I know who my friend is.

I know who is my friend.

Could you tell me what is the difference between these?


Reading this made my head hurt. Let's try rewording the sentence so the 'friend' is the subject:

My friend is who I know.

You can see that the 'who' is what connects the sentence together. Let's try switching it round again:

I know who my friend is.

This is the natural way of saying it. It is certainly more natural than the second statement you wrote, even though it is not incorrect.

Let's try another example: the question you asked is 'Could you tell me what is the difference between these.' If we make the 'difference' the subject of the statement, by switching around the 'what' -->

The difference between these is what you could tell me.

You might see now that your question could be worded more naturally:

Could you tell me what the difference between these is?

As for the difference between the two... well, there isn't one. They are simply different ways to parse the same sentence. The first is more natural, however.

Edit: Some Elaboration on the Difference between the two...

In English, when someone writes a question, they tend to switch the position of the verbs:

Who are you?

(This is) who you are.

Let's take your statement:

Who is my friend?

(This is) who my friend is.

But, why is this?

Well, When you ask the question, the subject is 'who'. So you ask, 'who is...'. When you say the statement, you know the friend, so the friend is referred to directly, so you get 'my friend is' instead.

While you know the friend, the friend is the subject / object of the sentence. When you don't, who the friend is becomes more important.

  • Thank you so much. But, I am so confused yet. – nima Mar 23 '14 at 11:42
  • Thank you very much. Would you please elaborate your explanations in more details and freely? – nima Mar 23 '14 at 12:18
  • @nima_persian the answer is already detailed. Can you tell us what confuses you? – Adil Ali Mar 23 '14 at 13:08
  • Nothing. I could not understand anything. – nima Mar 23 '14 at 14:21
  • Even I do not know in the followings which one are correct:what is the difference between these and what the difference is between these – nima Mar 23 '14 at 14:25

I know who my friend is.

This means you can identify your friend, such as

My friend is Joe.

As for

I know who is my friend.

is for differentiating between friends and enemies (or at least not friends). A common phrase is

I know who is my friend and who is not.

It does not specify friends specifically, just that you know which persons are or are not your friends.

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