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Embedded questions in English are indirect or reported questions that are embedded within a sentence or clause. Rather than being directly asked, they are reported or included as part of another sentence. Embedded questions are commonly used in various contexts, such as reporting someone else's question or expressing uncertainty or curiosity.
Embedded questions have a similar structure to direct questions, but they are typically introduced by question words (who, what, where, when, why, how) or if/whether. The word order in the embedded question is often changed from that of a direct question.
Here are some examples to illustrate the concept:
Direct question: "Where is the nearest library?"
Embedded question: She asked me where the nearest library was.
Direct question: "What time does the movie start?"
Embedded question: I'm not sure what time the movie starts.
Direct question: "Do you know if they're coming to the party?"
Embedded question: She asked if I knew whether they were coming to the party.
In embedded questions, the word order often changes to a statement-like structure, with the subject followed by the verb, and any auxiliary verbs (like "do" or "can") inverted with the subject. Also, note that the use of a question mark is not necessary in embedded questions since they are reported rather than directly asked.
Embedded questions allow us to incorporate questions into our speech or writing in a more indirect, polite, or formal way. They are often used in conversation, storytelling, or writing where it is more appropriate to report a question rather than ask it directly.