Which sentences are correct?

  1. Can I get information about if the city bus carry bike?

  2. Can I get information if the city bus carry bike?

  3. Can I get information about where the bus station is?

  4. Can I get information where the bus station is?

  • 1. is wrong -- it requires "whether", not "if". 2. is also wrong, but 3. is fine. 4. is passable, though 3. is better. Btw, there are no 'noun clauses' in your examples.
    – BillJ
    Apr 29 '20 at 18:47

Sentence 3 I think is grammatically correct. Purists of meaning and/or etiquette might insist that it should be "May I" (permission) not "can I" (ability), or that "can I get" is rude, but others would argue those people are being old-fashioned and/or pedantic. The construction is commonplace and universally understood by contemporary standards, anyway, if we ignore prescriptivism and stick to descriptivism.

Sentences 1 and 2 are not correct for various reasons.

Firstly "the city bus" (singular) does not match your verb "carry". It should be "if the city buses carry" or "if the city bus carries". As there are usually multiple buses, I would prefer "if the city buses carry", but I suppose "if the city bus carries" may also be acceptable using "the city bus" as a kind of synecdoche.

Secondly, as there is likewise more than one bike in a city, we would normally pluralise bike. Thus, "if the city buses carry bikes".

As for if versus whether, I would prefer whether, although I cannot explain any hard rule why I think so. Overall I would therefore tweak your sentence to: "Can I get information about whether the city buses carry bikes?"

(In practice, I would probably ask more simply: "Do city buses carry bikes?" or "Are bikes allowed on city buses?")


3 is okay ("Can I get information about the location of the bus station" is better), but why not ask: "Can you tell me where the bus station is?" or "Can you tell me how to get to the bus station?"

4 has a different (perhaps unintended) meaning but is better worded as "If I go to the bus station, can I get information there (about something, maybe bus schedules or city maps)"

For 1 and 2, first of all, you need to match the conjugations
"the city bus carries bikes" or "the city bus can carry a bike" (if there is only 1 city bus)
"the city buses carry bikes" or "the city buses can carry bikes" (in general)

2 is not used. 1 is okay (with correct conjugation as noted), but I would use whether instead of if. Also, why not just ask "Can/Do the city buses carry bikes?" or "Who can tell me whether the city buses carry bikes?" or "Where can I find out if the ...?"

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.