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Are there grammar rules that indicate one of these two sentences has an incorrect word order? Is it possibly irrelevant in this case?

  1. We'd like to know what is its purpose, and when it should be used.

  2. We'd like to know what is its purpose, and when should it be used.

2 Answers 2

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This is a case of question within statement.

what should I say? I don't know! ==> I don't know what I should say.

this is the case even if you have a coordinating conjunction (such as and in your case)

what should I say? How will he react? I don't know! ==> I don't know what I should say and How he will react.

Therefore, I'd say:

We'd like to know what its purpose is, and when it should be used.

is grammatical.

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The order of an English sentence is (subject , verb , object) and it's inverted when we want to ask a question and also in other very specific cases.

The sentence returns to normal order when it's not used as a question anymore .

for example :

What is you name ? (inverted)
I don't know what your name is. (normal)

What is its purpose ? (inverted)
We'd like to know what its purpose is. (normal)

When should it be used ? (inverted)
We'd like to know when it should be used. (normal).

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    So in fact both sentences are wrong; they should read "We'd like to know what its purpose is..." Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 13:12

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