In my thesis (in maths) I would like to write something along the lines of: "Given X it is natural to ask how close is it to being Y", where X is some object and Y is a property. I'm not sure about the bold part; should it be "it is" instead?

My intuition is that the original version is correct since if we were to actually ask the question it would be "how close is X to being Y?". However I can imagine there being a grammatical rule stating that whenever a question is referred to as a sentence it reverts to original subject and verb structure, but I couldn't find this on Google.

I came across this question that seems very similar to what I'm asking but I could not deduce from it an answer it my question.

1 Answer 1


If you want to study the grammatical reasoning, then the reference in the answer you to which you refer the keyword is "inversion".

If you just want to know which is correct: "it is" wins. In short, your intuition is correct.

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