1

Which of these is a more natural-sounding sentence:

  1. Why Londoners didn't understand Frieda?

  2. Why didn't Londoners understand Frieda?

It seems that we oftener say "why didn't you do this?" and not "why you didn't do this?", but with the Frieda example, both sound passable to me.

2

Question 1 makes no sense unless we say, for example, "Do you know why Londoners didn't understand Frieda?". Question 2 is perfect as it stands, but put "do you know" in front and it makes no sense. We never say "Why you didn't do this?" as a complete sentence.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you! I see. "Why Londoners didn't understand Frieda" works as an interrogative content clause, but not as a standalone question. I was proofreading a text and it made me uneasy, but I wasn't sure. – CowperKettle Jan 16 '16 at 9:51

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