In the paragraph below, do you not think the second bold phrase should be "what they are" i.e. the pronoun and verb order should be reversed?

Computers are also extremely popular with children and teenagers, and this of course raises questions of where they are traveling on the Internet and what are they seeing.

Edit: Crandall, Jo Ann., Maryanne Kearny. Datesman, and Edward N. Kearny. "How Americans Spend Their Leisure Time." American Ways: An Introduction to American Culture. 3rd ed. White Plains, NY: Pearson Education, 2005. 214. Print.

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    Yes, you are right. Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 20:42
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    The author is inconsistent and a copy editor would agree with you. If this sentence were spoken, it might have a large rhetorical pause "... raises questions of where they are traveling on the internet -- and what are they seeing?" and emphasis would be placed on the final interrogatory clause. Rhetorical justification for the inconsistency can be found.
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


Aye, you're right.

"What they are seeing" in this context is the same thing as "the thing that they are seeing", where it's just wrong to say "the thing that are they seeing".

The reason for the mix-up in the paragraph (as you may have worked out already) is that these phrases are said to be 'questions', where the word order would change. It would (somewhat) be understandable to word it the other way provided both bold phrases follow the same word order. The first bold statement however is worded more naturally, so the second should follow suit.

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