· Indirect questions often sound more polite
than direct questions.
· Use them when you need to ask for information in formal situations.
· Here are some expressions you can
use to make indirect questions.
Would you mind (+verb+ing) -
Would you mind telling me what you do for a living?
Could you tell me… - Could you tell me what time the next
Do you know…. – Do you know what time the film starts?
I’d be interested to know…. – I’d be interested to know
how much it costs
I was wondering if you could tell me… - I was wondering if
you could tell me where the nearest supermarket is?
Compare the difference between direct
and indirect questions. Notice the changes.
||Could you tell me what
your name is?
|Are you working
at the moment?
||Would you mind telling
me if you are working at the moment?
|When do the
||I was wondering
what time the banks close.
|Are you married?
||Could you tell me
if you are married?
|Is there a park
||I’d be interested to
know if there is a park near here?
||Do you know where the
Where is the supermarket?
Indirect question: Could you tell me where the
· In indirect questions with the verb 'to be', the verb (is)
goes after the subject (the supermarket).
Direct question: What time does the bar open?
Indirect question: Do you know what time the bar opens?
· In indirect questions, we remove the auxiliary verbs do, does
and did. Remember the 's' on the verb if it's in the third
Direct question: Why did you come to Valencia?
Indirect question: I was wondering why you came to
· Notice that the order of the subject (you) and the verb (come/came)
changes. "Why did you come"? (question) changes to "Why you came"
(statement - I was wondering why you came).
Here's an example
with an auxiliary verb (have):
Direct question: How long have you lived in Spain?
Indirect question: I'm curious to know how long you have
lived in Spain.
· If the direct question is a 'yes'/'no' question (Are you
married? - Yes/No) use 'if' or 'whether' in the indirect
· Note: A 'yes'/'no' type question has no question word (what,
who, when, where, why, or how)
Direct question: Are you married?
Indirect question: Would you mind telling me if you are
Direct question: Does your girlfriend speak Spanish?
Indirect question: Could you tell me whether your
girlfriend speaks Spanish?
Direct question: Have you ever worked abroad?
Indirect question: I'd like to know if you've ever worked