embedded questions in cool songs u know

embedded questions, also called indirect questions, can be tricky for efl students. when a question is preceded by a short phrase, an embedded question is created. embedded questions are not always questions; frequently they are statements.  in embedded questions, the subject should come before the verb. direct questions, on the other hand, have the verb before the subject.

tv embedded questions
another application of embedded: a flat screen embedded in the wall (boardandvellum.com)

some examples…

  • the haddaway song that is the soundtrack for the famous saturday night live sketch, the roxbury boys, is a direct question:

what is love?

in contrast to the haddaway song, the title of this beloved foreigner ballad is an embedded question

i wanna know what love is

NOT i wanna know what is love.


  • a couple years ago,  michelle rodriguez, star of the fast and furious franchise, avatar and the machete movies answered some questions from fans online. one of the questions selected was this direct question

what‘s it like being an actress who plays a lot of roles in a male dominated field?

SPOILER ALERT though this is an opportunity for rodriguez to bitch (complain) about inequality in hollywood, she doesn’t.

simple plan‘s lyrics for welcome to my life are way bitchier and an embedded question that is similar to the one m-rod answered appears multiple times in the song

u don’t know what it‘s like (to be like me)

u don’t know what’s it like to be me would be a mistake.

fun english practice  richyrocks english on youtube

wedding ringer dougie embedded questions
josh gad and kevin hart doin the dougie in the movie the wedding ringer
  • embedded questions can also be formed by a question word (who, what, where, when, why, which, how) + the infinitive of a verb.

the title of cali swag district‘s teach me how to dougie is an embedded question containing the question word how and the infinitive verb form, to dougie. the direct question would be how do u dougie? it doesn’t appear in the song.  teach me how do u dougie would be a weird-sounding (and grammatically problematic) title.

the first rapped line of teach me how to dougie is an embedded question that’s a question. it says that people ask cali swag district member smoove to teach them the dougie.

they be like, “smoove, can u teach me how to dougie?”


dougie is the dance everyone is doing in the video. it can be used as a noun or a verb.

which example is the most memorable for u?  why?  share your comments under leave a reply




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *