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I often wonder to whom does a nation owes its greatest debt of gratitude.

This sentence is from an error correction exercise. I see two possible grammatical ways to correct the sentence either by removing does or changing owes to owe. Since it's not an interrogative sentence I am more inclined to former one, Which one is the correct way ?

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    Probably, you should change it's to its too. Dec 18, 2017 at 7:30

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The obvious error here is "does owes" -- there should be only one nonfinite verb; that is, "to whom does a nation owe."

Unfortunately, there is another problem that may be just a pet peeve of my own. If I owe someone a dollar, then I give him a dollar, and he's happy. If I owe someone a debt, then I give him a debt, and he shouldn't be happy about it.

So I would rewrite the sentence: "I often wonder who the nation should have the most gratitude for." (Or, to be formally correct but not colloquial: "I often wonder for whom the nation should have the most gratitude."

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  • to whom a nation owes, there is no question: to whom does a nation owe x?
    – Lambie
    Feb 11, 2020 at 18:22

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