How do we report questions with reported Speech?
These prompts may help you:
Verb tense and other changes
Order of subject and verb
As seen in part (I) of this course, when we report what people say, we usually change the tense of the verbs to reflect that we are reporting instead of quoting directly what they said.
The rules that apply to reporting statements also apply to reporting questions. The reporting verb we use in this case is 'ask', which is also usually in the past.
However, there are other things to look out for too. In English, there are two types of questions we can report: yes/no questions and WH- questions.
Reported questions don’t have a question mark at the end.
Reporting Yes/No questions
We use ‘if’ or ‘whether’ to report questions that can be answered with a yes or a no. For example:
Direct question: “Are you working at the moment?”
Reported question: He asked if he was working at that moment..
Direct question: “Did you like the movie?”
Reported question: She asked me whether I had liked the movie.
When we report yes/no questions the tense of the verb changes as it does when we report statements and so do the adverbs and determiners but we don’t use auxiliary verbs and the we don't invert the subject and the verb.
Direct question: “Did you go somewhere nice this weekend?”
Reported question: They asked me whether/if I had gone somewhere nice that weekend.
Direct question: Are you Irish?
Reported question: He asked me if I was Irish.
Reporting WH- questions
WH- questions are those questions formed with question words: Who, What, When, Where, How.
When we report a question with a question word, the verb, adverbs and determiners change (as usual), but there is no auxiliary verb and the word order of Subject and Verb doesn’t change.
Direct question: “What time do you get home from work?
Reported question: He asked what time I got home from work and NOT He asked me what time did I get home from work.
Here are some other examples:
Direct question: “Why aren’t you coming to the party?”
Reported question: She asked me why I wasn’t coming to the party.
Direct question: “Where do you live?”
Reported question: He asked me where I lived.
Direct question: “Who didn’t do their homework?”
Reported question: She asked them who hadn’t done their homework.
Reporting indirect questions
We also use If/Whether to report indirect questions. The verbs, adverbs and determiners also change and we do not use auxiliaries. The word order of subject and verb doesn’t change either.
Indirect question: Can you tell me what time it is?
Reported question: She asked (me) whether I could tell her what time it was NOT She asked me whether I could tell her what time was it.
Indirect question: Do you know where Connolly Station is?
Reported question: He asked (me) if I knew where Connolly Station was.