Tell me please which sentence is correct.

Could you tell me what that movie is about?

Could you tell me what that movie about is?

In theory, the second has to be correct because the part what that movie about is is not a question. It sounds weird though. So I think the first one is correct. Explain the grammar to me please why the second sentence isn't correct.

1 Answer 1


Both "What that movie about is?" and "Tell me what that movie about is" are ungrammatical.

"About" is the complement of "is", and must follow it. You appear to be thinking of inversion: in questions, the subject (not the complement) usually follows the verb (or the auxiliary if there is one). In embedded questions, this does not happen.


That movie is about a battle. (statement: no inversion).

What is that movie about? (question: the subject "that movie" follows the verb "is").

Tell me what that movie is about. (embedded question: no inversion).

In every case the complement "about" follows the verb "is".

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