This is from an English teaching web site School conversation (see:01:15)

Who can tell me what day is it today?

As we know, a question sentence changes structure when it functions as a subordinate clause. E.g "Tell me where you are going?" (not where are you going?")

So, I would expect the same change of structure in the quetion Who can tell me what day is it today? However, it does not change and the subordinate part seems to have remained as is.

So I want to ask; should it not be put this way: "Who can tell me what day IT IS today?

  • Yes, it certainly should. Feb 24, 2023 at 20:22
  • @KateBunting, Thanks Kate. In that case, I really wonder how can English teaching content be so bluntly wrong even with such simple things? Should we stop relying on them as teaching materials for students?
    – Yunus
    Feb 24, 2023 at 20:27
  • I've had a quick look at their website ('Kids' Pages'). The English is generally good but not perfect; it seems to have been written by a non-native speaker. Feb 24, 2023 at 20:36
  • @Thanks again. I really appreciate your efforts and sincerity.
    – Yunus
    Feb 24, 2023 at 20:37

1 Answer 1


It should.

This is a common "mistake" in spoken English, caused (I suppose) by the speaker changing their mind half way through the sentence.

The standard embedded question, using a subordinate interrogative content clause would not include the inversion: "Tell me what time it is". The main clause question would feature inversion "What time is it?". The speaker has got their wires crossed and made a mistake.

Most native speaker would correct it in written text, if they notice it.

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