Reported speech: questions

Reported speech: questions

Do you know how to report a question that somebody asked? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

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

Grammar B1-B2: Reported speech 2: 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

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 donehad done, todaythat day). You can learn about these changes on the Reported speech 1 – statements page.

Yes/no questions

In yes/no questions, we use if or whether to report the question. If is more common.

'Are you going to the Helsinki conference?'
  • He asked me if I was going to the Helsinki conference.
'Have you finished the project yet?'
  • 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?'
  • He asked me what time the train left.
'Where did he go?'
  • She asked where he went.

Reporting verbs

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?'
  • She wanted to know if they'd brought their passports.
'When could you get this done by?'
  • 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?'
  • He offered to help me.
'Can you hold this for me, please?'
  • She asked me to hold it.
'Why don't we check with Joel?'
  • She suggested checking with Joel.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Grammar B1-B2: Reported speech 2: 2

Language level

Average: 4.4 (44 votes)
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Hi farhad zada,

The first part is right! But for the second part, we need to keep him from the direct question (because you refers to a different person). Also, we need to use the complete verb phrase after would (the same structure as in the first clause).

  • ... and asked what he would be having.

Does that make sense?


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Jessica Pereira on Wed, 04/11/2020 - 12:39

Hello, please In the sentence: 'I dont know if he's coming' Why is it also a reported question? Thanks

Hello Jessica,

I wouldn't call that a reported question. It is, however, formed in the same way as a reported question.

Imagine, for example, you friend asked you 'Is he coming?' You could report this as 'Paolo asked me if he's coming'. You can change 'Paolo asked me' to 'I don't know' and use the same structure afterwards.

Hope this helps.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team


Submitted by Be_sofya on Fri, 09/10/2020 - 21:15

Please, help. 'Am I dying or is it my birthday?' She asked whether she was dying or (whether) it was her birthday/She asked if she was dying or (if) it was her birthday. Do we need another whether/if? Thank you!

Hello Be_sofya,

Yes, you need to include 'whether' or 'if' before both clauses.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by emmanuelniyomugabo12 on Tue, 29/09/2020 - 17:55


Submitted by Bonto on Thu, 17/09/2020 - 09:07

Hello :) Which reported question is correct, or both? "I wonder what the price of a car like that can be. | I wonder what can be the price of a car like that."

Hello Bonto,

The first one is correct. Although many non-native speakers use the second one -- and anyone will understand it -- it is not correct in standard British English.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Karan Narang

Submitted by Karan Narang on Thu, 30/07/2020 - 04:53

If we could have used indirect to direct speech to remember the sequence of tense which is used whether we use by condition as come.