Learn English – Word order in an embedded question (“She can’t decide which IS the best place for it”)


I found a sentence, "She can't decide which IS the best place for it," and I need to make sure if it's grammatically correct or not. If it's correct, then it's contradictory to the Embedded Statement rule, for example, "Tell me what his name IS," the verb placed last in this sentence, but it's placed right after the WH-Question (Which) in the first one.
Thanking you in advance

Best Answer

Normally an embedded WH-question uses statement, not question, grammar, like your second example:

Tell me what his name is.


I don't know when it starts. (not "when does it start")

and indeed your first example would be grammatical that way:

She can't decide which the best place for it is.

But the form you have given is more comfortable. I think this is because of "heavy element extraposition": since the complement is four words long, and the verb just the little word is, they are swapped back, to leave the verb next to its subject.

Edit: I had my description wrong, referring to "subject-verb inversion", which is not what is at issue here. Thank to Sumelic for pointing this out (after two and a half years!)

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