Reported questions

Icono IDevice Reported questions

If you put a question into reported speech there are some steps which are the same as in statements:
changing of the person, backshift of tenses, and changing of expressions of time.

But there are other aspects you have to take into account:

  • In reported questions, normal word order is used: subject - verb, because the sentence becomes a statement, and there is no auxiliary DO, DOES, or DID.

She asked, "Where is he?" → She asked where he was. (notice word order)

Bill asked, "Does she speak English?" → Bill asked if she spoke English. (notice: we don't use DOES in the reported question)

  • Yes/No questions. For this type of questions we have to use: 'ask' + 'if / whether + clause:
"Do you read biographies?" He asked me if I read biographies.

"Are you German or Swiss?" He asked me whether I was German or Swiss.

"Are you listening to me?" She asked me if I was listening to me.

"Have you got an English dictionary?" He wanted to know whether I had an English dictionary.

"Can you drive?" She asked if I could drive.
  • Wh-questions. For these questions we need: 'ask' (or similar) + question word + clause: the clause contains the question, in normal word order and with the necessary tense change.

"What is your nationality?" he asked me. He asked me what my nationality was.

"How old is your daughter?", she asked her. She asked her how old her daughter was.

"What time does the film begin?" she asked. She asked what time the film began.

"When can we have our money back?" she asked. She asked when they could have their money back.

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Change the following wh-questions into reported speech

1. " What´s your name?," he asked me.

He asked me what


2." When does the train leave?," I asked.

I asked when


3." Where do you live?," the boy asked her

The boy asked her


4. " Why are you so late?," the teacher asked us

The teacher asked us


5. " How did you get to school?," she asked me

She asked me


6. " Why didn´t you telephone me?", his mother asked him

His mother asked him


7. " Who did you see at the meeting?", my husband said.

My husband asked me


8. "What has Dad made for dinner?" asked Susan

Susan asked what




Icono de iDevice If-questions

Rewrite these questions into reported speech

1. "Will you be home by 7?" She asked her son

2. "Can I use your mobile, Carol?" asked James

3. "Have you ever been to Milan?" he asked me

4. " Are you enjoying yourself?" he asked William

5. " Does your father work here?" she asked her friend

6. " Did you borrow my dictionary?", she asked me

7. " Have you finished your exams?", her mother asked her

8. " Do you know who broke the window?", Mr Cotter asked my mother