Indirect Questions

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What are indirect questions?

Indirect questions are polite questions. They are a little more difficult than direct questions, but they make us sound friendly and respectful.

Direct question

  • Where is Tom?

Indirect question

  • Do you have any idea where Tom is?

How do we use indirect questions?

Indirect questions have three parts. We start with an introductory phrase like

  • I was wondering…

  • Do you know…

  • Could you tell me…

  • I would like to know….

We continue with “if” or another question word

  • When

  • Where

  • What

  • How

  • If

We ask a question like a statement

  • the train arrives

  • Paul gets off work at 7

  • the next subway goes

  • I get to your house

Try putting them together!

  • I was wondering when the train arrives.

  • Do you know if Paul gets off work at 7?

  • Could you tell me where the next subway goes?

  • I would like to know how to get to your house.

***One more thing***

If we are talking to a stranger or have to interrupt someone, it is polite to say “Excuse me” before we begin the question.

  • Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to the post office?

  • Excuse me, I wonder if you would mind telling me when the movie starts?

Activity

I. Change these direct questions into indirect questions

  • Where is the supermarket?

  • How does your grandmother feel?

  • What time is it?

  • Will you close the door?
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