Which one of the following is the correct one grammatically?

  1. "Why is this book still important"
  2. "Why this book is still important"

1 Answer 1


Both are grammatically correct, but one is a question, while the other isn't.

Case #1

A question is asked:

Can you explain to me why is this book still important?

Case #2

No question is being asked. In this case, one could expect a colon (:) with an explanation on why this book is still important. Something like this:

Jonathan explained why this book is still important: "it's just essential to learning programming"

Or in a newspaper headline:

Ferguson explains why Manchester United is still the best football team in the world

All in One Example:

So Joanna came to me and asked "Why is this book still important?" Well folks, I'm going to tell you exactly why this book is still important: Because I wrote it.

  • I don't think it's accurate to say that "one would expect a colon." It's much more common not to use a colon, as in your newspaper headline example. Apr 21, 2015 at 20:46
  • 1
    Thank you zerohedge for your excellent explanation. You made it easy to understand. Thank you. Apr 21, 2015 at 20:49
  • 2
    @kramer: I changed "would" to "could" because while I think a colon is expected in many cases (especially with sentences in body text), I don't want to imply that it's a rule set in stone. You're welcome, Dory!
    – zerohedge
    Apr 21, 2015 at 20:49

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