that depended clause swapped their positions.

You could also say:

'Do you know who the most well-known person is in China? ', with the PP 'in China' at the end.

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  • thank you for answering my question. i am sorry i made a typo there.. i was gonna ask "do you know who the .. is " or "do you know who is the ...". and i do know what you said above. what made me confused is the whole sentence "do you know who is the most ... in C", which was written by a famous translator, and i was puzzling if it's grammatically wrong. i love english but this sentence is beyong my understanding. i asked one of my friends who majored in English and she said,"do you know who he is" is correct, "do you know who IS the most... " is also correct.
    – sullivan
    Commented Feb 29, 2020 at 6:33
  • and according to what you said, there is only one correct way to say this, that is "do you know who S + V", am i right? thank you !
    – sullivan
    Commented Feb 29, 2020 at 6:35
  • 'do you know + V + S' could be possible if the subject of the dependent clause is very long. That is, it's modified by long phrases or clauses. In that event, the construction 'do you know + S + V' sounds a little awkward. You can refer to these links for more information: english.stackexchange.com/questions/348010/…
    – Mr. X
    Commented Feb 29, 2020 at 9:58
  • thank you for providing me these questions but i still have a little bit problem here, and i think you have some point here that you said it's based on if the S's modified by long phrases or clauses. and let's go back to the question i asked, "do you know who is the most well-known person in C" or " do you know who the most well-known person is in C", which one is 100% correct, that's all i want to know. thank you !
    – sullivan
    Commented Mar 1, 2020 at 8:18

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