Question Forms and Reported Speech


Normal word order is used in reported questions, that is, the subject comes before the verb, and it is not necessary to use ‘do’ or ‘did’:

Direct speech
Indirect speech
“Where does Peter live?”
She asked him where Peter lived.
“Where are you going?”
She asked where I was going.
“Why is she crying?”
He asked why she was crying.


This type of question is reported by usingĀ ‘ask’ + ‘if / whether’ + clause:

Direct speech
Indirect speech
“Do you speak English?”
He asked me if I spoke English.
“Are you British or American?”
He asked me whether I was British or American.
“Is it raining?”
She asked if it was raining.
“Have you got a computer?”
He wanted to know whether I had a computer.
“Can you type?”
She asked if I could type.
“Did you come by train?”
He enquired whether I had come by train.
“Have you been to Bristol before?”
She asked if I had been to Bristol before.


This type of question is reported by usingĀ ‘ask’ (or another verb like ‘ask’) + question word + clause. The clause contains the question, in normal word order and with the necessary tense change.

Direct speech
Indirect speech
“What is your name?” he asked me.
He asked me what my name was.
“How old is your mother?”, he asked.
He asked how old her mother was.
The policman said to the boy, “Where do you live?”
The policeman asked the boy where he lived.
“What time does the train arrive?” she asked.
She asked what time the train arrived.
“When can we have dinner?” she asked.
She asked when they could have dinner.
Peter said to John, “Why are you so late?”
Peter asked John why he was so late.

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