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“How to spell?” or “How do you spell it?”

“How to spell?” or “How do you spell it?”

Posted by Grant Richardson, 7th November, 2018

Students often use the wrong grammar when asking direct “how” questions:

WRONG RIGHT PRONUNCIATION
Use the weak (schwa) sound Ə for “do you” and “it”
How to pronounce? How do you pronounce it? HOW dƏ yƏ prƏNOUNCE Ət?
click to listen
How to say? How do you say it? HOW dƏ yƏ SAY Ət?
click to listen
How to open? How do you open it? HOW dƏ yƏ OpƏn Ət?
click to listen
How to spell? How do you spell it? HOW dƏ yƏ SPELL Ət?
click to listen

Students probably make this mistake by confusing the direct question form (above) with an indirect question form (below):

Do you know how to pronounce/say/open/spell/etc it?

Could you tell me how to pronounce/say/open/spell/etc it?

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