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Indirect question

( Free Online English Grammar Lessons )

Read time : 1 minute

Form : ( Indirect question phrase + question word / if / whether + subject + verb )

In English, in more formal situations, we often use indirect questions because they sound more polite.

To make a question more polite we often begin with an indirect question phrase such as:

  • Could you tell me...?
  • Do you know...?
  • Have you any idea...?
  • Can you tell me...?


Example questions :

DIRECT QUESTION : Where is the post office?

INDIRECT QUESTION : Do you know where the post office is?

DIRECT QUESTION : What's the time?

INDIRECT QUESTION : Could you tell me what the time is?

DIRECT QUESTION : Does this train go to Brighton?

INDIRECT QUESTION : Can you tell me if this train goes to Brighton?

DIRECT QUESTION : Is there a bank nearby?

INDIRECT QUESTION : Have you any idea whether there is a bank nearby?


Note for use of indirect questions :

If the direct question begins with an auxiliary verb ( no question word), add 'if' or 'whether' after an indirect question phrase to make the question indirect.

We don't use 'if' or whether with Do you think...?

eg. Do you think he's gone to London? NOT Do you think if he's gone to London?



Be going to
Be going to passive
Be used to / Get used to
Comparative
Defining relative clause
Echo tag
Expression
First conditional
Future
Future continuous
Future perfect continuous
Future perfect passive
Future perfect simple
Future simple passive
Greeting
Have/Get something done
Imperative
Implied conditional
Indirect question
Infinitive of purpose
Interjection
Mixed conditional
Modal
Modal passive
Non-defining relative clause
Other
Past continuous
Past continuous passive
Past perfect continuous
Past perfect passive
Past perfect simple
Past simple
Past simple passive
Polite request / offer / suggestion
Present continuous
Present continuous passive
Present perfect continuous
Present perfect passive
Present perfect simple
Present simple
Present simple passive
Question tag
Reduced relative clause
Reported speech imperative
Reported speech question
Reported speech request
Reported speech statement
Second conditional
Short answer
Superlative
Third conditional
Used to / would (past habit)
Was/were going to
Was/were supposed to
Wish
Would rather
Zero conditional