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15. Reported questions

FORM 8

1 Wh-questions

We can report questions with verbs like ask, wonder or want to know. Look first at these wh-questions.

Wh-questions have a word like when, what, which or how both in direct speech and in reported speech.

2 Yes/no questions

Reported yes/no questions have if or whether.

3 Word order

In a reported question the subject comes before the verb, as in a statement.
Guy asked Melissa when she started acting.
NOT Guy asked Melissa when did she start acting.
Someone was wondering if the taxi has arrived yet.
NOT Someone was wondering if has the taxi arrived yet.

4 Asking for information

To ask politely for information, we sometimes use a reported question after a phrase like Could you tell me ... ? or Do you know ...?
Could you tell me what time the concert starts?
Do you know if there's a public phone in the building?
Have you any idea how much a taxi would cost?
Note the word order a taxi would cost.

5 The tense change: is -+ was, etc.

In reported speech there are often changes to the tense, to pronouns and so on.
This depends on changes to the situation since the words were spoken.
Here are some examples of the tense change.

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