Indirect questions

Questions from teachers about English grammar and usage

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printemps
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Indirect questions

Unread post by printemps » Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:59 am

Hi everyone,

I'd appreciate it if you could explain it to me - why the following question is wrong (as for indirect questions): "Do you know how many people in the Izmit earthquake were killed?" The answer key says that the correct question is "Do you know how many people were killed in the Izmit earthquake?"

I must admit I'm a bit confused...

Thank you for your help :)
Sally

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cerealkillah
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Re: Indirect questions

Unread post by cerealkillah » Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:36 pm

I see it this way: "in the earthquake" is a complement to "were killed" rather than to "people". The incorrect. sentence does not necessarily imply that the people died during the eathquake. It could (I'm not saying that it should) be understood as "How many people (who had been) in the earthquake were killed (by something else, e.g. a bear :-) )"
Compare these 2 examples:

"Do you know how many girls with aprons were killed?"
"Do you know how many girls were killed with aprons"

Hope that helps.

printemps
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Re: Indirect questions

Unread post by printemps » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:00 am

Thank you very much for your help :)

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