Indirect Questions

(from the Ventures 4 series) Direct questions are often considered rude when speaking to strangers. To be more polite we often use indirect questions. Indirect questions serve the same purpose as direct questions but are considered more formal. An indirect question gives the other person the choice to answer the question or to politely decline to answer the question. When using an indirect question, use an introductory clause followed by the question (as a dependent clause) in a positive sentence structure. The dependent clauses of indirect wh- questions begin with question words (who, what, where, when, why, how). The dependent clauses of indirect yes/no questions begin with if or whether. introductory clause + wh- word (or if / whether) + dependent clause Direct wh- questions Why is she so strict? How is everything at home? Where did you go? When did they leave? Direct yes/no questions Do they have a test today? Did he finish his homework? Indirect wh- questions I wonder why she is so strict. I'd like to know how everything is at home. Can you tell me where you went? Do you know when they left? Indirect yes/no questions Do you know if they have a test today? Do you know whether they have a test today? I wonder if he finished his homework. I'd like to know whether he finished his homework. Introductory clauses of indirect questions Tell me.... Can/Could you tell me...? Do you know...? I wonder.... I was wondering.... Do you have any idea...? Please explain.... Would you mind telling me…? Do you happen to know...? I'd be interested to hear…. I have no idea....

I'd like to know.... I don't know.... I want to know.... I need to know.... I can't remember .... I'm not sure....

Exercises: Choose the correct indirect question to be used as a more polite way to form the original question. 1. When was the building constructed? a. I wonder when the building was constructed. b. Could you tell me when was the building constructed? c. Do you know if the building was constructed? Is there a bank near here? a. Could you tell me where the bank is near here? b. I wonder where is the bank. c. Excuse me, do you know if there is a bank near here? How often does he arrive late for work? a. I was wondering how often he arrives late for work b. Do you happen to know how often he does arrive late for work? c. I don't know if he arrives late for work. What type of car have you got? a. I wonder what type of car have you got. b. Can you tell me what type of car you've got? c. Would you mind telling me if you've got a car? How much time do you spend watching TV? a. Could you tell me how much time are you watching TV? b. Do you know how much time you do spend watching TV? c. I wonder how much time you spend watching TV.

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Did you finish your homework? 2. Example: is a good student • • • Can you tell me if he's a good student? • • • lives alone or at home is polite drives carefully has a job has nice friends has a good relationship with his parents Activity: In a small group. Can you tell me where I should speak to about this problem? c. Why did she break the rules? 4. 1. What was her punishment? Exercises: Change the direct questions to indirect yes/no questions. ask and answer indirect wh. Use a variety of introductory clauses. b. Would you mind telling me what the time it is? How old is John? a. 8. What class did she miss? 3. Discuss the items listed below. 1. Do you know whom I should speak to about this problem? What will he need? a. I have no idea whom should I speak to about this problem. Example: dating experience • • • relationship with parents grades in school school activities I'd like to know what your dating experience was like. Whom should I speak to about this problem? a.questions about your lives when you were teenagers. When did she and her friend leave the school? 5. I've no idea what he will need. What time is it? a. 9. Imagine you are a parent. Read the information you want to ask your daughter about the young man she is dating. I have no idea how old is John. Do you know when was John born? c. b. Did Benjamin Franklin write Poor Richard's Almanac? 4.questions. Do you know what will he need? b.Indirect Questions (from the Ventures 4 series) 6. Pardon me. Have you seen my dog? Activity: Talk with a partner. Do they have a test tomorrow? 3. what time it is? b. Exercises: Change the direct questions to indirect wh. Pardon me. • • • things you were required to do at home things you were permitted to do things you weren't permitted to do 2 . Could you tell me what he needs? 7. Make indirect yes/no questions. could you tell me what time it is? c. c. What is the student's name? 2. What did they do at the mall? 6. Have you flown a plane before? 6. I wonder how old John is. Should people be allowed to smoke in public places? 5.

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