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Folks,

I am sorry that this is probably an old question but I am totally stuck. I am trying to resubmit my pre-interview Celta application and one question has me ( and everyone else I know, including experienced ELT teachers ), stumped. I am not looking for the answer, just a clue as to what I am looking for and where I can research it. I have googled and checked my grammar books but I have no clue. I need to correct and explain the error of the following question. What did you say was your name ?

I know it is incorrect and what the correct sentence is but have no clue as to why it is technically wrong and how to explain it.

I could really use some help.

Many thanks in advance.

Dave

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Dave MitchellWhat did you say was your name ?
I know it is incorrect

I disagree that it is incorrect (apart from the separate minor issue that there should be no space before a question mark).

However, the other form is no doubt more common and has a more idiomatic feel. If you have Googled this, you have no doubt read various other discussions about it at this and other forums. One neat suggestion that I found is that if you previously said "My name is X" then the question should be "What did you say your name was?", whereas if you previously said the less common "X is my name" then the question should be "What did you say was your name?"

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Dave MitchellWhat did you say was your name ?

The space before the question mark is an error. The word order in the last clause is wrong.

Asking about a former name:

Judge: What was your name before you were married?
Supplicant: Jennifer Johanson.
Judge: I didn't get that. What did you say your name was?
Supplicant (speaking louder): I said that my name was Jennifer Johanson.

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Comments  

Dave, did you find a good answer somewhere? I am struggling with the same question on the form myself.


Tamar

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tgeslDave, did you find a good answer somewhere? I am struggling with the same question on the form myself.

Unless there is further relevant context or instruction that hasn't been mentioned, there is no good answer. This is because the premise of the question -- that "What did you say was your name?" is incorrect -- is itself incorrect. All we can say is that it is a less usual word order in most (maybe not all) contexts.