Direct and indirect 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.

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