I'm trying to find some examples or documentation about this topic. From time to time, I struggle when I have a How, What, When, Where or Why in a normal sentence, since when you write a question would be like this:

  1. What are you doing?
  2. What is expected of you?
  3. How is this addressed?
  4. Who is the most experienced in your team?
  5. Who has considerable experience?

However, these are questions and generally, the format is: WH-word + auxiliary verb + ...?, but what if you have a regular sentence? I know that you should not follow the WH-word by an auxiliary verb (to do, to be, to have, etc.), would be OK to say?

  1. What you're doing.
  2. What of you is expected.
  3. How this is addressed.
  4. Who the most experienced in your team is.
  5. Who a considerable experience has.

Could you correct me if I'm wrong? Or how should I rephrase them when I'm not asking questions. Thanks.

  • 1
    None of your second group of examples is grammatical as a sentence. Some of them are grammatical as clauses, for example as the object of I know.
    – Colin Fine
    Sep 16, 2019 at 11:03
  • Hi @ColinFine, that's why I asked a clarification to Astralbee, I got a strange feedback in the past and that's why I decided to ask this question to clear my mind from any misunderstanding :) since none of them sound very logical to me. Sep 16, 2019 at 11:55
  • 1-5 are all ungrammatical. "What", "how" and "who" are all question words, so (leaving aside relative clauses) they only occur in main clause questions, or embedded questions.
    – BillJ
    Sep 16, 2019 at 15:03
  • Hi @BillJ thanks for your nice words :), Astralbee already clarified my doubts, I was sure they were wrong, but I got a confusing suggestion and I wanted to clarify it. Sep 16, 2019 at 16:34

2 Answers 2


Most interrogative words (including "the 5 'W's") can be used as a statement, for example:

  • "That is how I got my name"
  • "That is why I don't shop there anymore"
  • "This is where I went to school"
  • "I know a man who does that"

Some of your examples would be okay in context, although others are not quite grammatically correct. I've corrected them or put them into context below:

  • (I'm interested in) what you're doing.

  • (This is) what from you is expected what is expected from you.

  • (That is) how this is addressed.
  • (I would like to know) who the most experienced in your team is.
  • (This is John), who has a considerable experience has.
  • 1
    Can you confirm me if my examples are correct too? Since I have some doubts. Thanks. Sep 16, 2019 at 9:00
  • 1
    Thanks, I wanted to clarify that since I had some doubts because I didn't do them in the past, but some corrections confused me. Thanks again! Sep 16, 2019 at 9:17
  • Has considerable experience (no article) Sep 16, 2019 at 14:04

General rule:

A question is formed when you have inverse SV agreement.

He has a car (subject then verb)


Has he a car? (verb then subject; and, it makes it a question).

The same goes with W form:

What is he doing?

You want a subject and then verb which makes it again a statement/sentence.

If you want SV order, you must add something...


What you are doing does not matter to me.
How this is addressed is important to us.

Nevertheless, I may say that such formation is seen more in speaking.

  • Can you add in an example of how the rule applied to your first example (with "has) applies to your second example using "what"?
    – Astralbee
    Sep 16, 2019 at 9:13
  • Here it is: dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/…
    – Maulik V
    Sep 16, 2019 at 9:16
  • I'm trying to think like an English language learner, and if I'd read that "has he a car?" can be flipped around to make the statement "he has a car"; and then I read "the same goes for the W form", I might assume "what is he doing?" can be become "Is what he doing". The link is helpful but I still think the answer could be confusing.
    – Astralbee
    Sep 16, 2019 at 9:19
  • I said that only. I said that W is also formed in the same way - W+verb (auxiliary or modal) + subject. You don't have W+s+v as Cambridge dictionary says. @Astralbee
    – Maulik V
    Sep 16, 2019 at 9:27

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