Look at these examples to see how we can tell someone what another person asked.
direct speech: 'Do you work from home?' he said.
indirect speech: He asked me if I worked from home.
direct speech: 'Who did you see?' she asked.
indirect speech: She asked me who I'd seen.
direct speech: 'Could you write that down for me?' she asked.
indirect speech: She asked me to write it down.
Try this exercise to test your grammar.
- Grammar test 1
Read the explanation to learn more.
A reported question is when we tell someone what another person asked. To do this, we can use direct speech or indirect speech.
direct speech: 'Do you like working in sales?' he asked.
indirect speech: He asked me if I liked working in sales.
In indirect speech, we change the question structure (e.g. Do you like) to a statement structure (e.g. I like).
We also often make changes to the tenses and other words in the same way as for reported statements (e.g. have done → had done, today → that day). You can learn about these changes on the Reported speech 1 – statements page.
In yes/no questions, we use if or whether to report the question. If is more common.
'Are you going to the Helsinki conference?'
'Have you finished the project yet?'
- He asked me if I was going to the Helsinki conference.
- She asked us whether we'd finished the project yet.
Questions with a question word
In what, where, why, who, when or how questions, we use the question word to report the question.
'What time does the train leave?'
'Where did he go?'
- He asked me what time the train left.
- She asked where he went.
The most common reporting verb for questions is ask, but we can also use verbs like enquire, want to know or wonder.
'Did you bring your passports?'
'When could you get this done by?'
- She wanted to know if they'd brought their passports.
- He wondered when we could get it done by.
Offers, requests and suggestions
If the question is making an offer, request or suggestion, we can use a specific verb pattern instead, for example offer + infinitive, ask + infinitive or suggest + ing.
'Would you like me to help you?'
'Can you hold this for me, please?'
- He offered to help me.
'Why don't we check with Joel?'
- She asked me to hold it.
- She suggested checking with Joel.
Do this exercise to test your grammar again.
- Grammar test 2