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English Grammar

Direct and idirect speech: Reporting questions

In reported questions the subject normally comes before the verb. It is not necessary to use do or did. Question marks are not used in reported questions.

  • He said, "When are you leaving?"
  • He asked me when I was leaving. (NOT When was I leaving?)
  • I said, "Where are you staying?"
  • I asked her where she was staying.
  • "Where does John live?" she asked me.
  • She asked me where John lived.
  • John asked, "Where did you go last weekend?"
  • John asked where I had gone the previous weekend.
  • He asked, "Why are you staring at me?"
  • He asked me why I was staring at him.

Yes/No questions are reported with if/whether.

  • "Do you speak English," she asked him.
  • She asked him if he spoke English.
  • "Are you British or French?" they asked me.
  • They asked me whether I was British or French.
  • "Did you come by train?" she enquired.
  • She enquired if I had come by train.

We do not normally use say or tell in reported questions.

Wh-questions are reported by using ask (or another verb like ask) + question word + clause. We use normal word order.

  • "What is your name?" he asked me.
  • He asked what my name was.
  • "How old is your mother?" he asked her.
  • He asked her how old her mother was.

When we report questions constructed with who/what/which + be + complement, be can be put before or after the complement.

  • She asked, "Who is the best player here?"
  • She asked me who the best player was.
  • She asked me who was the best player.
  • He asked, What is the matter?
  • He asked what the matter was.
  • He asked what was the matter.

Sections In This Article
Direct and indirect speech
Rules for the change of pronouns
Reporting verb
Rules for the change of tenses
Rules for the change of adverbs
Reporting hopes, intentions and promises
Reporting orders, requests and advice
Reporting questions
Reporting questions: grammar exercise
Reported speech exercise
Reporting Yes/No questions

 

 

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