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Indirect Questions (#2), by Dennis Oliver

 

 Indirect Questions (#2)

 

"Normal" yes / no and information ("Wh'") questions follow
the word-order rules presented in recent Hints. There are
other English question forms that follow different rules,
however. They're called indirect questions.

There are two types of indirect questions. One occurs in
reported (indirect) speech--when one person tells what
another person has said. Another occurs when questions
are embedded inside statements or other questions. (These
are similar to questions in reported speech, but they're not
the same.)

 

Examples:

I don't know where Bob is.

Could you tell me where Bob is?

I'm not sure where Bob lives.

Do you have any idea where Bob lives?

I can't remember where Bob's house is.

Can you remember where Bob's house is?

I wonder where Bob has gone.

Has anyone told you where Bob has gone?

Nobody knew where Bob was (is).

Didn't anybody knew where Bob was (is)?

I couldn't find out how long Bob had been away.

Did anyone recall how long Bob had been away?

 

____________________________________________

 

Special Notes:

 

1.  

Notice that the word order for embedded
questions is the same as in indirect questions.

this:

not this:

 

I don't know where Bob is.

*I don't know where is Bob.

     

this:

not this:

 

I have no idea where Bob lives.

*I have no idea where does
Bob live.

     

this:


not this:

 

I wasn't able to find out how
long Bob had (has) been away.

*I wasn't able to find out how
long had (has) Bob been away.

     
2.   Notice that, as in indirect questions, embedded
questions show a change in verb tenses when
the main verb is past.
     
3.   Notice that if and whether (or not) are used
to introduce embedded yes / no questions.
     
4.  

Notice that a question mark ( ? ) is not used if
the main sentence is not a question:

this:

not this:

 

I don't know where Bob is.

*I don't know where is Bob?

     

this:

not this:

 

I have no idea where Bob lives.

*I have no idea where does
Bob live?

     

this:


not this:

 

I wasn't able to find out how
long Bob had (has) been away.

*I wasn't able to find out how
long had (has) Bob been away?

 

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