LIVE WITH MONICA AND CRAIG
We use indirect questions to be more polite, to be more formal and
impersonal. When you want to ask difficult, personal and sensitive questions.
Indirect questions are also used in formal emails.
A Spanish speaker would probably use ‘usted’ to sound more polite and formal.
How old are you? (direct question)
Would you mind me asking how old you are? (indirect question)
1) Indirect questions have the same word order as a statement (una afirmación)
Word order: “HOW OLD YOU ARE”
Other ways of introducing an indirect question include:
Could / Can I ask you….
I’d be interested to know….
I’d like to know…
Can / Could you tell me…
Would you mind….(+ gerund) “Would you mind telling me where you live?” “Would
you mind telling me what you do for a living?”
Might / May I ask you…”Might I ask you how old you are?”
I was wondering if you could tell me…
Do you have any idea….
Would you be so kind as to tell me….
If it’s not too much trouble, would you mind telling me…..
2) In indirect questions with is / are, the verb (to be) goes at the end.
“What’s (What IS) your address?” – “Could you tell me what your address IS?
Where’s the train station? - “Would you mind telling me where the train station
What are your children’s names?
3) The auxiliary verbs “do”, “does” and “did” are removed in indirect questions
– “Do you know the time?” (direct question) “I wonder if you could you tell me
the time?”, “Could you tell me what the time is?” (indirect question)
When does the next bus arrive? - ”Do you have any idea when the next bus arrives?”
When did you start learning English?
4) With ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions (when the answer is either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (Are
you married? Yes/No) and when there’s no question word (When, How, What, Where
etc?) – Use “if” or “whether”
Do you have any children? (direct) – Can I ask if you have any children? (indirect)
Do you like chocolate biscuits? (direct)
Could I ask IF / WHETHER you like chocolate biscuits? (indirect)
Where were you born?
Would you mind telling us where you were born?
What did you do yesterday?
I’d be interested to know what you did yesterday.
If you had more money, what would you buy?
Would you mind telling us what you would buy if you had more money?
What do you like most, and least, about teaching English?
Could you please tell us what you like most about teaching English? And would
you also mind telling us what you dislike most?
What motivated you to set up your website?
Could you explain what motivated you to set up your website?
How long have you been living in your house / flat?
Would you mind telling us how long you’ve been living in your flat?
Where were you living before that?
Would it be possible to know where you were living before?