a)Would you mind telling me which tv series it was? b)Would you mind telling me which tv series was it?

which usage is correct? This is a complex sentence with 'which' as a linker and the tone is interrogative (the main clause is also). so, it should be verb+subject?


Would you mind telling me which TV series it was?

"Which TV series it was" is a subordinate interrogative clause (embedded question) functioning as complement of "telling".

The meaning can be glossed as "Would you mind telling me the answer to the question 'Which TV series was it?'"

Note that no inversion is required.

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Correct answer

a) Would you mind telling me which TV series it was?


"...which TV series it was" is an indirect question.

On the inversion of indirect questions, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_clause

...different syntax is used in direct and indirect questions: direct questions normally use subject-verb inversion, while indirect questions do not.

Conversation note

In spoken conversation, even though not grammatically correct per above explanation, the pattern in (b) is commonly used, and can be thought of as one of the many grammatical exceptions native speakers use in colloquial speech.

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  • Actually it depends on the context. Both can be fine, depending on what you want to say. – Andrew May 16 '18 at 17:07
  • Thanks for the comment. Can you please provide an example? If I were to change (b) to make it correct, I would add a comma: "Would you mind telling me, which TV series was it?" Granted, this would only be correct in conversation. To modify that to be even more grammatically correct (at the expense of becoming too formal to be natural), it would be two main clauses: "Would you mind telling me? Which TV series was it?" – Otomatonium May 16 '18 at 17:58
  • Well, for example, "Would you mind telling me which TV series was it that always came on after "The Love Boat" back in the 70s?", but native speakers will sometimes use this form even if the question comes after a statement, as in: "I'm trying to recall the show that always came on right after "The Love Boat" back in the 70s. Would you mind telling me which TV series was it?". – Andrew May 16 '18 at 18:10
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    No, it's fine, as long as you include the necessary caveats. Remember answers here may be seen by many people, who might be looking for a difference nuance. – Andrew May 16 '18 at 18:53
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    As a subordinate interrogative, it should not have subject-auxiliary inversion. – BillJ May 16 '18 at 18:57

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