Indirect Questions

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Hello everyone!

In this post we are going to learn how to use Indirect Questions in English.

Most English students know how to use direct questions like “Who are those people?”, “What time is it?” or “Where can I find a bank around here?”. In this post, I’m going to show you some other ways to ask questions for a better and more polite English.

The most common questions used to transform a direct question into an indirect one are the following ones:

Do you know…?

Can you tell me…?

Could you tell me…?

Then, you just have to pay attention not to make some changes in the second part of the sentence to avoid using a double question, which in English is considered wrong.

Here are a few guidelines:

1) When you see a verb TO BE in the sentence, simply change its position to affirmative.

2) When you see an auxiliary verb DO,simply remove it.

3) When you see an auxiliary verb DOES, eliminate it and add “s”, “es” or “ies” to the verb, according to the rules used for 3rd person singular in present simple affirmative sentences.

4) When you see the verb CAN, change its position too. Instead of using “can I”, change it to “I can”.

I hope you were able to understand the differences between direct and indirect questions and start using more indirect questions in your daily conversations. People will definitely realize that your English level is higher and that you are very polite by using them.

Let’s practice some more?

How would you change these direct questions into indirect ones? Find the answer at the bottom of the page.

1. What time does the bus come?

2. Where is the best Brazilian restaurant?

3. What time do the malls open?

4. Where is the closest hotel to the airport?

5. Where can I go on the weekend?

6. What time do the nightclubs close?

7. Where is the nearest bus stop?

8. What’s the best way to see the city?

9. Where can I rent a bicycle?

10. How much does a city tour cost?

Answer Key

1.Do you know what time the bus comes?

2. Can you tell me where the best Brazilian restaurant is?

3. Could you tell me what time the malls open?

4. Do you know where the closest hotel to the airport is?

5. Can you tell me where I can go on the weekend?

6. Could you tell me what time the nightclubs close?

7. Do you know where the nearest bus stop is?

8. Can you tell me what the best way to see the city is?

9. Could you tell me where I can rent a bicycle?

10. Do you know how much a city tour costs?

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