Reporting Questions

June 11, 2011pdf

When we report questions the indirect speech is introduced by verbs such as ask and inquire. Note that in reported questions the subject normally comes before the verb, and auxiliary do is not used.

Question marks are not used in reported questions.

  • Direct speech: He said to me, ‘Where are you going?’
  • Indirect speech: He asked me where I was going. (NOT He asked me where was I going.)
  • Direct speech: ‘Where do you live?’ asked the stranger.
  • Indirect speech: The stranger asked where I lived. (NOT The stranger asked where did I live.)
  • Direct speech: The policeman said to us, ‘What are you doing?’
    Indirect speech: The policeman enquired what we were doing.
  • Direct speech: ‘When are you leaving?’ he asked.
  • Indirect speech: He wanted to know when I was leaving.

When the question is not introduced by an interrogative word, the reporting verb is followed by whether or if.

  • Direct speech: ‘Will you help me?’ the young girl asked.
  • Indirect speech: The young girl asked if / whether I would help her.
  • Direct speech: ‘Do you think you know better than your Dad?’ the angry mother asked.
  • Indirect speech: The angry mother asked her son if he thought that he knew better than his Dad.

Notes

Say and tell are not used to report questions.

  • Direct speech: The driver said to me, ‘Do you want to go to the town center?’
  • Indirect speech: The driver asked if / whether I wanted to go to the town center.
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