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Reported speech 2 – questions

Do you know how to report a question that somebody asked?

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

Nivel de idioma

Intermediate: B1

Comments

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,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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.

'What time does the train leave?'
He asked me what time the train left.
'Where did he go?'
She asked where he went.

In second example, why did the tense not to change in the report?
She asked where he'd gone

Hello Alanso,

You can change the verb to the past perfect but it's generally not necessary when the verb is past tense in active speech. Thus, both went and had gone are correct here.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi sir,
What would be the indirect speech of below sentence?

He said to me "I might call you". (with showing least possibility)

Answer:
Indirect speech - He told to me that he might call me .

Thanks.
But if there is "may" in above direct speech then it changes to might in indirect speech ??
He said to me "I may call you"- direct speech
He told me that he might call me - indirect speech

Hello Rsb

Yes, that is correct. 'might' is also a past form of the verb 'may' and is the correct form in the sentence in indirect speech.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Kirk sir.

"The gate has closed."- present perfect tense

Sir above sentence is correct or incorrect.

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