I was wondering if I could use any of these questions to ask for a definition to another person: "Do you know what a dog is?", "Do you know what is a dog?", "Do you know the meaning of the word dog?"

  • I'm sorry, but it is not fine to post such a basic and off-topic question on this site. Please visit the site which Jony Agarwal has suggested, there are native speakers and non, who will provide advice, and more detailed answers.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 27, 2015 at 8:13
  • Two common ways of asking someone to give the definition of a word are: 1. What is the definition of growl? 2. What does growl mean?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 27, 2015 at 8:25
  • Thank you for the comments. My level of speaking English is intermediate. I'm pretty new to this site, so I am sorry if I posted this questions in the area of this page. I just clicked the Ask a question link and tagged grammar. So, I thought I was in the right place to post this. I go what I needed here Mari-Lou, but I will go visit the page anyway. Oct 27, 2015 at 9:27

2 Answers 2


It sounds correct. Sort of:

A: Dude, I just ran into a dog.
B: Yeah, so what?
A: It had a smokestack and wheels.
B: Dude, do you know what a dog is?

  • I think the quotes and run-in format detract from the punchline. YMMV. If so, reject the edits.
    – deadrat
    Oct 27, 2015 at 8:09
  • I normally use the hard return, but the damn thing ignores it because of the quotes. Someone needs to teach this site about literature and all those dialogues. In all those books.
    – Ricky
    Oct 27, 2015 at 8:42
  • I just discovered that the same thing happened here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/282910/…
    – Ricky
    Oct 27, 2015 at 8:43
  • 1
    Nothing to do with the quotes. Your input becomes HTML markup, which in general ignores whitespace, including returns. If you want to start a new line, then you have to arrange for the HTML to tell the browser to post a new line. You can do that manually or with the formatting buttons.
    – deadrat
    Oct 27, 2015 at 9:12

Your first and third examples are correct. The second gets the point across, but it is clumsy.

I know you're just using "dog" as an example here, but it makes your sentence sound rhetorical.

  • Thank you for the comment. Yes. I was just using the word "dog" as an example. :) I will keep this in mind. Oct 27, 2015 at 7:59

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