I have confusion about the following sentences.

  1. I have never seen these flowers before (what have they been called).

  2. I have never seen these flowers before (what are they called).

  3. I have never seen these flowers before (what are they being called).

  • 2
    Why are you marking the second sentence with brackets? They are really two completely separate sentences, and you should separate them with a full stop. And because they are separate sentences they can have independent tenses. Sep 30, 2014 at 4:27

2 Answers 2


The first sentence and the third one seem wrong. I think it is right to say "I have never seen these flowers before. What are they called".

  • 1
    Also note that this answer correctly makes flowers plural to agree with these, but it is also valid to refer to a single instance of the flower or the type of flower as: "I have never seen this flower before. What is it called?"
    – Jim
    Sep 30, 2014 at 4:51

I think Second one is correct.

  1. I have never seen these flower before (what are they called).

Update :

Consider the first answer the original answer posted by me was wrong so I have updated to correct answer

  • Thanks rebel, now the only thing wrong with this answer is the agreement between these and flower. However, once that is fixed, then what will be the difference between your updated answer and Khan's original answer?
    – Jim
    Sep 30, 2014 at 14:32

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