Welcome to your Indirect and Reported Questions lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• Indirect questions
Reported questions
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Indirect questions

Here is an example of a direct question:

“Where has James gone?”

Now here is the same question in an indirect form:

“Do you know where James has gone?”
(not “Do you know where has James gone?“)

Basically, when the question is part of a larger sentence (one that begins with “Do you know…” “Could you tell me…” etc), we treat the question part as an affirmative sentence :

Direct question
“Where is the beach?”

Indirect question
“Do you know where the beach is?”

 

Direct question
“How can I make an English breakfast?”

Indirect question
“Could you tell me how I can make an English breakfast?”

 

Direct question
“Where will you be tonight?”

Indirect question
“I don’t know where you will be tonight.”

Be careful with Present Simple and Past Simple questions:

Direct question
“Where does she play tennis?”
(Auxiliary, the verb is infinitive)

Indirect question
“Could you tell me where she plays tennis?”
(No auxiliary, the verb is in the past)

 

Direct question
“What did you drink last night?”
(Auxiliary, the verb is infinitive)

Indirect question
“Please explain what you drank last night.”
(No auxiliary, the verb is in the past)

When you have a closed question (one where you can only respond ‘yes’ or ‘no’) we use “if”:

Direct question
Did she go to the cinema last night?”

Indirect question
“I wonder if she went to the cinema last night.”

 

Direct question
Can they play the guitar?”

Indirect question
“Do you know if they can play the guitar?”

Reported questions

A similar change happens when we use reported questions:

Direct question
The security guard asked “What do you have in your bags?”

Reported question
“The security guard asked what we had in our bags.”

 

Direct question
Jen asked “How do you make curry?”

Reported question
“Jen asked how we make curry.”

 

Direct question
I asked “Where will you be tonight?”

Reported question
“I asked where they will be tonight.”

If you are not sure when the tense changes, please study our reported speech lesson.

Here are some more examples:

Direct question
“Do you like cheese?”

Reported question
“She asked if I like cheese.”

 

Direct question
“Have you ever been to Japan?”

Reported question
“She asked whether I had ever been to Japan.”

 

Direct question
“Why do you look so sad?”

Reported question
“She wanted to know why I looked so sad.”

 

Direct question
“What would you like to eat?”

Reported question
“She asked me what I would like to eat.”

 

Direct question
“How long have you lived in London?”

Reported question
“She wanted to know how long I had lived in London.”

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