Which one of the following is the correct one grammatically?

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

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. – default.kramer Apr 21 '15 at 20:46
  • 1
    Thank you zerohedge for your excellent explanation. You made it easy to understand. Thank you. – Judicious Allure Apr 21 '15 at 20:49
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    @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 '15 at 20:49

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