Indirect Questions

Posted on Posted in Language Topics

Indirect questions are more polite than direct questions.

Normally they involve a phrase at the beginning of the question.

E.g. Indirect – Excuse me, would you mind telling me where the bank is?

Direct – Where is the bank?

Notice that the word order changes – ‘the bank’ and ‘is’ (main verb) swap places from direct to indirect questions.

*In indirect questions, use the same word order as if you are answering the question:

E.g. – Would you mind telling me where the bank is?
The bank is over there.

Do not use ‘do’ and ‘does’ in the main part of indirect questions.
E.g. Direct question: “Do you like James Bond?
Indirect question: “I was wondering if you like James Bond?
Answer: Yes, I like James Bond.

You can use ‘if’ or ‘whether’ if the sentence can simply be answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

E.g. Direct question: “When did it happen?”
Indirect question: Have you got any idea when it happened?
Answer: It happened last night.

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