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I've been reading an advanced level English book where I came across this sentence in an introduction to one of its articles:

Have you ever wondered who the people are you see every day on the way to work?

As far as I know, in similar questions like the one above, if there is an auxiliary verb, it should be placed at the end of the sentence (indirect questions); however, this structure is quite new to me. Is there a reason why?

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    It would be perfectly possible to put the are at the end, but that would make a long gap in the phrase 'who the people are'. The writer has made a stylistic choice, so as to make the sentence read better. May 3 at 15:06
  • @Kate Bunting: So, from a grammatical point of view, is the word order correct?
    – M.N
    May 3 at 15:10
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    I don't see why not. If I had thought it was wrong I would have said so. May 3 at 15:30
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Have you ever wondered who the people you see every day on the way to work are?

It's the pattern I commonly see and expect. However, as Kate Bunting pointed out, the long noun phrase the people you see every day on the way to work can make this indirect question more difficult to read. It's a stylistic choice.

To make the sentence structure (doubtfully) clearer, you can put either that or who after are.

Have you ever wondered who the people are [that/who*] you see every day on the way to work?

*It feels a bit repetitive with two whos closely positioned.

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  • Thanks very much for your answer! +1
    – M.N
    Oct 25 at 10:01

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