What’s the difference between direct and indirect questions?
Indirect questions are used when wanting to sound more polite or formal.
The most important thing to get right when asking indirect questions is WORD ORDER.
Here’s a good list to help you:
- Where is the station?
- What time does the film start?
- How do they feel about it?
- Where are you going?
- Where were you born?
POSITIVE WORD ORDER
- Can you tell me where the station is?
- Do you know what time the film starts?
- Do you know how they feel about it?
- May I ask where you are going?
- Could you tell me where you were born?
- Are you planning to move?
- Does Tom like pizza?
- Did she see Mrs Craig?
- Have you met Sally?
- Was she upset?
IF/WHETHER + POSITIVE WORD ORDER
- I’d like to know if you are planning to move.
- Do you know whether Tom likes pizza?
- Do you know if she saw Mrs Craig?
- I’m not sure if you have met Sally.
- Can you tell me whether she was upset?
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A Practical Guide to Using Diplomatic English in a Business Environment
I’m not good at asking questions in English. Can you help?