Grammatical pattern: VERB + somebody + WH-word/whether/if + CLAUSE

example: IASKEDherwhy she was leaving.
SheWILL TELLusif she needs anything else.
    VERB smby WH-word/whether/if + CLAUSE

This is a very limited but important pattern that is similar to the pattern [VERB  +  WH-word/whether/if +  CLAUSE].  It differs from that pattern in that it allows the insertion of an additional object (the “somebody”).  It is also a sub-pattern of the general pattern [VERB + OBJECT + OBJECT].

Some verbs that seem as if they might follow this pattern do not actually follow it but instead require the preposition “to”  before the “somebody.” For example, with the verb “explain,” we cannot say *“She explained them why she did that.”  We must say “She explained to them why she did that.” The verbs “prove,” “indicate,” and “suggest” are some of the other verbs that require the use of the preposition “to.”  (See the pattern [VERB + to somebody/something + OBJECT] for further information.)


Verbs that follow the pattern [VERB  +  WH-word/whether/if  +  CLAUSE]

ask, remind, show, teach, tell


Additional examples of the pattern [VERB  +  somebody + WH-word/whether/if   +  CLAUSE]

Our mother taught us how we should live.

I reminded him why he had made this decision.

He told his sister where he was going.

This experience showed me what I needed to do.

She asked him whether he was planning to come or not.




All grammatical patterns