Reporting yes/no questions

December 1, 2013pdf

Yes/no questions expect yes or no as the answer. We use if or whether to report yes/no questions.

Direct: ‘Will you do this?’

Indirect: She asked me if I would do that.

Direct: ‘Are you going to the market?’

Indirect: She asked me if I was going to the market.

Direct: Will you help me?

Indirect: She asked me whether I would help her.

Direct: Have you bought a new cellphone?

Indirect: She wondered if I had bought a new cellphone.

Reporting wh-questions

Note that there is no inversion of subject and verb when we report questions.

Direct: ‘What is the problem?’

Indirect: She asked what the problem was.

Direct: Who’s the best singer here?

Indirect: She asked me who the best singer was.

Direct: ‘When are you going on holiday?’

Indirect: She wanted to know when I was going on holiday.

Direct: ‘How do you feel today?’

Indirect: The doctor asked her how she felt. (NOT The doctor asked her how did she feel.)

However, do can be used in indirect negative questions.

Direct: ‘Why don’t you find a job?’

Indirect: She asked him why he didn’t find a job.

Compare:

Direct: Do you like ice-cream?

Indirect: She asked me if I liked ice-cream.

Direct: Don’t you like ice-cream?

Indirect: She was surprised that I didn’t like ice-cream.

Direct: Who is that pretty girl in the red frock?

Indirect: I wondered who that pretty girl in the red frock was.

Direct: How did you make this soup?

Indirect: I wondered how she had made that soup.

Direct: Which color would you like?

Indirect: She asked me which color I wanted.

Direct: Which cellphone did you buy?

Indirect: My father asked me which cellphone I had bought.

 

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