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Reported Speech 2 – Reporting Questions

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Questions in reported speech are called reported questions or indirect questions but they do not have a question mark ‘?’
‘Did you enjoy the party?’               He asked us if we had enjoyed the party.
‘What do you do?                             He asked me what I did.

The most common verb for reported questions is ask but verbs like enquire can be used in formal situations.

When a question can be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (yes/no questions) we use ‘if’ or ‘whether’ in the reported clause:
Do you like sushi?                           He asked if I liked sushi.
Does she like the new flat?                       I asked whether she liked the new flat.
‘Whether’ is generally used if the answer has more possibilities and may not have a direct answer.

‘Wh questions’ can’t be answered by ‘yes’ or ‘no’. They are questions that are asked when more information is required.
‘What time does the party start?’
‘Where did you put the car keys?’
‘Who were you talking to?’
When we report ‘wh questions’ we use the ‘wh’ word in the original question at the beginning of the reported clause.
I asked what time the party started.
She asked me where I had put the car keys.
He asked who I was talking to.

We normally place the complement before be in a reported clause:
I asked what time he was leaving. NOT I asked what time was he leaving.
He asked where I was going. NOT He asked where was I going.

Today's lesson is by Tristan, English teacher at EC Malta

Reported Speech Part 1

Which of these sentences is correct?

  • 1 - 'Could you tell us how to get to the centre of town?'

  • 2 - 'What do you want for your birthday?'

  • 3 - 'I hope they enjoyed the film.'

  • 4 - 'What's the weather like in your city?'

  • 5 - 'What do you do?'

  • 6 - 'I wonder why Jack is always late.'