Are these sentences grammatically correct?
(1) Do you know what day it is today?
(2) Can you tell me what day it is today?
(3) Can you tell me what day today is?
If they are correct, which one would be more commonly used? Why?
All three sentences are grammatically correct, but native speakers
would be less likely to use Example (3) because the usual question
asked to seek this information is "What day is it (today)?" not "What
day is today?"
There's no grammatical difference in the first two examples: "Do
you know" and "Can you tell me" are two equally viable
speaker choices to introduce the noun clause "what day it is today."
In large part, the choices a speaker (usually unconsciously) makes
derive from usual usage—which can be frustrating for students
who want to view grammar as formulas that can apply to any situation.
I'm sure all of us as teachers have faced questions from students
who present us with grammatically acceptable sentences that are not
idiomatic, i.e., what a native speaker would normally say in that situation.
I've always tried to explain that "typical and traditional usage" is
a large part of a speaker's choice of vocabulary and grammar, and that
for second language students, consistently idiomatic usage comes with
time and experience.
I'd be interested in knowing how other teachers handle this with their