Can you tell me how do you/people feel about...?

Should auxiliary "do" be used in the sentence ? if shouldn't, then why? is there any general distictive rule to determine it easily. For example, it may be that there's a rule preventing the use of two auxiliary verbs(can and do) in one interrogative sentence, and that's why we cannot use "do" or there's another thing related to it? Please if possible, explain it by providing examples that looks like the same question patterns. Thanks in advance for all for your time and help.

  • "Can you tell me (the answer to this): how do you feel about...?" That can be done if you separate the clauses. If not, it's "Can you tell me how you feel about...?"
    – Nick
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


In normal questions, the verb do is needed when there's no other auxiliary to perform the subject-auxiliary inversion. For example:

  • Does he like me? (cf. he likes me.)

However, the subject-auxiliary inversion does not occur in subordinate interrogative clauses (embedded questions) and free relative clauses. In your sentence, the question how you feel about [...] is embedded in another sentence can you tell me how [...].

[Can you tell me [how you feel about...]] ?

So the subject-auxiliary inversion does not occur, hence, the absence of do.

  • That all said, the situation might be changed if we punctuate the sentence differently, i.e.: Can you tell me: How do you feel about X?
    – J.R.
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 9:45
  • @J.R. That's true. But I'm not sure whether we can call that a subordinate clause. Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 9:47
  • Let's omit the first auxiliary , can - please tell me how..you feel about x? do we now need to use do in this sententence? Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 11:39
  • 1
    @CavidHummatov No, the presence or absence of auxiliary verb in the matrix clause doesn't make any difference. You just have to remember: auxiliary do or any kind of subject-auxiliary inversion is not needed in a question that's embedded in another sentence. Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 11:49
  • 1
    @CavidHummatov subject-auxiliary inversion (or subject-operator inversion in some grammars) is the process of inverting the subject and the first auxiliary verb in a question. For example: 1. He is working (no inversion); 2._is he working?_ (with subject-auxiliary inversion). When there's no other auxiliary verb, a verb do is used: 1. You care about me (no inversion); 2._do you care about me?_ (with subject-auxiliary inversion). Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 12:01

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