Grammar

Reported Questions

  1. Word order in reported questions

When we report a question, we change the word order of the question – it becomes the same word order as a statement.

Note: We do not use auxiliary do, does or did in reported questions:

WrongHe asked what time did the flight leave Paris.   

Right: He asked what time the flight left Paris.

We make the same changes in tense, pronouns and time and place words as for reported statements:

The reporter asked, ‘Did you tell us the truth yesterday, Minister?’

  • The reporter asked the Minister if he had told them the truth the day before.

We don’t use question marks in reported questions:

WrongThey asked if I was satisfied with the room?

Right:     They asked if I was satisfied with the room.

  1. Reported yes / no questions 

 We introduce reported yes /no questions with ask / want to know + if or whether:

‘Has your union agreed the new pay deal?’

  • Reporter asked the leader if his union agreed the new pay deal.

‘Did the Minister answer your questions?’

  • She asked me whether the Minister had answered my questions.

‘Have you ever lived in this city? Why do you like it?’

  • They wanted to know if I have always lived in the city and why I liked it.

With if and whether, we can add or not at the end of the question:

She asked if / whether the Minister had answered my question or not.

  1. 3. Reported wh – questions

We introduce reported wh – question with ask / want to know + wh-word:

‘When will the article appear in the newspaper?’

  • They asked us when the article would appear in the newspaper.

‘Where is the cash desk?’

  • She wanted to know where the cash desk was.

We don’t use an object after want to know:

Wrong: They wanted to know me why I liked it.

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