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11

Indirect Questions

First Day on the Job

Focus on Grammar 4 Part X, Unit 28 By Ruth Luman, Gabriele Steiner, and BJ Wells
Copyright 2005. Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Too Many Questions


I think he did okay, Well but he sure asked a lot of questions. How did the new Oh? What kinds of employee do he ask questions did on his first day? you?

Indirect Questions
He asked me if he me why a He asked measked could the the He also who fixed get computers. previous person had left. bigger office.

Why did Who the the fixes Can I get a computers? previous bigger office? person leave?

Indirect Yes / No Questions 1


Use if or whether in indirect yes/no questions.
The The new guy asked if we had new guy asked whether the boss liked practical jokes. any more chocolate donuts.

Do you the boss like Does have any more chocolate jokes? practical donuts?

Indirect Yes / No Questions 2


Whether is more formal than if. We often use whether or not to report yes/no questions.
The new guy asked whether or not he could take a break.

Can I take a break?

Practice 1
Example:

Change the direct questions into indirect questions. Use if, whether, or whether or not.

Will I get a raise? He asked He asked if he would get a raise. He asked whether he would get a raise. 1. Does the company provide a car? They asked He asked whether or not he would get a raise. They asked if the company provided a car. 2. Can I have a company credit card? She asked She asked whether she could get a company credit card. 3. Did he order a new computer? I asked
I asked whether or not he had ordered a new computer.

Wh- Questions 1
Use question words in indirect wh- questions.
The new guy asked when the He also asked how many copies next office party was. he could make.
When is the next office How many copies can party? I make?

Word Order 1
Use statement word order (subject + verb), not question word order, for indirect yes/no questions.
He asked me if I could turn off the fax machine.

Can you turn off the fax machine?

Word Order 2
Use statement word order (subject + verb), not question word order, for indirect wh- questions about the predicate (usually the last part of the sentence). He asked why the meetings lasted so long.

Why do the meetings last so long?

Word Order 3
Use statement word order (subject + verb), not question word order, for indirect wh- questions about the subject (usually the first part of the sentence).
Subject

He asked who made the coffee.

Who made the coffee?

Be Careful!
If a direct question about the subject has the form question word + be + noun, then the indirect question has the form question word + noun + be. He asked what was the dress code. the dress code was.

What is the dress code?

Auxiliaries
In indirect questions, do not use the auxiliary do, does, or did. He asked me do if have any I I had anynew video games. new video games.

Do you have any new video games?

Punctuation
In indirect questions, do not end with a question mark (end with a period). He asked me if I could wake him up in an hour ? .

Could you wake me up in an hour?

Practice 2
Example:

Change the direct questions into indirect questions.

Where is my office? She asked She asked where her office was. 1. Whats the name of the company? They asked They asked what the name of the company was. 2. How many people work for the company? We asked We asked how many people worked for the company. 3. How long has the boss worked in the office? I asked
I asked how long the boss had worked in the office.

References
Copyright 2006 Pearson Education and its licensors. All rights reserved.